A Prestigious Public Policy Program for Graduate Students: The Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship

Mar 11, 2020
Katelyn (third from right) with her Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship cohort

The Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship is a one-year, competitive fellowship program awarded to graduate students attending master’s, juris doctoral, and doctoral programs in a variety of fields including economics, law, political science, and public policy. The aim of this fellowship is to introduce students to the Austrian, Virginia, and Bloomington schools of political economy as academic foundations for pursuing contemporary policy analysis. The total award of up to $5,000 includes a stipend and travel and lodging to attend colloquia hosted by the Mercatus Center. Bastiat Fellows are eligible to apply for conference and research support.

We talked to Katelyn Harris Lange, a 2018 Frédéric Bastiat Fellow, to learn more about the program and get some application tips.  

1. What inspired you to apply for the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship? 

When I applied to the fellowship, I was in the middle of a job search after completing an internship in Oakland as part of my graduate study. I found ProFellow and thought applying for fellowships was a great way to break up the monotony of my longer-than-expected job search.

I chose the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship because it’s open to any graduate or PhD student with an interest in public policy. As citizens and residents of the U.S., we are all impacted by public policy, and I was intrigued to engage around some of the topic areas they listed like technological innovation, humanitarianism, and military conflicts.

Since the fellowship consists of 4-5 weekend convenings over the course of one year (fly into Arlington on Friday and fly out on Saturday), I knew it wouldn’t interfere with work or class. On Friday evening, the agenda is a lecture related to the reading topic, dinner, and a hosted social hour. On Saturday, you awake for breakfast followed by two 90-minute discussion sessions, break for lunch, and complete one final discussion before flying home. 

The first hurdle for me after attending the first lecture was overcoming imposter syndrome in a room with a number of PhD students and distinguished faculty. However, I quickly connected with other students with similar interests at the hosted social hour and set my concerns aside. 

2. What are the benefits of the fellowship? 

I knew little about the Mercatus Center at the time I applied (I probably should have done more research), but the experience exceeded my expectations. Had I known more, I may have been intimidated by the free-market ideology; this wasn’t something I had much exposure to. 

Although the fellowship provides monetary compensation (a $2,500 stipend at completion plus paid travel), I found the interaction with the other fellows and the structured dialogue most rewarding. The experience pushed me out of my comfort zone, both philosophically and structurally. I made connections and discussed public policy with other students across the political spectrum, in a format where we took turns analyzing the assigned reading. 

Prior to the fellowship, I was a bit shy sharing my perspective in groups of 20 plus participants, but now I’m a more confident public speaker. Additionally, as a woman of color, I have an enhanced understanding of why it is important for me to not only occupy a seat in these spaces but amplify my voice and perspective. 

My fellowship experience led to a job referral from someone I’d met in the program, expanded the political topics that I enjoy conversing on, and made me more aware of the barriers and opportunities to make government more effective in my home state of Arizona. As I carry my civic engagement work forward in Arizona, there’s a chance that I may run for office in the future. I feel more confident in my ability to build bipartisan bridges since completing the fellowship. 

Katelyn, right, with friends in her fellowship cohort

3. What tips would you give others applying to the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship? 

Compared to some of the other fellowships I applied to, this application is pretty simple. I submitted a cover letter expressing my interest in the program, a resume, and answered a few short answer questions. There is no interview process. 

I’m a public administration graduate student but work full-time as an executive recruiter. I think I took one economics class in undergrad, so I had limited knowledge about what the fellowship would cover. If economics and policy isn’t your major or career field, explain in your application why the topic is of interest. I highlighted my volunteer work and city-level board service, as well as my passion for social justice, known in the free market world as liberty. 

Katelyn Harris Lange is a Leadership Search Advisor with Y Scouts, an Arizona B Corp working to connect 10 million people to work that matters. She is a philanthropist with the African-American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle through the Arizona Community Foundation and Civic Engagement Chair for the Greater Phoenix Urban League Young Professionals. 

Katelyn holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2018, she completed a one-year Frederic Bastiat Fellowship with the Mercatus Center. She will earn her Masters in Public Administration from the University of North Dakota in Spring 2020. Long term, Katelyn plans to merge her talent acquisition expertise and interest in civic engagement to rectify America’s destructive practice of redlining. 

Interested in applying? Bookmark the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship to your ProFellow account.

© Victoria Johnson 2020, all rights reserved.