Two Jackson students named Coverdell Fellows

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The Jackson Institute has named two graduate students as 2019-2020 Coverdell Fellows. The fellowships are awarded to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. During their graduate studies, Coverdell Fellows complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers. At Jackson, Coverdell Fellows receive full tuition.

Liam Comer-Weaver MA ’21 (above, at left) spent two years serving as a Teaching English, Leadership, and Life Skills volunteer in western Panama’s indigenous reservation, comarca Ngäbe-Buglé. While in Panama, Comer-Weaver says he saw how policies can perpetuate inequality; he believes on-the-ground experience is crucial for policymakers. He is still exploring his own career path, but tackling inequality is a topic he’s passionate about. When he was researching graduate school programs, Jackson stood out for the flexibility of its curriculum, said Comer-Weaver, who is taking courses in law, public health and management. The interdisciplinary nature of the program is helping him “understand where to go from here,” he said.

Deanna Johnson MA ’21 (above, at right) served for two years in Latacunga, Ecuador as an English Education Volunteer, where she worked alongside Ecuadorian English teachers at public schools to improve their methodologies and increase teaching efficacy in the classroom. During Johnson’s time in Ecuador, the country experienced an influx of Venezuelan migrants. Seeing how that impacted her community furthered Johnson’s interest in migration policy and human rights, which is part of her focus area for her Jackson studies.

Both Comer-Weaver and Johnson are interning with IRIS, a New Haven-based refugee resettlement agency, as part of their Coverdell Fellowship.