2014 Capital City Fellow Sareeta Spriggs

2014 Capital City Fellow Sareeta Spriggs at her award ceremony for the 2013 Eastern Region Young Professional of the Year

If you’re seeking an opportunity to gain hands-on work experience in city government, Washington, D.C.’s Mayor’s Office offers a unique fellowship opportunity for recent graduate students. The Capital City Fellows program is mayoral initiative to attract young professionals with Master’s degrees for a competitive, 18 month appointment in city government. Over the 18 month program, Capital City Fellows may complete three 6-month rotations in different city agencies working in government operations, health and human services, public safety and justice, planning and economic development or education. In addition to on-the-job training in their host agencies, the Fellows are provided unique opportunities to meet with city officials and participate in educational and professional development training and seminars. After the fellowship, many Capital City Fellows go on to work in permanent positions in D.C. government.

Recently, we met Capital City Fellow Sareeta Spriggs, a rising star chosen in 2012 as one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the Hampton Roads Business Journal (Virginia). Sareeta shared insights on the fellowship program and her fellowship application tips.

1. What inspired you to apply to the Capital City Fellows Program?

For the past few years, I’ve worked in the non-profit and education sectors in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. I’ve lead several youth development programs, worked to increase voter participation in neighborhoods where there was a low propensity for voting. I also volunteered with both the YWCA and United Way to eliminate community disparities. From my work in the communities, I developed a love for service. I gained a desire to use my life to improve the lives of the people I served. I was looking for a way to enter the public service sector and stumbled across the Capital City Fellows Program (CCFP).

I had an idea of what I wanted to do in the government, but I was not certain. What attracted me to the CCFP was the structure of the fellowship. The fellowship provides an opportunity to work for three agencies for six months on various projects and also offers various trainings throughout the program.  This was a win-win for me! I have the awesome opportunity to work in the public service sector, gain great experience and also make changes that will enhance the lives of the constituents of DC.

The 2014 Capital City Fellows with Mayor Vincent Gray

The 2014 Capital City Fellows with Mayor Vincent Gray (photo credit: Capital City Fellows Program)

2. What are the benefits of the fellowship? 

Unlike some fellowship programs in which Fellows work in one agency or department throughout their tenure, the Capital City Fellows can work in up to three different agencies over the course of the 18 months.  As a result, Fellows have the opportunity to see many facets of city government.

The greatest benefit of the fellowship is the experience. You will have the opportunity to work on major projects throughout the District of Columbia government. Each fellowship placement is unique. Host agencies involve Fellows in a range of projects and processes, from budget development and analysis to strategic planning and constituent services.  For example, the Fellow assigned to the Department of Human Resources might work on training city officials on the performance management system, whereas the Fellow assigned to the Office of the City Administrator might work on launching the Neighborhood Services Initiative. Currently, I work for the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS). DFS is a new agency that was created by merging existing and new district units into a consolidated forensic laboratory. I am working with the Deputy Director of the agency on Process Improvement. We are mapping out work processes in each unit, analyzing the processes, and developing new processes that will eliminate waste and increase efficiency within the agency. It’s a challenge, but I am truly enjoying the experience.

Fellows participate in regular required and optional developmental activities.  Developmental activities cover areas such as budgeting, procurement, human resources and also expose the Fellows to government initiatives and processes outside of their placements.  Additionally, Fellows are required to take a prescribed set of management courses that are specific to the District of Columbia government operations.

As an added bonus, the fellows have “Brown Bag” lunches with high ranking city executives such as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Deputy Mayors and various agency Directors.

Once the program is complete, you will be armed with experience. You can chose to take that experience elsewhere, but most of the fellows choose to continue working within city government. You will also become a part of a powerful network!

The Office of the Secretary of the District of Columbia treated a group of current Fellows to a tour of the John A. Wilson Building, DC's "City Hall."

The Office of the Secretary of the District of Columbia treated a group of current Fellows to a tour of the John A. Wilson Building, D.C.’s “City Hall.” Pictured center is Cynthia Brock-Smith, Secretary of D.C.

3. What tips would you give others applying to the Capital City Fellows program? 

As with anything, be sure to display the best version of you. The online application includes, but is not limited to, official graduate transcripts, a resume, completion of Ranking Factors (including essays), and two references (educational and professional). In your essays, be clear about how you would use your skill set, ideas and passion to bring about change to lives of the people of the District of Columbia. Your recommendations should come from people who can really speak about your work and can showcase that in writing. Lastly, be sure to do your homework on the District of Columbia Government.

Candidates must have earned their graduate degree (with a GPA of 3.5 or higher) within two years prior to the start of the October fellowship.  There is no subject-specific Master’s degree requirement although the program mainly attracts people in public administration, public policy, urban planning, or engineering.  Law school graduates are also eligible.  Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to public service and an interest in public policy and management.

4. What you think made your application stand out?

The first thing I did was look up Capital City Fellows on my LinkedIn to see if any of my connections were connected to current or former fellows. One of my friends was connected to a fellow and I asked for an introduction. I simply asked the fellow about their experience and what a typical rotation entailed. Next, I began to do my homework on the Mayor’s initiatives, major projects going on in the City and other information. Lastly, I came to my interview with a portfolio of my work. This provided a visual representation of my commitment to enhancing the lives of others through service.  If you really want to stand out, be real about your experiences, what you bring to the table and be able to communicate how you will use the fellowship.

Sareeta Spriggs is a first rotation Capital City Fellow currently working on Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement at the DC Department of Forensic Sciences. She holds an MBA from Strayer University and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Information Systems from Norfolk State University. Sareeta loves to give back to her community and is an active member of the National Urban League. She was named the 2013 Eastern Region Young Professional of the Year and is a recent graduate of the Urban League’s Emerging Leaders Program. Sareeta is also a founding member of Young, Bold and Beautiful, an organization that inspires entrepreneurship and excellence in women.  Her motto for life is “A Quitter Never Wins and A Winner Never Quits!”  

Nasir Qadree (center) at the finish line at his 10th full marathon in Providence, RI with friends Chris Taylor (left) and Adrian Williams (right)

Nasir Qadree (center) at the finish line at his 10th full marathon in Providence, RI with friends Chris Taylor (left) and Adrian Williams (right)

The Education Pioneers Analyst Fellowship is a full-time, paid, 10-month program that places talented, early career professionals into strategic, data-based roles in state departments, school districts, charter management organizations, nonprofits, and other leading education organizations throughout the US. Nasir Qadree is currently serving as a 2013 Education Pioneers Analyst Fellow at the Connecticut State Department of Education Turnaround Office. In this role he provides support, guidance, interventions, and new strategies to empower teachers and school leaders to turnaround persistently low performing schools in Connecticut. The crux of his work is identifying and analyzing nuances in six key change management areas to improve educational outcomes: school budget allocation constraints, leadership, assessment, curriculum, professional development and technology, respectively.

Prior to his fellowship, Nasir spent 5 years in the banking industry working for Goldman Sachs in New York and State Street Bank in Boston. He had always wanted to pivot from banking to the education sector full time, but wasn’t quite sure how. Education Pioneers provided him the perfect opportunity to make the switch, and so far the fellowship has opened many doors.

1. What inspired you to apply for Education Pioneers?

My reason for transitioning into education is deeply rooted in my commitment to equity and social justice. Education Pioneers Analyst Fellowship allows me to leverage my work with first generation college students in New York City via New York Needs You, as well as my work with underserved students in Boston through BELL National. I saw how the academic achievement gap manifested itself in the lives of so many of our country’s students of color living in low income areas: kids entering the 5th grade at a 2nd grade reading level, or matriculating to the 8th grade without a solid grasp of multiplication tables. These experiences made me acutely aware that the achievement gap is not a reflection of student capabilities, but of an education system that’s failing them. After several years on Wall Street, I felt that I had developed in depth analytical and tactical skills in a way that would allow me to effectively contribute to the education sector, and I wanted to align these skills with my passion for social responsibility and improving and enhancing educational opportunities. Through the EP Fellowship, I saw a chance to apply my experience in the private sector to the education world and align my skills with a mission that makes a difference in the world and harnesses the power of my business experience to do good.

2. What has been your most eye-opening experience during the fellowship so far?

Being placed at the state level has provided me a plethora of eye opening experiences. I think the upside of working at the state level is that you are able to work with districts across the state where there are highly comparable to extremely different challenges. I have been able to learn and understand the systemic challenges communities face through the ability to work directly with district leaders by way of providing new strategies to empower teachers and school leaders to turnaround persistently low performing schools in Connecticut in efforts to increase student achievement. One example that stands out is the importance to get community buy-in. Although complex at times, I have learned by working with district leaders without the support and allowing parents, community organizations and leaders to have a voice and be part of the decision making process on the direction of the school it is difficult to move the needle in a direction and speed in which you would like.

3. What tips would you give others applying to the fellowship?

Education Pioneers’ goal is to attract leadership and management talent for positions outside the classroom. They are looking for those who are viewed as future change agents and innovative thinkers in the education sector and groundbreakers who bring a unique skill set to organizations, districts, and state departments. My one piece of advice to future EP candidates is to be a sponge, and to continue to push yourself out of your comfort zone, that is generally where you find and get the opportunity to lead some of the most important and complex projects within your respective school district or state that will drive student achievement. From a career perspective, I am leveraging this fellowship as a pivot to future career opportunities in education. The Education Pioneers fellowship is looked at as one of the premier organization where decision makers can locate quality talent, because they understand EP’s rigorous selection process. 

4. What’s next?

My short term goal is to occupy a Chief of Staff type role at a government agency or non/for profit organization where I can lead a team operating like a venture philanthropy firm at the forefront in thinking regarding funding for new and bold ideas in education. I want to examine each idea rigorously to understand what works, and scale up the programs that do work and shut down those that do not. I think becoming the connective tissue to education entrepreneurs and access to capital and strategic advice is an open market for those who want to make an innovative impact in PreK- 12 education. Too often in education we get stuck debating the same old options that have not increased student achievement. I believe programs like Race to the Top and the Investing in Innovation fund are a good start, but we need many more programs and people who are dedicated to spurring innovation in education, states like Connecticut has acknowledged this larger call to action.  As a teacher used to say to me, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” And what we’ve always gotten in education in our country is clearly not good enough compared to other countries across the globe. My long-term ambition is to obtain a senior level position in government.

In my philanthropic endeavors I am traveling the U.S. and running to raise funding for first generation college students. My goal is to run 51 full marathons, one in each U.S. state including Washington, D.C. I have completed 13 so far.

Nasir Qadree is originally from Atlanta, GA and is a graduate from Hampton University in Hampton, VA. You can follow Nasir at @NasirQadree

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

Butler Koshland FellowshipsSponsored by Butler Koshland Fellowships

Butler Koshland Fellowships is seeking an emerging leader to serve as a fellow to Eva Paterson, President and Co-Founder of Equal Justice Society.

About Equal Justice Society

The Equal Justice Society (EJS) is a civil rights non-profit organization working on transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts.

Our legal strategy aims to broaden conceptions of present-day discrimination to include unconscious and structural bias by using social science, structural analysis, and real-life experience. Currently, EJS targets its advocacy efforts on school discipline, special education, and the school-to-prison pipeline, race-conscious remedies, and inequities in the criminal justice system.

EJS is working to fully restore the constitutional protections of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause by replacing the Intent Doctrine with a Disparate Impact standard that addresses contemporary forms of racism. We use a three-pronged approach to accomplish these goals, combining legal advocacy, outreach and coalition building, and education through effective messaging and communication strategies.

To learn more about EJS, please visit its website: www.equaljusticesociety.org.

About Butler Koshland Fellowships

Butler Koshland Fellowships is a unique program designed to pass on public service leadership skills and legacies. Our model is simple and personal—we ask extraordinary leaders to mentor an emerging leader. Each mentor and fellow pair work closely together on a project for one year, during which time we fund the fellow’s salary. The fellow is also integrated into and supported by a community of Butler Koshland fellows and mentors—past, current, and future—doing important work for the common good.

To learn more about the fellowship experience, check out ProFellow interviews with former Butler Koshland Fellows Mehroz Baig and José González.


Beginning in late May / early June 2014, the fellow will work under the direction and guidance of Eva Paterson as a Butler Koshland Fellow. In this role, the fellow will support the executive-level goals of EJS. The fellow will experience the array of duties and responsibilities required to successfully lead a nonprofit civil rights organization in today’s world.  This is an exceptional opportunity for someone to participate at the management level of a major nonprofit organization during an especially exciting period of expansion and possibility.

Representative projects and learning opportunities may include:

Legal research, writing, and analysis: The overarching strategy of EJS is modeled on the civil rights work of those who challenged the legal doctrine of “separate but equal” embodied in Plessy v. Ferguson.  These brilliant attorneys and law students, led by Charles Hamilton Houston, used a long-term legal strategy that was informed by social science. Their work resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision to end American apartheid in the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education.  In this same spirit, the legal work of EJS is aimed at dismantling the Intent Doctrine (which requires proof of intentional discrimination for a constitutional race discrimination claim)—as has been articulated in cases such as Washington v. Davis and McCleskey v. Kemp.  EJS is committed to furthering this kind of social science-based legal work—especially since emerging studies have demonstrated that much racially-biased behavior is motivated by beliefs formed in our unconscious and is not the result of intentional malice.  To this end, EJS partners with leading social scientists from around the country to develop arguments to be incorporated into legal briefs and even legal opinions.  In support of these efforts, the fellow will be a full member of our Legal Team, in a position similar to that of Staff Attorney, and will work with Eva Paterson and EJS’ Legal Director, Allison Elgart, to develop legal strategies and arguments, and conduct legal research, writing, and analysis. The fellow will also be actively involved in a litigation project on school discipline.

Outreach: EJS is actively building a broad-based national coalition—one empowered to creatively and effectively address unconscious bias. In April 2012, lawyers, academics and community activists met at Northwestern University’s School of Law in Chicago to learn about how implicit bias impacts a whole range of decisions in the areas of health, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system.  At the conference, experts in the emerging field of Mind Science briefed the attendees on how the brain plays tricks on our conscious self, propelling us to take actions that we might later repudiate.  For example, unconscious biases may affect whether police officers decide to shoot or not shoot a suspect, whether employers decide to hire a job applicant, or whether to give appropriate emergency medical interventions. A key part of EJS’ strategy to support its coalition-building work will be to hold a second interdisciplinary convening on unconscious bias. This “Mind Science Conference” will take place in the Bay Area in 2014 and its conception and execution will be a large part of the fellow’s duties while at EJS. This project represents a special opportunity for both the fellow and EJS to inspire and be inspired by the best thinkers in this field. Additionally, the findings from this conference will be distributed widely, thus increasing its potential to inspire change. The ultimate success of this project depends in part upon the fellow’s capacity to conceptualize through multiple layers and lenses—creative, intellectual, logistical.

Development: In order to continue its important work, EJS must be enthusiastically engaged with individual, foundation, and corporate donors. Under the guidance of Eva Paterson and EJS’ Development Team, the fellow will support select fundraising efforts by assisting with: researching opportunities, preparing pitches, and helping to complete reporting requirements.


Candidates should have: at least 3 years of related work experience; a demonstrated commitment to public service; and be licensed to practice law in the United States (via a license from any state, not necessarily California).

Because the duties of the fellow involve strong communication and analytical skills, this position requires someone with a diverse set of abilities and personality traits, including: intellectual agility, friendliness, ability to interface with diplomacy and congeniality while facing multiple deadlines, excellent writing abilities, good presentation and verbal communication skills, ability to maintain calm in public settings, acumen for research, sense of humor, and cultural sensitivity. Applicants also must be adept at organizing both their own work and the work of others, have practical experience in making things happen, and know when to be appropriately discreet with confidential information.


The application deadline is May 1, 2014. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with final candidates selected in early May for interviews to be held in mid-May. To apply please submit a cover letter and resume addressing your qualifications and interest in this fellowship along with a legal writing sample of any length. We encourage applicants to also include relevant, short samples of their previous work—written reports, links to web-based publications, podcasts, ad copy, pitch letters, press releases, videos, and any other materials demonstrating communication skills are welcome.

Please send all application materials via email to the attention of Butler Koshland Fellowships’ Executive Director, Kate Brumage, at apply@bkfellowships.org with the subject line “Paterson Fellowship.” Only those chosen to interview will be contacted.  Please do not contact Eva Paterson or Equal Justice Society directly.

The fellow will work from the Oakland office of Equal Justice Society. The fellow’s compensation will be $48,000 per year plus employer-provided health and other benefits. The fellow will work a standard 35-hour work-week and should be available to travel and attend evening programs as needed.

Butler Koshland Fellowships is strengthened by the diversity of its participants. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply.

The inaugural class of Gabr Fellows traveling in Egypt

The inaugural class of Gabr Fellows traveling in Egypt

The Shafik Gabr Foundation is now recruiting emerging young leaders from the United States and Egypt in the areas of art, science, media, law, and both social and business entrepreneurship for a unique transnational fellowship. The Gabr Fellowship provides the opportunity for fellows to develop collaborative action projects and travel together during 2-week visits in Egypt and the U.S. The purpose of the visits is to learn about the respective cultures, political and economic systems, media, history and artistic flavor of each country. In 2013, Fellows traveled through Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New Haven, New Jersey and Virginia. Through seminars, site tours, meetings, classes and intimate discourse, Gabr Fellows learned much about one another and established deep bonds of friendship and understanding. The inaugural class is now working on joint projects with support from the World Bank and The Shafik Gabr Foundation.

This year, the Gabr Fellowship visits will take place from the May 10-24, 2014 in Egypt and the June 7-21, 2014 in the United States. Dan Sullivan, an inaugural Gabr Fellow, provides his insights on this unique opportunity and his fellowship application tips.

1. What inspired you to apply for the Gabr Fellowship?

The Gabr Fellowship’s mission invigorated me when first I discovered it. As a committed “citizen diplomat,” I have sought opportunities to engage in international citizen diplomacy. My aim is to build lasting rapport with new friends, colleagues, and community members and acquire a breadth of knowledge about various societies, systems and cultures. As an elected volunteer in the United Nations Association, a decade plus career in a state legislature, and various involvements in global affairs, interfaith dialogue and public service, the Gabr Fellowship presented an extraordinary opportunity to serve as a peacemaker with contemporaries in Egypt.

As Gabr Fellows, we were charged with laying the foundation for Mr. Gabr’s vision. The Gabr Fellowship’s mission is to bridge the divide between East and West by establishing vital relationships between young professional Egyptians and Americans in the fields of art, science, media, law, and both social and business entrepreneurship. Spending a month together, half in Egypt and half in the U.S., we discovered our commonalities, explored our differences, and crafted joint ventures to actively construct sustainable solutions to vexing challenges facing each nation. Currently, we are actively formulating and implementing our projects, with financial support and advice from the Shafik Gabr Foundation and the World Bank. I am contributing to LEAD-ETKALEM, a portal to bring the experience of the Gabr Fellowship to the public sphere.

Going forward, the Gabr Fellowship extends beyond the month’s travel and action projects. It is a long-term investment in people-to-people dialogue whereby we, as Fellows, remain in regular contact with our friends on both sides of the Atlantic, sharing stories of our lives and work, articles and videos about news in our countries, and discourse on subjects of significance to young people today. We aim to expand our base of relationships across the East/West worlds and personify the principle to meet and chat with another person from a different place in our vast globe. We know there is far more that unites us than divides us.

Our professional, academic and personal pursuits are informed by our experiences together. As we aspire to rise in our chosen fields to positions of influence and expertise, the Gabr Fellowship vision will be realized by our aptitude to engender mutual understanding and shared responsibility for global peace.

2. What did the Fellows do over the 2-week tours in the U.S. and Egypt?

The inaugural Gabr Fellowship class commenced its travels in Cairo in early June  2013. Our first evening together, we gathered with Mr. Gabr and were treated to a talk by world-renowned Egyptologist and archaeologist, Zahi Hawass. From that auspicious beginning, we continued through Cairo, Alexandria, and Luxor meeting with politicians, economists, artists, business leaders, religious figures, diplomats, historians, journalists and academics. From former Mubarak cabinet officials to current Muslim Brotherhood members, from a fashion designer to a doctor, from a graffiti artist to an ambassador, we enjoyed seminars and conversations with leaders across a diverse spectrum. Also, tour guides led us on extraordinary site visits, such as the Egyptian Museum, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Hatshepsut’s Temple, and the Great Pyramids at Giza.

Convening again in October 2013, we traveled to New York City, New Haven, CT, New Jersey, Atlanta, GA, Leesburg, VA, and Washington, D.C. We met with leaders at the UN, World Bank, White House, CNN International, Yale University, IMF, Congress, Drew University, U.S. Congress, Coca-Cola, Morehouse College, The Atlantic, and additional venues. We took seminars at Yale, discussed U.S. foreign policy at the White House, discoursed over lunch with Ralph Nader, and honored fallen heroes at the 9/11 Memorial.

Each day, we departed our hotel early and returned late. Our days brimmed with newfound experiences, learning, songs, laughter, and a profound sense of hope.

3. What tips would you give others applying to the fellowship?

The deadline for the 2014 class of Gabr Fellows is March 31, 2014. The application requires a resume, essay, 2 letters of recommendation, and an action project proposal idea. Applicants must be either U.S. or Egyptian citizens, aged 24-35. They are seeking American applicants who have never traveled to Egypt and Egyptian applicants who have never traveled to the U.S. Candidates should believe deeply in the impact of people-to-people dialogue to foster peace and progress. If you possess big ideas and a vision for inventive ways to better societies, then this opportunity is for you.

The Gabr Fellowship is your investment in the East-West dialogue. In the absence of necessary information and context, misunderstandings over politics, religion and culture can and must be overcome by firsthand accounts, travel, broad study and a commitment to relationship building. The friendships and connections that emanate from the Gabr Fellowship experience inspire efforts to bridge the divide through thoughtful dialogue and problem solving, bringing us closer to realizing that more peaceful, and ultimately more perfect, world.

The Gabr Fellowship application deadline is March 31, 2014. Please visit http://eastwestdialogue.org to learn more about the Fellows’ action projects and view videos of the Gabr Fellows’ major DC presentation from October 2013.

Dan Sullivan is an Ambassador and Coordinator for the 2014 Gabr Fellowship~ East-West: The Art of Dialogue. He served for over a decade as a staffer in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Dan is a Representative to the UNA-USA Steering Committee and Youth Advisory Board Representative to UN-Habitat.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.


On March 9, we hosted an Esteemed Fellows Dinner in San Francisco for current fellows and fellowship alumni. The dinner brought together a cross-disciplinary group of leaders in their fields. Each fellow had the chance to meet the eleven other participants over a social dinner at Schmidt’s in the Mission. Business cards were exchanged, stories and experiences were shared, and fellows left the event with ideas and new contacts.

The Esteemed Fellows Dinners are organized by our International Fellows Network, which is a rapidly growing professional networking organization of more than 600 current and former fellows from all over the world. We have also held events in Washington, DC, New York City and Berlin, Germany. Through the IFN you can connect with other fellows for advice and information on fellowships, jobs, events, graduate programs and international competitions. If you are a current or former fellow and would like to get involved, please sign up for our fellowships database, and we’ll be in touch by email!

March 2014 attendees:

  • Barbara Ristau, Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow (Germany)
  • Hailey Crowel, Fulbright Fellow to Japan
  • Julia Whistler, New Sector Resident in Social Enterprise
  • K Wymen, Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (Germany)
  • Lisa Kim, Butler Koshland Fellow at Futures Without Violence
  • Matthias Reichenbach, Fulbright Fellow to the U.S. from Guatemala
  • Maureen Johnson, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar (Peru)
  • Napala Pratini, Fulbright Fellow to Spain
  • Paul Burow, Butler Koshland Fellow at Northern Sierra Partnership
  • Ryan Johnson, Cofounder, ProFellow
  • Sarenna Shaw, New Sector Resident in Social Enterprise
  • Vicki Johnson, Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy (New Zealand)

ImageSponsored by the Shafik Gabr Foundation

The Gabr Fellowship is an initiative of Mr. Shafik Gabr, designed to promote intercultural dialogue and collaboration between Egyptians and Americans. In an increasingly interconnected world, cross-cultural understanding and professional networks are essential for peace and progress. The Fellowship is sponsored by the Shafik Gabr Foundation and organized by the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C.

The Gabr Fellowship is for emerging leaders in the areas of art, science, media, law, and both social and business entrepreneurship. Applicants should have big ideas and a strong interest in transnational dialogue. All applicants must be 24 to 35 years of age and must be citizens of the United States or Egypt. American applicants without prior travel to Egypt and Egyptian applicants without prior travel to the United States are strongly encouraged to apply.

In 2013, the inaugural class of the Gabr Fellowship comprised of 12 Americans and 10 Egyptians traveled together in Egypt and the United States over the total course of a month. In 2014, the fellowship will include 2 week visits in each country, with a 2 week break in between trips. The first tour in Egypt will take place from May 10-24, 2014 and the second tour in the U.S. will take place from June 7-21, 2014. The purpose of the visits is to learn about the respective cultures, political and economic systems, media, history, and artistic flavor of each country. In 2013, Fellows traveled through Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New Haven, New Jersey, and Virginia. Through seminars, site tours, meetings, classes, and intimate discourse, Fellows learned much about one another and established deep bonds of friendship and understanding. The inaugural class is now working on joint sustainable action projects with support from the World Bank and The Shafik Gabr Foundation.

For more information and for the application, please visit the Gabr Fellowship website at http://eastwestdialogue.org. The deadline to apply has been extended to March 31, 2014. For questions, please contact Daniel Sullivan.


In follow-up to my article on How To Fully Fund Your PhD, we began a series on fully funded PhD programs in various disciplines. There are several competitive, external fellowships that fund doctoral study, but if securing full funding is your goal, we recommend applying to PhD programs that offer full funding to all admitted students. When a doctoral program indicates that they provide full funding to their PhD students, in most cases this means they provide each admitted student full tuition and a stipend for living expenses for the four to six year duration of the student’s doctoral studies. Not all universities provide full funding to their doctoral students, which is why we recommend researching the financial aid offerings of all the potential PhD programs in your academic field, including small and lesser-known schools both in the U.S. and abroad.

To view over 400 professional and academic fellowships, including fellowships for graduate and doctoral study and pre- and post-doctoral research, sign up to view ProFellow’s fellowships database.

Below is a list of universities that offer full funding to all of the admitted students to their PhD programs in business:

Duke University Fuqua School of Business (Durham, NC): Full tuition grant, registration, and mandatory student health fees while in residence for the program; stipend of $27,600 for the first year and $24,600 for years two through five. This package is given to all those admitted.

Grenoble Ecole de Management, PhD in Business Administration (Grenoble, France): Our doctoral students are normally fully funded, either from GEM (tuition waiver and assistantship) or externally.

London Business School (London, United Kingdom): All students are fully funded on admission to the Programme. This includes a tuition fee waiver and generous stipend.

Ohio State University Fisher College of Business (Columbus, OH): All admitted students into any of the Fisher PhD programs are full funded. The funding may come in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, supplemental grants, etc. Applicants to any PhD program do not need to do anything to be considered for funding – if an applicant is admitted, s/he is funded.

Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business (Houston, TX): Full financial assistance will be offered to each admitted student in the Ph.D. program in the form of a research assistantship, where the student must work as a research assistant for assigned faculty members. Admitted students will be offered stipend support of $35,000 per fiscal year.

Stanford Business School (Stanford, CA): The PhD Program provides a financial fellowship to qualified doctoral students that includes tuition, a living stipend, health fee coverage, and opportunities to hold research and/or course assistantships.The program guarantees four years of support based on satisfactory academic performance.  

University of Southern California Marshall School of Business (Los Angeles, CA): USC provides full financial support to Ph.D. students for four to five years in the form of a fellowship or assistantship. After a student has advanced to candidacy (typically in the third year), the student becomes eligible for additional research awards.

Do you know of other PhD programs in Business that offer full funding to their doctoral students? We are happy to update this list, so please contact us or leave a comment below.

Also sign up to check our fellowships database to learn about other opportunities to fund graduate and doctoral study.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, left, and David Braun, National Geographic Digital Outreach Director, at the signing event for the inauguration of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. (Photo courtesy of the Department of State)

Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, left, and David Braun, National Geographic Digital Outreach Director, at the signing event for the inauguration of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. (Photo courtesy of the Department of State)

We’ve gotten lots of questions about the new Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, so we reached out to David Braun of National Geographic, who is currently serving a senior digital editor and point person for the new Fulbright program. According to the website, the Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship is a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program that provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in up to three countries on a globally significant social or environmental topic. The inaugural group of Fellows will undertake an in-depth examination of a globally relevant issue, comparing and contrasting how that issue is experienced across borders. Fellows can use a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media, and will have the opportunity to publish their work on National Geographic media platforms with the support of National Geographic’s editorial team. In addition to receiving Fulbright benefits for travel and living expenses, Fellows will receive ongoing mentorship and an orientation on digital storytelling techniques at National Geographic’s headquarters in Washington, DC before departure.

This year, digital storytelling project proposals will be accepted for the following themes: Biodiversity, Cities, Climate Change, Cultures, Energy, Food, Oceans, and Water. Candidates must have an undergraduate degree and experience in digital storytelling, including but not limited to publications in print, online or multimedia platforms. The deadline for the fellowship application is February 28, 2014.

To learn more about the new fellowship and the types of candidates they are looking for, we sat down with David Braun who provided his insights on this extraordinary opportunity. 

1. What inspired the creation of the new Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship?

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs approached us with the idea. They were looking for new opportunities to extend the Fulbright program in meaningful ways and they had the idea that partnering with National Geographic would be a good fit. We were not the first media partner for the Fulbright program. They have been working with mtvU to provide fellowships to U.S. students to pursue projects around an aspect of international contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression.

The Department of State felt that it shared a common interest with National Geographic in ensuring that individuals throughout the world have access to information that serves to break down barriers between people. We agreed that this would be a good fit as we explore and expand digital storytelling – and what could be a better fit than having Fulbright students sharing their experiences on our blogging and other digital platforms.

2. What significant social and environmental issues do you hope the Fellows will help illustrate?

The eight themes (Biodiversity, Cities, Climate Change, Cultures, Energy, Food, Oceans, and Water) were selected by National Geographic in consultation with the Department of State precisely because they are the critical issues faced by all the people of the world, and National Geographic has a long legacy of covering them. On the theme of freshwater, for example, we have a Freshwater Initiative that in part is focused on restoring the health and flow of rivers, which sustain all of life, including and especially humans. Our magazine produced a single-topic issue on water a few years ago and we continue to focus on freshwater issues in our digital news, blogs, and interactives.

Similarly, we have a special focus on energy, especially on providing sustainable energy for everyone. Sustainable energy means not only providing energy to the more than a billion people who still don’t have access to electricity. It also means that everyone using energy does so in a way that reduces the impact on the environment. That can be done through using different sources of energy to more efficient generation, distribution, and use of energy. How we produce and use energy has an impact on our freshwater, food production, cities, biodiversity, climate, and so on.

This year National Geographic is focusing on food and how we can feed nine billion people while keeping Earth healthy and productive for future generations. The production and distribution of food has a big impact on freshwater, energy, biodiversity, and civilization. The focus on oceans relates to this, so we concentrate on restoring and maintaining the sea to feed us sustainably while also preserving a marvelous resource of biodiversity. How are local communities adapting to the challenges, and what may we learn from one another?

National Geographic has also focused intensely on cities, where more than half of all people now reside. How we green our cities and organize them may in fact be one of our best tools to reduce our footprint on the planet.

Finally, we have a long legacy of covering cultures, not only those that are ancient and disappearing but also those that are emerging and adapting to the changing world. Human culture is amazingly diverse and we have much to learn across cultural boundaries and from the keepers of traditional knowledge. Culture may even be evolving more rapidly than ever before, in response to technology, education, sharing of ideas, and communications that allow so many of us to travel or watch in real time what various societies are going through as they struggle to reform and adapt civilization in response to new challenges and opportunities.

Now, just think how the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship can play into any or all these themes, allowing Fellows to immerse themselves in different situations around the world and sharing with everyone experiences, observations, and solutions of different peoples.

3. What would be the characteristics of a strong applicant to the fellowship?

The fellowships are open to U.S. citizens with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. They are not qualified if they have a PhD. There is no age restriction, but we are generally seeking recent graduates and young professionals as Fellows who should understand that they are committing to nine months abroad with a stipend from the Department of State to pay their basic living expenses and some expenses for the tools to do their work. The guidelines make it clear that experience and a proven ability to tell stories are required. They may also need some language skills, depending on where they apply to be located. As stated on the Fulbright website: While foreign language skills are not strictly required for the Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, the ability to communicate effectively is critical to success in any country to which Fellows will travel on this program. In some countries and for some subjects, language skills are necessary to function effectively and successfully complete a project. Applicants with relevant language skills may receive preference in the application review process. Project feasibility assessment will be based, in part, upon applicant language capabilities.

The Fulbright has a very clear list of requirements. National Geographic will be looking for some evidence of an ability to tell good stories, which would require a thoughtful proposal of what the applicant wants to accomplish. Applicants should be versed in the theme or themes that they select to cover, the countries and communities in which they want to be immersed, and they should impress the judges with their storytelling ideas. We are looking for candidates who are willing to consider any of the digital storytelling tools, including video, writing, and photography.

4. Tell us more about the digital storytelling training provided at the outset of the fellowship.

There will be two days’ induction in Washington, DC, including a full day at National Geographic. Everyone will get some basic instruction from our editorial specialists as to what makes a good story, some basic guidelines for photography and video. Depending on the projects of the successful applicants, we may also arrange some sessions with our editorial and scientific specialists in specific fields.

5. Should applicants propose to use multiple digital storytelling tools?

We can’t expect anyone to be an expert in all of the digital storytelling tools. I don’t want to rule out the possibility that there is someone out there who can do it all, but we’re certainly not expecting that. Some grasp of the theme or themes that have been proposed paired with a demonstrated proficiency to tell a good story with at least one of the tools would be good. That could be photography or video or reporting. We will provide the initial instruction to give the fellows some basic guidance about the most egregious amateur errors to avoid in using the tools they may be less experienced using, and there will be access to some of our webinars where they can check in to update themselves about these basic skills. There will also be ongoing mentoring throughout the program, so we hope in that way it will be learning experience for the fellows and they will become more proficient in digital storytelling.

6. Can candidates apply with a digital storytelling project they are already working on, or should the project be entirely new?

It would help if the proposal is fresh, something the judges may not have not heard before. It could be some aspect of one of the themes that has not been reported widely. It could also be an unusual combination of the themes. If people apply with tired and widely reported ideas, I can’t imagine they would have very strong prospects for success. Much may also depend on the strength of the applicant’s storytelling skills.

7. Who is the main audience of the National Geographic Society and Department of State platforms and social networking sites, where the fellows’ projects will be shared?

National Geographic has a global reach of more than 500 million individuals around the world. Our magazine is published in some three dozen languages and our Channel is widely distributed in international markets. Our digital audience clearly reflects what people know and like about our brand and mission. We receive a million visits to our website per day, and a good percentage of them are from outside North America. We will publish the work of the Fellows on a dedicated blog for the program and, at the discretion of the editors, on other parts of the National Geographic website. The Fulbright program may also publish the work on its sites.

8. What are the travel, stipend and health benefits provided by the fellowship? 

Funding for this Fellowship is provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, through the cooperating partner organization implementing the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Institute of International Education (IIE). All fellows will receive standard Fulbright Program benefits, including funds for travel, a living stipend, and health benefits as well as a modest professional stipend. The cost of moving between countries will be covered by the stipend and there is a materials allowance.  Living stipends will be calculated based on host-country cost-of-living indices. In addition, Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows will be paired with National Geographic editors who will offer training, mentoring, and guidance. Over the course of the grant, Fellows will engage with National Geographic editors and other mentors on story assignments and submissions.

David Braun is a 17-year veteran of National Geographic, currently serving as Director of Outreach for Digital. David develops stories focused on National Geographic’s mission programs. He also directs his popular National Geographic News Watch blog, including a companion blog to Tales of the Weird, a bestseller book he edited for National Geographic in 2012. David’s 40-year journalism career in the US, UK, and South Africa includes coverage of stories in Congress, the White House, international legislatures, and the United Nations. David’s work has been published or broadcast by the BBC, CNN, AP, UPI, National Geographic, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and the Johannesburg Star. 

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

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Financial Clinic Fellow Evangelos Razis with his mentor Lisa Halpern, Founder and CEO of Kiboo.

Each year, the Financial Clinic Fellowship program recruits exceptional college graduates for a yearlong opportunity to gain real-world public service experience as financial coaches in low-income communities. Operating in New York City and Newark, NJ, fellows are trained to provide a full range of financial development services—education, coaching, counseling, and planning—directly to the working poor, while helping build the capacity of partner organizations. Fellows also participate in a social innovation competition to plan a scalable social enterprise. To learn from experienced professionals, Fellows are paired with a mentor from the Financial Clinic’s esteemed Advisory Group made up of leaders from the private, nonprofit, and public sectors.

The Financial Clinic has many success stories of people who have regained control of their finances with the help of Financial Clinic Fellows. In 2012 alone, Fellows helped nearly 600 customers received returns of $291,412 in assets and resources. Fordham University graduate Evangelos Razis discusses his fellowship experience and application tips.

1. What inspired you to apply for the Financial Clinic Fellowship?

I’m a recent graduate of Fordham University, where I had studied comparative and international politics, among other things. Early on in my undergraduate career, with the support of a professor, I came to focus on the politics of financial affairs. In many ways I wanted to understand the issues of the day such as the American mortgage bubble and the public debt crisis in Greece. After undertaking supervised research, I was able to discern the common thread in what at the time seemed like a disconnected pair of interests. I was, essentially, concerned with moments when economic ideas have helped bring about spectacular failures of public policy.

While these are very academic pursuits, I’ve always looked for ways to gain practical experience. In the past, for example, I interned with the Office of Senator Charles Schumer, the World Policy Institute, and the Consulate General of Greece. The Financial Clinic Fellowship interested me from the moment I stumbled onto the posting. A lot of ink has been spent documenting the problems of economic inequality. I wanted to play a small part in combating these problems. The Clinic’s fellowship program promised me an opportunity to do so in a way that related to my interest in financial affairs.

While I was attracted to all aspects of the program—the prospect of being mentored by an accomplished professional in particular—what really inspired me to apply was a desire to serve communities I knew little about. History shows us that the working poor are typically the first to suffer from bad or short-sighted decision-making, whether the decisions are being reached by governments or the private sector. While I’m from a modest background myself, compared to others I’m relatively privileged. I believed that on-the-ground experience would provide me with a strong point of reference for when I thought or wrote about poverty in the future. In short, I wanted to put human faces to the issue.

2. What have been some of the most eye-opening moments during your fellowship?

The Financial Clinic Fellowship is a full-time year of service. Day-to-day I work primarily in the field alongside other not-for-profits spread across New York City. Since beginning the fellowship last fall, I’ve worked in three boroughs and have provided coaching services to everyone from veterans to community college students to domestic violence survivors. Financial coaching is confidential and meant to be a judgment-free relationship between coach and customer. As a result, I get to know the people I serve quite well and most of the eye-opening experiences I’ve had have happened in these meetings.

One customer immediately comes to mind. She’s a single mother of two small girls. When we first met, she was several thousand dollars behind on her utility bills. Understandably, she was frightened that her electricity would be shut off and what that would mean for her children, one of whom has special needs. Over the course of two meetings we negotiated with the utility company to get her onto a repayment plan she’s comfortable with. Then we had some unexpected help in meeting her goal, which was to obtain Christmas presents for her children. After I posted a question on our online platform, Change Machine, asking about organizations helping struggling families with the holidays, one of my colleagues from a legal clinic saw the post and donated a new, really top-notch toy. My customer was ecstatic.

Coaching, thankfully, doesn’t rely only on serendipity. We have measurable outcomes that can be achieved when it comes to getting people into a more secure place financially. I work with my customers on assets, banking, credit, debt, and taxes. What ties all these together, though, are the person’s goals and priorities. It is important to note how customer-driven the process is. Many of the people I serve don’t know how to tackle the financial issues in front of them and know even less about their rights. Yet, by the end of the first session, I’ve helped them understand the nature of the problem. We map out all available options and we draft an action plan for us to start moving forward on a resolution. You begin to see the change in the customer’s demeanor after each successive meeting. By the third or fourth meeting, I’m usually speaking to someone who is informed, confident, and who’s taken ownership of their situation.

Lately, when not in the field, I’ve been studying to become a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant. Once certified, I’ll be able to prepare tax returns for low-income New Yorkers at special sites around the city, at no cost to them. I’ve also been in regular communication with my mentor, Lisa Halpern, the Founder and CEO of Kiboo, an online social banking platform. Each fellow is paired with a mentor who helps them draft a plan for a social enterprise or a financial product that aims to address our country’s widening income gap. At the end of our fellowship year, we compete to present our plans to a panel of judges who choose a winner among the seven of us. Lisa’s help has been invaluable. I would tell you more about my project, but I’m a very competitive person—I wouldn’t want to leak any ideas to the other fellows!

3. What do you think made your fellowship application stand out? 

The application process is quite competitive. After the initial application, there were three interviews, including an exercise to see how well I could manage customer and site relations. I can’t say with certainty what had made my application stand out. I did, however, emphasize that I had a background in political economy, experience in the public policy field, and that I saw a year of service as an opportunity to acquaint myself with low-income New Yorkers. I made sure that I was thoughtful and concise in making my case for how I was a match for the program, with a view to both my short- and long-term goals. The Clinic is a leader in the financial development field and it’s looking, after all, to nurture future leaders.

While I don’t believe that there’s any one typical Financial Clinic Fellow, my peers in the program are all service-oriented and highly capable. As a Fellow, you’re embedded with partner organizations all around New York City. I cannot stress enough the amount of support that I’ve received from my colleagues at The Clinic. However, I have over one hundred customers in three boroughs and so I would think that the program is looking for responsible self-starters who can be flexible when needed.  A commitment to building the financial security of the working poor and improving financial mobility is, of course, also a must. I would recommend becoming familiar with financial coaching and The Clinic’s work before applying.

Evangelos Razis is a 2013-2014 Financial Clinic Fellow. A native New Yorker, he graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University with a degree in Political Science and Global Policy Studies. His interests include political economy, the history of economic ideas, and Orthodox Christian social thought. Evangelos is an alumnus of the Hertog Political Studies Program (2013) and of the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship (2012, Russia). He hopes to pursue a career in public policy.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 6.18.28 AMLast night we hosted our first Esteemed Fellows Dinner of 2014 in San Francisco for current fellows and fellowship alumni. The dinner brought together a cross-disciplinary group of leaders in their fields. Each fellow had the chance to meet the eleven other participants over a social dinner at Fondue Cowboy. Business cards were exchanged, stories and experiences were shared, and fellows left the event with ideas and new contacts.

The Esteemed Fellows Dinners are organized by our International Fellows Network, which is a rapidly growing professional networking organization of more than 600 current and former fellows from all over the world. We have also held events in Washington, DC, New York City and Berlin, Germany. Through the IFN you can connect with other fellows for advice and information on fellowships, jobs, events, graduate programs and international competitions. If you are a current or former fellow and would like to get involved, please sign up for our beta, and we’ll be in touch by email!

January 2014 San Francisco attendees:

  • Ayushi Gummadi, Fulbright ETA in South Africa
  • Jim Murray, Capital Fellow
  • Karen Kwok, National Urban Fellow
  • Michael Fernandez, Marshall Memorial Scholar
  • Molly Peterson, City Hall Fellow
  • Rebecca Peters, Marshall Scholar
  • Ryan Johnson, Cofounder, ProFellow
  • Sherry Ezhuthachan, ProInspire Fellow
  • Guille Suro, Fulbright Garcia Robles Fellow to the U.S. from Mexico
  • Vicki Johnson, Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy (New Zealand)