Antioch University New England Celebrates the Launch of the First in the Nation Peace Corps PhD during Peace Corps Week on March 4

Program Integrates Peace Corps Service with PhD in Environmental Studies

Keene, New Hampshire – Antioch University New England (AUNE) will celebrate National Peace Corps Week and the launch of its new Peace Corps PhD in Environmental Studies program on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 6 pm in the Community Room at AUNE, located at 40 Avon Street in Keene, New Hampshire. Dr. Steve Jones, president of AUNE, will share remarks at the ceremony. The public is invited to attend.

Peace Corps Week commemorates President Kennedy’s establishment of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. During this annual event, the Peace Corps community celebrates all the ways that Peace Corps makes a difference at home and abroad and renews its commitment to service.

In parallel with national Peace Corps Week, March 1-7, AUNE’s celebratory event will bring together AUNE’s international community, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and anyone interested in the Peace Corps and the new doctoral program. In addition to President Jones’s formal unveiling of the new doctoral program, the evening’s agenda includes storytelling, multi-cultural potluck- style refreshments and networking.

AUNE’s PhD in Environmental Studies is the first doctoral degree approved for the Peace Corps Master’s International program. Based off of a similar program at the master’s level, this new partnership allows students to integrate their Peace Corps service with doctoral studies. Students earn academic credits for real-world experience gained volunteering in the Peace Corps.

“This type of collaboration between service organizations and academia is exactly what makes Antioch University’s graduates true social change agents,” said President Jones. “There’s no way to convey our appreciation to those who serve others, but recognizing that their work is valuable, important, and interwoven into Antioch University’s mission is an excellent first step.”

AUNE’s Peace Corps PhD in Environmental Studies includes two years of doctoral coursework on campus followed by 27 months of service in the Peace Corps during which students conduct doctoral research. After completing their service abroad, students return to AUNE to finish writing and defend their dissertation. The doctoral program expands AUNE’s existing Peace Corps Master’s International program and partnership launched in 2014.

“Combining graduate study with Peace Corps service changed my life,” said Jason Rhoades, AUNE’s Master’s International program coordinator who served in the Peace Corps from 2006-08 in the Republic of Armenia. “I am delighted to see Antioch University at the forefront of developing new academic partnerships with the Peace Corps and creating new and meaningful academic pathways to learn and serve.”

Both the doctoral and master’s programs offer 12 credits tuition-free for the service and research conducted while volunteering in the Peace Corps. Students also receive specialized training and gain access to AUNE’s extensive network of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) with diverse areas of expertise to help them prepare for their next venture.

Leadership from Antioch University’s five campuses is regularly meeting to discuss and develop ongoing opportunities that are aligned with the mission of both the University and the Peace Corps.

“Antioch University New England has been a ground-breaking partner for the Peace Corps since 2011, and this new partnership is further evidence of their commitment to our strong and innovative collaboration,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Antioch University students bring unique skills to Peace Corps service, and at the same time, they gain hands-on experience that will give them a competitive edge upon graduation.”

In recognition of the close ties between the Peace Corps and Antioch University, Hessler-Radelet traveled to Keene in May 2014 to deliver the commencement address to AUNE graduates, urging them to consider service as a training ground and launching pad for a 21st-century career.

More information about the program is available online at

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