On May 5, the International Fellows Network (IFN) had a digital event with global fellows from various disciplines. The topic of discussion was completing virtual fellowships.
The event began with introducing Rikeshia Davidson, a 2019 Urban Leaders Fellow currently based in Mississippi, as our International Fellows Network Manager. In this role, Rikeshia helps us coordinate events and facilitates the International Fellows Network LinkedIn Group. She is an HBCU graduate (Mississippi Valley State University) with a decade of Federal government experience and currently is the Communications Director for the International HBCU Xchange – the only program dedicated to increasing HBCU participation among international exchanges like Boren, Critical Language Scholarship, Fulbright and Gilman.
After Rikeshia’s introduction, four fellows shared their experiences completing fellowships virtually during the pandemic.
Austin David Reid shared his experience as an Urban Leaders Fellow, where he worked with Nashville’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency and the Metro Nashville School Board. He shared how despite the physical distance, he was able to make genuine connections with his cohort.
Alice Wistar then told us about her time with the Princeton in Latin America Fellowship, which was originally supposed to take place in Costa Rica. She talked about the importance of flexibility and the disappointment of not being able to be immersed in a Spanish-speaking culture during her time.
Juliana Poroye shared her experience as a New York Urban Fellow this year, and she shared how the fellowship, despite being virtual, has helped her get clarity on her next career steps.
Finally, Alex Hauke told us about her experience as a Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund recipient, where she and co-fellow Zainab Ali developed an online financial literacy curriculum for students in North Carolina. Because the program was virtual, they ended up reaching a much larger geographic audience than originally intended!
Other participants of the event included Dawn Angelicca Barcelona, a Fulbright ETA to Korea in 2014-2016, and Paulo Barbieri Kennedy, a Chevening Scholar who currently works for the United Nations. Dr. Vicki Johnson, ProFellow’s founder, gave helpful advice on how to approach fellowship directors with questions about projects, and Olivia Davis, ProFellow’s IFN Director, helped facilitate the discussion.
The International Fellows Network is a professional networking organization of more than 1,800 current and former fellows from all over the world. The IFN also holds events online, in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Berlin, Germany and seeking to expand these to new locations. 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!