Trustee George W. Wellde Jr., M.B.A. ’76, and his wife, Patricia, endow fellowship to promote careers in public service.
George Washington University alumni Peter Kamocsai, M.P.A. ’15, and Jay Yang, B.A. ’15, have been selected for the inaugural GW Fellows Program at the Partnership for Public Service (Partnership)—an experience that will bring to life the motto of university namesake George Washington, “Deeds not words.”
The Partnership is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve. Its goal is to transform the way government works by strengthening civil service and the systems that support it.
George W. Wellde Jr., M.B.A. ’76 a member of the Partnership’s and GW’s boards of trustees, and his wife, Patricia, endowed the two-year professional fellowship to promote careers in public service.
“We are pleased to support this exciting collaboration between GW and the Partnership for Public Service,” Mr. Wellde said. “Civic engagement is a cornerstone of the mission of both organizations, and our hope is that students will be inspired to contribute their energy and talent in the public sphere.”
Ms. Wellde added that the endowment is “an investment in two high-achieving GW alumni who have the potential to excel among the next generation of leaders.”
Both George and Patricia have a history of public service in their families. George’s father worked for the Department of State and Patricia’s father worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“George and Patty Wellde’s generous gift will help create a new generation of citizen leaders and honor the memory of their fathers, both of whom served our nation as career civil servants,” said GW President Steven Knapp.
As a research associate, Mr. Kamocsai is investigating how innovation in the federal government saves money and makes processes more efficient.
Mr. Yang is working with college students to support federal recruitment as a program associate for education and outreach.
Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership, said that motivating a new generation to serve is a critical part of the organization’s work. The Partnership’s diverse initiatives include partnering with federal agencies and other organizations to build more effective government, advocating for reforms that support civil service, promoting awareness about the value of civil service and connecting with students and job seekers who wish to pursue careers in public service.
“We are grateful to George and Patricia Wellde for their support of public service careers,” Mr. Stier said. “The GW fellowship raises awareness about the important work of our federal government and helps educate top talent about the wide-range of opportunities available in public service.”
The GW Center for Career Services collaborated with the Partnership to identify Mr. Kamocsai and Mr. Yang for the fellowship.
Assistant Provost for University Career Services Rachel Brown said that the Wellde’s leadership gift provides the opportunity for GW alumni to pursue their professional aspirations in public service and reinforces GW's strategic commitment to preparing citizen leaders. This unique and generous program will have a lasting impact that will extend for generations, Ms. Brown added.
While growing up in the small Eastern European town of Kolárovo, Slovakia, Mr. Kamocsai never dreamed he would have the opportunity to work closely with federal agencies in the United States and watch as they implement strategies to improve the lives of citizens. He is currently researching how federal agencies integrate modern technology to improve programs, services and operations.
“I look at my research and reports as tools to make a change, and that’s exactly what the Partnership reports do,” Mr. Kamocsai said. “It’s really about federal employees reading these reports and taking our advice.”
“Contrary to what many people believe, the government is still a transformative and powerful place—I know because I see every day during my interviews that federal employees are working hard to make changes,” he added.
Mr. Yang said that he was initially inspired to pursue public service following an internship at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“Working at the VA opened my eyes to how veterans of the armed services are not getting what they deserve—it made me want to do more,” Mr. Yang said. “I think helping students get more exposure to government work will encourage them to pursue public service.”
In his role at the Partnership, Mr. Yang is training students to lead recruiting efforts on college and university campuses. He also is working with college and university communities to prepare students for careers in public service through workshops specific to the interview process and navigating USA Jobs, the federal government job website.
Mr. Yang encourages students who are interested in public service to research their options and find an agency that fits their personal mission and values.
“I am definitely optimistic because the government is changing, and federal employees are changing the way they think about their work,” Mr. Yang said. “There are a lot of jobs out there just waiting for young people.”
Mr. Kamocsai agreed, saying that the federal government offers a wider variety of opportunities than people realize.
“There is a federal agency for you, whether you are passionate about the environment, health, education or safeguarding the nation,” Mr. Kamocsai said. “I am excited to let people know that the federal government is still about the power to change things for the better.”