December 17, 2019

15th Anniversary of Prestigious Peace Corps Fellowship at Fordham University


15th Anniversary Celebration of the Paul D. Coverdell US Peace Corps Fellowship Program at Fordham University
From top left: UNHP Executive Director and Dr. Henry Schwallbenberg, Director of the IPED Program and UNHP Board member, UNHP selfie with our plaque and our 2019 IPED fellows, Dorothy Marinucci, IPED Program graduate, and Fordham Associate Vice-President poses with the 15th-anniversary commemorative bell named in her honor, John Reilly and Rosanna Viera of Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, another Bronx community partner, accept their award.

On Friday, December 13th, Fordham University celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the Paul D. Coverdell US Peace Corps Fellowship Program at the University. UNHP as a community partner and internship site was invited and acknowledged at the luncheon. Fordham University celebrated the collaborative program with the United States Peace Corps, The Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED), The Office of Government Relations, The Office of the President, The Office of the Provost, and the five Bronx community partners.

Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, Director of the Graduate Program in International Political and Economic Development at Fordham University, welcomed attendees to the luncheon and acknowledged the many departments at Fordham University that came together to make the program possible as well as the US Peace Corps, the IPED Fellows, and the community partners. Ms. Herminia Gomez, Peace Corps Office of University Relations provided greetings from the US Peace Corps and shared the impact of the work of returning Peace Corps volunteers. The Reverend Michael McCarthy S.J. blessed the food and the Dorothy Marinucci Bell which commemorates 15 years of the program. The bell will be rung as IPED Fellows enter the program and then again as they graduate to ring out congratulations and hope for peace in the world.

Bronx community partners display their awards presented by Herminia Gomez from the US Peace Corps and Mr. Marco Valera, VP for Administration at Fordham University. UNHP, FBHC, Fordham BID, Belmont BID and the Bronx Borough President’s Office offer internships for the Coverdell IPED Fellows.

Appreciation plaques were presented to UNHP, as well the other Bronx community partners; The Fordham Business Improvement District (BID), Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, Belmont BID and the Office of Bronx Borough President in acknowledgment of our support of the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program by offering meaningful internship positions and supervision at our sites.

Since 2006, UNHP has welcomed returning Peace Corps Fellows from Fordham’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) Master’s program as three-semester interns. Fordham University offers the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellowship to selected returned Peace Corps volunteers. The prestigious fellowship offers tuition for the IPED program and a Bronx community internship; UNHP is one of the internship sites. After proving their dedication to community development abroad through their Peace Corps service, in countries as varied as Nicaragua, Tonga or Madagascar, Fellows have shared their many skills with our organization while completing the rigorous IPED Masters in Development.

IPED interns have shared their skills and experiences with UNHP and Bronx residents. Thank you, Megan, Anna, Anthony, Adam, Andres, Angel, Kristen, Thomas, Richie, Josh, Jessica, Donovan, Nathan, Matt, and Elizabeth! ( pictured in CRA forum photo below)

The contributions of these Fellows towards the work of UNHP cannot be underestimated; they have supported the work of UNHP through their commitment to community development, data analysis skills, assistance in our Tax Preparation Program and their desire to learn from our advocacy efforts in the Northwest Bronx. Thanks to the length of the internship (three semesters), the Fellows can fully engage with our work to create and preserve affordable housing and bring needed resources to the Northwest Bronx.

The combination of volunteer work abroad, a Master’s degree and work in community development in the Bronx has served the Fellows well. IPED-Peace Corps Fellows have found employment with the government (US Department of State, USDA, USAID), International NGOs (Catholic Relief Services) and the private, public and nonprofit sectors. UNHP enjoys keeping track of our Fellows as they continue their work in New York City and throughout the world. Read more about the progress of IPED Fellows on UNHP’s blog post

Not all IPED program graduates leave the United States. Elizabeth Wisman Strojan (pictured center) interned with UNHP as a Coverdell Peace Corps IPED Fellow in 2013-2015. She continues to work with UNHP in her roles with Enterprise Community Partners and NYC Housing Development Corporation. Elizabeth was a panelist at an IPED program-sponsored forum about the Community Reinvestment Act that featured a speech by Martin Gruenberg FDIC Board Member.

UNHP looks forward to more years of fruitful partnership with the Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University and to working with many more Paul D. Coverdell U.S. Peace Corps Fellows at UNHP.