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Georgia College welcomes Peace Corps Fellows

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Valerie Waysom will become the second returned Peace Corps volunteer to take part in the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Georgia College & State University to obtain a Creative Writing Master’s (MFA) beginning fall semester 2009. 

Georgia College is one of more than 40 colleges and universities in the United States that offers graduate studies to returned Peace Corps volunteers who wish to earn professional certification, master's or doctoral degrees in a variety of subject areas.

Currently, four degree programs at Georgia College participate in the project: Education Specialist Master’s (EdS), the Education Master’s (MEd), the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the Creative Writing Master’s (MFA). Returned volunteers are able to use the knowledge and skills they developed during their overseas service to improve people's lives at home.

“I think that the Fellows Program is a great opportunity for our students to interact with Peace Corp volunteers who bring back their experiences in such a different culture,” said Dr. Dwight Call, Coordinator of the Georgia College Fellows Program. “It is one more way that students who do not have the opportunity to study abroad can gain some experience of a different culture. One of the goals of the program is for fellows to interact in the community which is possible through GCSU’s Early College.”

Early College opened at Georgia College in 2005. It is a unique program where regular schools are connected to colleges and universities.

Georgia College is one of 12 universities offering an Early College program in Georgia. Students are selected from families in Baldwin and Putnam counties who may not view college as an option in their children’s future.

Valerie Waysom will serve as a mentor to undergraduate creative writing students who in turn teach creative writing workshops every Friday to seventh-grade students in Early College.

Waysom graduated in 2000 from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s Degree in linguistics and French. After graduation, she joined the Peace Corp and taught English as a second language to students in Madagascar. She is also highly involved with Americorps and hopes to one day be a creative nonfiction and fiction writer.

"GCSU offers the only MFA in Creative Writing Program in the country so far to participate in the Peace Corps USA/Fellows program, and we're delighted this year to welcome Valerie Waysom this fall as our second Peace Corps Fellow,” said Dr. Martin Lammon, MFA Program Coordinator. “As a former Peace Corps volunteer, Valerie brings a special kind of international perspective and experience to our MFA Program, and I hope that, each year, we'll be able to recruit and admit a new Peace Corps Fellow to our community of talented creative writers.”

John Teschner, the first returned Peace Corp volunteer to enroll in the Georgia College Fellows Program, has been very pleased with the MFA program thus far and hopes that Waysom will enjoy the experience as much as he has.

"I feel very fortunate for the opportunities as a teacher, a student and a writer that I've been given as a Peace Corps Fellow at Georgia College,” Teschner said. “Training undergraduates to teach seventh graders at Early College feels like a natural extension to the Peace Corps service."

For more information on the Fellows Program, contact Bryan Jackson or Judy Bailey at 478-445-4477.

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For more information, contact Judy Bailey in University Communications at (478) 445-4477.