International Fellows Network Dinner in Washington, DC, April 2024

Apr 29, 2024
IFN Washington DC dinner attendees made sure to take a few group photos before digging into their meals and sharing their stories.

With the successful relaunch of the IFN, or International Fellows Network, in December 2023 in NYC, ProFellow brought excitement to the heart of the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. This event gathered a group of inspiring and brilliant fellowship winners to share not only a meal but also their respective journeys and accomplishments.

Chelsea Ridenour, Glasgow’s International Leadership Scholar and AmeriCorps fellow, planned the event, which took place in bustling DuPont Circle. Rachel Santarsiero, a highly successful Scoville Fellow, and coach for ProFellow’s Fully Funded and Mentorship Program, hosted the program. She kicked off the introductions by sharing how she is a Research Analyst at the National Security Archive. She’s been enjoying her time at her current job after graduating with her Master of Science.

Following an overview of the IFN, the fellows went around the tables, sharing what fellowships they had won and their current aspirations.

Mark Flanigan is currently a HillVets Fellow, a program that helps veterans find full-time positions, especially on Capitol Hill. He is also a multi-fellowship winner, having participated in Rotary Peace Fellowships not once but twice! He has also traveled to Japan as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. In addition to his impressive experience history, he is now working with a New Jersey US Representative for his HillVets tenure.

Christopher Hundley was a 2022 German Marshall Memorial Fellow, where he traveled to Europe for leadership and development. As a union’s Public and Government Relations Director, he’s been hard at work advocating for fully funded public services in his home state.

Similarly, Mary Kombolias, a Sustainability and Metrology Consultant, also won the Marshall Memorial in addition to the 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 for Environmental Entrepreneurs. As a mid-career professional who previously wrote for ProFellow, she shares that she is “working and living her best life.”

The dinner hosted several Marshell Fellows, including Jamaal Glenn, founder and CEO of JG Holdings and a venture capitalist. He is making strides by helping organizations invest in impact-oriented organizations. One current focus of his company is AI and what that means for individuals and companies.

The cohort of Scoville fellows who were invited to the IFN dinner.

In addition to the Marshall Fellows, a cohort of Scoville fellows was well represented with fellows at various steps in the program. The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship is a highly competitive national fellowship that invites college graduates to DC and pairs them with an organization in the district to address critical peace and security issues. Including Rachel, we had Anna Savva at International Crisis Group, who started in Spring 2024 and is working to elevate policy recommendations that experts have in DC research and advocacy.

Grace Connors, also a new fellow at ReThink Media, is working on communications to drive powerful narratives backed with data for positive change. Previously, she participated in agricultural research in Ghana and is invested in peacebuilding.

Similarly, Bénédicte Yenyi is currently at Peace Direct, where she supports US advocacy teams for the Great Lake Strategy, specifically in Congo. Her goal is to change how donors in the international community are approached so that the country’s local organization can be empowered in peacebuilding.

On the opposite spectrum, we had fellows who were wrapping up their Scoville fellowships, like Mia Baxley at Search for Common Ground, who is using her strategic placement in DC to continue working in peacebuilding and humanitarian aid. There was also Kyle Tucker, wrapping up at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, who recently announced his acceptance of the Marshall Scholarship, where he will be pursuing a Master’s in National Security Studies in the UK at King’s College.

The attendees rounded out with Lydia Grate, a Global Programs Associate at the Obama Foundation, where she is supporting the design and coordination of the Voyager Scholarship. Magaly Cabrera-Ortiz is an aspiring physician who won the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) award to the Czech Republic. She makes sure to practice her newly acquired language skills whenever she can. And finally, Harmain Rafi, who co-hosted the dinner. She is a junior editor at ProFellow and is working on her PhD dissertation in behavioral neuroscience.

IFN Attendees for the April 2024 Washington DC dinner, taking one last photo before heading off for the night.

The talented fellows and ProFellow staff enjoyed a wonderful evening exchanging stories and job opportunities and simply sharing highlights of fellowship adventures. The IFN hopes to reconvene later this year along with ProFelow Founder Dr. Vicki Johnson.

About the International Fellows Network

The International Fellows Network is a professional networking organization of more than 1,800 current and former fellows worldwide. The IFN has held events in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Berlin, Germany, and hopes to revisit future locations in 2024 and beyond.

Through the IFN, current and former fellows can connect for socializing, advice, and insights on fellowships, jobs, events, graduate programs, and collaborative opportunities. If you are a current or former fellow and would like to join, please sign up for our fellowships database, and we’ll be in touch by email! Also, feel free to check out the new IFN website for future updates on IFN events.

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