The Loret Miller Ruppe

Peace Corps Master's International Program in Forestry

at Michigan Tech University



The Loret Miller Ruppe Peace Corps Master's International Program in Forestry accepts smart, flexible, motivated individuals from a wide range of non-forestry backgrounds ....


Tasha and Casey making compost in training in Panama.

Peace Corps ... the toughest job you'll ever love.

.... we prepare you for Peace Corps and the future.

Contact Us


"The MI program is amazing! It gave me the opportunity to live and work in another country and learn about a new culture. The courses at MTU are incredibly valuable and the faculty are committed to their work with students. The variety of experiences have enriched my professional and personal life. The potential for growth is unlimited. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I ever made."

--- Kerry Ploetz, RPCV Bulgaria (more comments by students)


Table of Contents

Learn About the Program:

Learn About the People:

Learn About Peace Corps

Resources for Development

More Information


What do Michigan Tech Peace Corps Volunteers do?

The link associated with each student's name will take you to a page on the student's Peace Corps assignment.

Incoming Class of 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 |

WARNING: Some pages have quite a few images and may take a while to download if you are using a slow modem.

The incoming class - Fall of 1996.


The incoming class - Fall of 1997.

Back Row: Josh, Alec. Front Row: Lynne, Bill, Kristen.


The incoming class - Fall of 1998.

The Incoming Class - Fall of 1999

The Incoming Class - Fall of 2000.

Russell, Marge, Greer, Blair, Adrienne, Kate, and Daniella, December 2001 in Calumet.

The Incoming Class - Fall of 2001.

The Incoming Class - Fall 2002

The Incoming Class - Fall 2003

The Incoming Class - Fall 2004

Tasha, Jill, Casey, and Bryan.

The Incoming Class - Fall 2005

The Incoming Class - Fall 2006


Other MTU Forestry / Applied Ecology (and other majors) Peace Corps Volunteers

Amy Collick was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar.

MTU almnus Dave Canavera and his wife Nancy served in Brazil.

Michigan Tech graduate Dan Malueg rode an elephant while he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal.

Mike Tighe - Paraguay

Tom Brayak - India

Michelle Laskowski - El Salvador

Eric Wergeland - China

Patti Burns - Cameroon '79-'83. Currently President of WET, Inc. in Woodbury NJ.

Aidan Gullickson - Cameroon

Greg Mullen - Lesotho

Jonathon D. Colman - Burkina Faso

Marla Rader - Ecuador

Program Coordinator: Blair Orr

Return to the Table of Contents

Loret Miller Ruppe

The Master's International Program in Forestry at Michigan Tech is named for Loret Miller Ruppe, Director of the Peace Corps from 1981 to 1989, resident of Houghton, Michigan, and recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Michigan Technological University.

"The agency drifted through the 1970s, seeming the rusted relic of a lost decade. Then, just as the Reagan Administration was about to axe the Peace Corps, gung-ho director Loret Miller Ruppe saved it and at the same time restored volunteers' self-respect."

Smithsonian, September 1999 issue.

Return to the Table of Contents

Program Overview

The Master's International Program is a unique partnership between Michigan Tech and the Peace Corps which affords students the opportunity to incorporate Peace Corps service into a graduate program in forestry. The program involves nine months of intensive forestry education at Michigan Tech, three months of Peace Corps training, and two years of field work with Peace Corps. The first 12 weeks of fall semester (commonly known as Fall Camp) are located at the Ford Center and Research Forest in Alberta, Michigan and focus on fundamental field skills in forestry, overseas research and tropical forestry. The end of fall semester and spring semester are spent at the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Michigan. Students then take part in three months of Peace Corps technical, cross-cultural and language training in the country where they will work, followed by two years of Peace Corps service working to improve the environment with people who use and depend upon a healthy ecosystem for their livelihoods and that of their children. Students will return to Michigan Tech to complete their degree, typically in one additional academic term.

"Fall Camp is a great experience to prepare us for training. The workload and training methods are similar. Integration with my homestay family was an easier transition because of my time spent with my housemates in Alberta."

- Brian Satterlee, Peace Corps Cameroon

Forestry and the environment are the fastest growing fields in Peace Corps and Peace Corps fields more people in environmental work than any other group in the world. Seventeen percent of all volunteers are in environmental fields, and over half of these are in forestry. Peace Corps would place more forestry and environmental volunteers if enough skilled people were available.

The Michigan Tech/Peace Corps Master's International program not only develops the skills and knowledge to help meet these needs, but it gives participating students the confidence and credibility they need to make a difference on a grass-roots, people-to-people level. In addition, students gain two years of professional overseas field experience. Students gain through experiential learning.


"A child is like an axe; even if it hurts you, you still carry it on your shoulder."

-- African (Bemba) Proverb provided by Jenny Gronefeld.

Return to the Table of Contents

Who should be interested in this program?

The Master's International Program at Michigan Tech is designed for students who hold an undergraduate degree and demonstrate an interest in the environment, international development, and community service. The program will consider applicants with any undergraduate major. The only class prerequisite is one semester or one quarter of college-level chemistry. Students may be accepted contingent upon completion of a chemistry course. One course in introductory statistics is recommended, but not required. A language, especially French, followed by Spanish or Russian, will be considered desirable from the applicant's perspective. If you have two years of college-level or four years of high school-level language it will open up a wider set of possible placements within Peace Corps. If you haven't had a language and are still in an undergraduate program you should consider taking a year of French, Spanish, Russian, or Arabic.

If you have not completed a college-level chemistry course you will find they are offered by local colleges, universities, and community colleges. They can also be taken through independent learning or distance education programs such as the Independent Learning Program of the University of Wisconsin - Madison Extension. Be certain that you are enrolling in a college level course. Some colleges, universities, and community colleges offer pre-college level programs that will not meet the entry level requirements for the Peace Corps - Michigan Tech Master's International Program in Forestry.

We strongly recommend a college-level statistics class. If you have not had a statistics course you will be required to complete a statistics class during your first year at Michigan Tech.

Return to the Table of Contents

How does one apply to the program?

Students must apply to both the Peace Corps and Michigan Tech. Since Peace Corps requires US citizenship, you must be a US citizen to enter this program.

Peace Corps: Students must apply and be accepted to the Peace Corps. Students should indicate their interest in the Master's International Program on the Peace Corps application. Once the application is received, the student will be assigned a recruiter who will guide him/her through the Peace Corps application process. Further information is available by call 1-800-424-8580, option "1" after you connect, or by accessing the Peace Corps web site.

Specific information about Peace Corps application procedures.

Michigan Tech: Students apply through the standard application process to Michigan Technological University and must meet academic standards for entry into the Graduate School.

Entrance Requirements:

The Michigan Tech program is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in any field. The core program is designed for students with no previous course work in forestry. We can design specific programs for students who have some academic background in forestry, natural resources, or environmental studies or who have a Bachelor of Science in Forestry or a related field.

Send the following materials


Dean of the Graduate School
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Send the following materials


Chairperson, Graduate Studies Committee
School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


Michigan Tech application forms are also available through this site.

Michigan Tech applications for the 2006-2007 program, to begin in August of 2006, are currently being accepted on a first-come first-served basis for qualified applicants. We also the recommend, but do not require, financial aid applications be filed at the same time. Michigan Tech now works directly on financial aid and the FAFSA form should be sent using the MTU financial aid code (002292).

General information about Federal financial aid.


Good Idea: Students should maintain contact with Blair Orr, the Coordinator in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, and their Peace Corps recruiter while they are applying to the program.


Return to the Table of Contents


What are the benefits?

Students participating in the Master's International Program at Michigan Tech receive a Master of Science in Forestry as well as all of the benefits associated with Peace Corps service. Peace Corps benefits include transportation to and from the country, a monthly living allowance, a $6,075 readjustment allowance disbursed when the student completes three months of training and two years of Peace Corps service, medical care and coverage while a Peace Corps volunteer, and noncompetitive eligibility for federal jobs. In addition, tuition costs at Michigan Tech are waived for academic credit earned while in the Peace Corps. Master's International students who have been nominated for Peace Corps service receive a $100 per credit tuition reimbursement. Students receive a $500 work-study stipend from the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

Return to the Table of Contents

What is the cost?

Michigan Tech grants Peace Corps tuition status to students in the Peace Corps Masters International Program who have been "nominated" by Peace Corps. Nomination means that your application to Peace Corps has been approved by the regional recruiting office and forwarded to the Washington office for medical, legal, and other clearances. Once you are nominated you will be eligible for the Peace Corps tuition rate. The Peace Corps tuition rate is $323 per credit (2005-06 academic year) while the regular graduate tuition rate is $468 per credit. For 2005-2006 a Master's International student taking a typical course load will pay $6,460 tuition for the academic year. You can expect a modest increase in resident tuition for the 2006-2007 academic year.

Tuition and fees are not charged for credits earned during Peace Corps service overseas.

The estimated living expenses and other fees in the Houghton area is approximately $4000/semester. Students can apply for financial aid through Michigan Tech by first filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The code for Michigan Tech on a FAFSA form is 002292. A $500 work study award is offered to all Master's International students at Michigan Tech during their first year in the program.

The Loret Miller Ruppe Scholarship is available only to students in this program. The Scholarship is awarded to students in the semester following their two years in Peace Corps.

The Lillian Baklarz International Forestry Development Fund supports the special project Peace Corps work students may develop in the field.

We strongly recommend that you talk with current students to get an accurate picture of costs associated with graduate school. (This is a good idea when considering ANY graduate program!)

General information about Federal financial aid.

Return to the Table of Contents

Michigan Tech Master's International Graduate Course Work

The Master's International Forestry Curriculum is a blend of traditional forestry courses, several ecology courses, and several courses and seminars specifically created for this program. All are applicable to your work as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

The sequence of courses is also designed to leave the student the option of developing a Master's Degree program as a thesis degree, a project degree, or a course-work only degree.

Graduate committees routinely substitute other appropriate courses for students who have completed any of the required courses during their undergraduate program.

Courses for Students Entering in Fall 2006.

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Peace Corps Service

Upon Return from Peace Corps Service

30 credits required to graduate. No more than 12 credits in 3000 and 4000 level courses.

This set of courses was designed cooperatively with the US Peace Corps. It will provide a set of skills for both forestry and environmental education placement in Peace Corps and work in forestry and environmental sciences in the United States.

The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Tech is one of 48 accredited forestry programs in the United States.

Return to the Table of Contents


Michigan Tech and the Houghton - Hancock Area.

*** National Geographic Adventure calls

Houghton Michigan one of Top Ten Towns for Summer Outdoor Sports and Recreation ***.

A great web site: lists over 1,000 journals and blogs by Peace Corps Volunteers around the world. It is well-organized by both region and country.


Submit an electronic request for more information

How to Reach Us

This page is maintained by Blair Orr, the Coordinator of this program in the Michigan Tech School of Resources and Environmental Science. Page content, including linked pages, includes comments from Peace Corps Volunteers. The opinions on this page and the linked pages do not neccessarily reflect official opinion of the US Peace Corps or Michigan Technological University.

I can be reached at

Blair Orr
School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton MI 49931 USA

phone: (906) 487-2291 or 1-800-966-3764.

fax: (906) 487-2915

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.

Most recent update: 13 September 2006.

Return to the Table of Contents