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peace corps logo vertThe Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program is a graduate school program for returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Through this program, schools across the country offer financial support to returned Volunteers who, in turn, complete substantive internships related to their program of study in underserved communities in the United States.

The Sparkman Center is proud to partner with the Peace Corps to offer the Paul D. Coverdell Scholarship to returned Peace Corps Volunteers pursuing a Masters in Public Health (MPH) or Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH).

Continue reading to learn more about current Coverdell Fellows, eligibility for the scholarship, benefits included, and how to apply.

Coverdell Fellows at UAB SOPH

  • Current



    "I had a very unique experience in the Peace Corps. I started my service in Mali as a health education volunteer. Unfortunately all Peace Corps Volunteers had to evacuate in 2012 because of civil unrest. I then finished my service in a tiny country called Vanuatu in the south pacific.

    When I got back from the Peace Corps I began working at the local health department doing West Nile Virus monitoring. I then got my REHS license to be a licensed sanitarian/health inspector. I currently work at the Lake County Health Department where I do several kinds of inspections including food, well/septic, lead, daycare/institution to name some.

    I am enrolled in the Graduate Environmental Health program to further my knowledge in my field. I have enjoyed working in Environmental Health and I'm hoping a graduate degree from UAB will give me more opportunities."


    "My name is Nikki and I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua from 2008-2010. Having studied business and journalism, I worked primarily as a small business educator and advisor, teaching entrepreneurship courses in high schools and working with local small businesses. While I truly enjoyed spending time with students, I came to realize my passion was in healthcare. Upon completion of my service, I went back to school for nursing. I now work in a Neonatal ICU in a large NYC hospital.

    These experiences inspired me to pursue my MPH in Maternal and Child Health Policy and Leadership at UAB. I love being a nurse and love my patients, and I’m also looking forward to completing my MPH and stepping away from bedside nursing and into a different role."
  • Recent

    Christy McDonald

    Christy McDonald

    My name is Christy and I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cambodia from 2016-2018. There I worked as a community health educator and focused on maternal health and handwashing projects. With a bachelor's degree in Studio Art, my path to a career in public health was anything but direct. The seed was first planted during a year of AmeriCorps NCCC. Another year of AmeriCorps VISTA and then two years in the Peace Corps only increased my passion and interest for public health.

    These experiences are what brought me to UAB to pursue my MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health. I currently lives in Anchorage, AK and work for the environmental health department of a tribal health organization. The best thing about my UAB experience so far has been being able to apply so much of what I learns in the classroom directly to my job and vice versa.

    អរគុណច្រើន (Thanks!)
    Nicole Cooper

    Nicole Cooper

    My name is Nicole Cooper and I served in Northern Belize from 2016-2018. I was as a member of the Belize Health 4 cohort and served as a Health Resource Volunteer, focusing on community education surrounding the topics of noncommunicable disease and maternal and child health. Upon completing my service I began work in my home state of South Carolina as a Health Educator at the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

    I am currently still in that role while also pursuing my MPH in Health Care Organization and Policy at UAB. A fellow cohort member of mine started the online program at UAB a year prior to me, which gave me some insight to the program. I have enjoyed the flexibility that the online program allows and appreciate the expertise that faculty members lend their students. I was worried about how I would do with online learning, but the courses and instructors are wonderful!


Become a UAB Coverdell Fellow

  • Benefits of being a Coverdell Fellow

    • $8,000 scholarship (distributed over 2 years)

    • In-state status for the duration of their time of study in the MPH or MSPH program. Please note for online students, additional fees may be incurred.

    • Inclusion in the Sparkman Fellows program, which fosters global health interests in students across UAB. Through this program Coverdell Fellows will be matched with a faculty mentor during their second year of study. Read more about the Sparkman Fellows program here.

    • Direct connection to the Sparkman Center for advising and support in pursuing global health goals while a student
  • Eligibility Requirements for Coverdell Fellows

    1. Applicant must be applying to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health to enroll in either the MPH or MSPH program for a fall semester. Per SOPH guidelines, students must be full-time (9 credit hours for graduate students) to be eligible for scholarships. Students may apply for either in-person or online programs to be eligible.

    2. Application materials must be received by the Sparkman Center for Global Health by February 1st. See application tab for details.
  • Application Process

    Step 1: When filling out your SOPHAS application, keep an eye out for the question that reads "If you are a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer applying for a fall entry term, you are eligible to apply for the Coverdell Fellows Scholarship. Indicate your intention to apply below and then visit www.uab.edu/sparkmancenter/peace-corps to complete your application." This is located under "Additional Questions."
    Mark YES under I am a returning Peace Corps volunteer and intend to apply for the Coverdell Fellows Scholarship.

    Step 2: Fill out the form below in order to submit your Description of Service alongside your application. All returned Peace Corps Volunteers must submit their Description of Service (DOS). Current Peace Corps Volunteers should submit a letter of support from their program manager/Country Director specifying that the applicant is in good standing until the DOS is available.

    Step 3: Make sure steps 1 and 2 are completed by the deadline at the top of this page.

    Apply Now!

  • Administration of Scholarship

    Selection of scholarship recipients will be made by the Sparkman Center for Global Health in accordance with the general guidelines and specific criteria for the scholarship.

    The Coverdell Fellows Scholarshpi is coordinated with the School of Public Health Dean's Office. Enrollment requirements must be met before scholarship funds are distributed. Once a Fellow is selected, they will receive a letter detailing the terms of the scholarship.

If you are looking for information on Coverdell Fellowships available for other degree programs at UAB, please see here:

UAB College of Arts & Sciences - Public Administration

UAB School of Education - TESOL, Educational Studies, Community Health & Exercise Physiology

UAB School of Nursing

If you are an undergradaute student interested in applying for the Peace Corps, please connect with the Peace Corps Prep program here:

Peace Corps Prep Certificate