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University of Missouri

Windows to the World

MU Peace Corps fellows enrich the Columbia community.

couple standing on the equator marker in Uganda

Sarah Parsons and her husband, Eric, at the equator in Nkozi, Uganda, in January 2012. The couple served in the Peace Corps in Uganda from 2004-06. Photo courtesy of Sarah and Eric Parsons.

Sarah Parsons and her husband, Eric, had been instructors at Bushenyi Primary Teachers College in Uganda for almost two years, and their Peace Corps commitment was coming to a close. Not wanting the life-changing experience to end, the Parsonses considered extending their service for a third year. But when they found out Sarah was expecting, they returned to the States. Eric, BA, BS ’00, MA, MS ’02, is now a research analyst in the MU economics department, and Sarah, BS, BS ’01, M Ed ’06, is an MU Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellow working toward a master’s degree in public affairs.

The Parsonses are among the nearly 1,000 Mizzou alumni with Peace Corps experience. Consider that Chancellor Brady J. Deaton served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nan, Thailand, in 1962, and MU’s fellows program is a natural fit, says coordinator Sarah Cramer. Every year, the program gives five master’s-seeking students a full tuition waiver, a stipend of at least $12,000 and a health insurance subsidy. In exchange, the fellows work with a community organization on a service-learning project for two years. “The goal is to bring these people with a diverse body of knowledge and worldview to Columbia,” Cramer says.