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First Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow Graduates from UTEP

Last Updated on October 20, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Originally published October 20, 2020

By Laura L. Acosta

UTEP Communications

Crystal Costa, a graduate from The University of Texas at El Paso’s Master of Public Health Program (MPH), is the first Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from UTEP to participate in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program.

The Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program is offered to returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) at participating U.S. institutions. In fall 2017, UTEP became the first institution in Texas to offer the Paul D. Coverdell fellowship to RPCVs. The relatively new program offers an assistantship through the College of Health Sciences.

Costa, who graduated from the MPH program in August 2020, volunteered in Madagascar from 2014 to 2016. Before serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, she earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from UTEP in 2012.

During her graduate studies at UTEP, Costa held roles as a graduate teaching assistant and a research assistant. She also volunteered with the Interdisciplinary Lead Research Team in the College of Health Sciences, where she conducted community outreach regarding dangerous child lead exposure and sought to implement lead-mitigation strategies to reduce lead exposure in high-risk communities in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Costa also interned with the City of El Paso Department of Public Health. She has presented research at the American Public Health Association’s Latino Caucus. She hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in public health and continue working with underserved populations. 

The Peace Corps is a federal agency that recruits volunteers to serve in locations throughout the world to promote peace and mutual understanding through education. Volunteers are trained to help schools, governments and agencies in such fields as health, business, agriculture, the environment and information technology.

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