NPCA Scholarship Recipient for the School of International Training: Marcus Laws

 SIT Graduate Institute Scholarships

Academic scholarships allow NPCA members to pursue master’s degrees in international programs through SIT Graduate Institute. Members of the NPCA who have one year or more of significant Peace Corps experience are eligible to apply for this $10,000 scholarship. The RPCV Scholars who have come from this program have gone on to do amazing things beyond their master's degree and continue building on the impact of their Peace Corps service. 

NPCA members can request information regarding this exclusive scholarship opportunity at 800-336-1616 or 802-258-3510, or on the SIT Graduate Institute web site.

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Marcus received his BA in International Relations and Spanish from the University of the Pacific in central California. His first encounter with Peace Corps Volunteers was during his internship overseas for a University of the Pacific alumnus in Paraguay with a focus on microfinance. Because of his interest in gaining international technical skills, desire to improve his Spanish, and aspirations to travel, Marcus decided to join the Peace Corps after completing his undergraduate degree and working in Seattle until 2005.

Marcus served in El Salvador from 2006 to 2009 focusing on agroforestry and agriculture education. During his service, he implemented a food and agricultural food security pilot project with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which worked with local farmers on practical trainings on composting piles, sampling plantings, demonstration plots, reduced cost inputs, agroecology practices, and advocating for reforestation campaigns.

After his service in the Peace Corps, Marcus worked for Partners of the Americas in D.C. for six months then went back to El Salvador for another three years to work at a local non-profit organization. Because SIT helps facilitate RPCVs back into the workplace and increases one’s exposure to global perspectives, he was immediately drawn to the program. When Marcus returned to D.C., he pursued a Master’s in Sustainable Development and International Policy and Management with a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. He completed his practicum at Save the Children in their Department of Emergency Response, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption unit, where he utilized his Peace Corps skills in sustainable development and adaptability in different environments. His opportunity to attend SIT through NPCA scholarship has allowed him to gain exposure to a new level in the international development industry.

After graduating from SIT, Marcus started working for the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA), the institution that helped found CARE International in 1945 (Cooperatives for American Remittances to Europe). Currently, he is a program manager supporting projects in Latin America that support networking for the coffee producing cooperatives/organizations with technical assistance, market linkages, and financing to combat the coffee leaf rust fungus. Two projects he manages are U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded to coffee production in El Salvador and improve beef and dairy exports in the Dominican Republic. Another project he oversees links U.S.-Cuban Cooperative leaders in an Exchange Program for Cooperative Leaders. In these positions, Marcus utilizes his knowledge of microfinance, Spanish, and agriculture to boost the success of these programs. Long term, he is interested in pursuing a project overseas where he can be on the ground doing work to better the local and global community.

Learn more about how NPCA supports Returned Peace Corps Volunteers  here.