Meet the New Presidential Administrative Fellows

From left to right, Presidential Administrative Fellows Michelle Suarez, Timothy Savoy, Chelsea Ullman, Allison Rohde, Jessica Fern and Cameron Smither.
May 17, 2012

Six graduating seniors will return to pursue master’s degrees while working at George Washington.

When they receive their undergraduate diplomas Sunday, the six new Presidential Administrative Fellows will already be prepping to come back to campus—this time for a master’s program and job placement in a George Washington University department in the fall.

“We have an outstanding cohort of new fellows who met the highest level of scrutiny this year as they competed to successfully navigate the rigorous phases of our selection process,” said Dean of Students Peter Konwerski. “Our PAFs provide an invaluable service to their alma mater, working every day to advance the mission of the university both in big and in small ways.”

Presidential Administrative Fellows are a select group with impressive academic records—this cohort has an average grade-point average of 3.64—who receive tuition and fees toward the completion of a master’s degree, a housing allowance and departmental compensation. In return, fellows help GW further its research mission; are campus ambassadors, serving as volunteers and role models to their peers; and often lead the charge for change, supporting the launch of new offices, programs and campus traditions.

The past year has brought some tweaks to the PAF program, which began in 1989. A new curriculum has been developed to enhance professional development, support has been expanded for those who supervise PAFs, the selection process has increased in rigor and consistency and the appointment of a faculty liaison has been implemented to add academic linkages and intellectual engagement to the program.

Here’s a look at the 2012-14 class of fellows:

Jessica Fern, B.A. in sociology

Pursuing:
Master’s in public policy

Department placement:
Office of Government and Community Relations

What she wants to get out of being a fellow:
“I hope to learn more about myself, rigorously prioritize my academic experience, refine my career path, develop the professional skills necessary to succeed beyond my tenure as a PAF, give back to GW and make the most of this opportunity I have been awarded.”

Dream job:
“I have experienced both the government and the nonprofit side of the policymaking and implementation spectrum, which has illuminated, for me, the power of community leaders in implementing social policy in a genuine manner. My goal is to work in this realm, ideally working to connect faith-based nonprofit organizations on the local level with the power of the government.”

 

Allison Rohde, B.A. in political science

Pursuing:
Master’s of public policy

Department placement:
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

What she wants to get out of being a fellow:
“As someone who wants to ultimately work in the education policy field, I stand to gain a lot from this fellowship. I am excited to learn more about the internal workings and development of the university through my placement, as well as expand my content knowledge through my academic courses.”

Dream job:
“Ultimately, I would like to work in the education policy sector helping to change the way curriculum is written. I want to help close the infamous achievement gap, especially as it relates to gender.”

 

Timothy Savoy, B.A. in public health

Pursuing:
Master’s in public health (epidemiology)

Department placement:
Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service

What he wants to get out of being a fellow:
“As a PAF, I hope to represent GW as an ambassador for the university. Also, I want to continue my academic journey and continue to explore my career interests in public health. I hope to develop a set of professional skills that I can use in any workplace.”

Dream job:
“I would like to one day establish a nonprofit organization that deals with public health using nonprofit management techniques as well as a business strategy. The professional skills that I learn throughout the PAF program will allow me to further develop my professional interests.”

 

Cameron Smither, B.A. in political science

Pursuing:
Master’s in public policy

Department placement:
Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion

What he wants to get out of being a fellow:
“I’m most interested in developing those non-tangible leadership skills that can apply anywhere you go—long-term goal setting, learning to work with ambiguity, leading difficult conversations, navigating environments with different degrees of professionalism and expertise and developing and solidifying my own working style.”

Dream job:
“I don’t necessarily have a specific end goal, but more of an idea of how to navigate the different decisions that will come up. It’s my hope that if I make the tough decisions and follow what seems like the best avenue for making the most positive impact at the current moment—with the long term in mind—I will eventually be led to the place where I can make the most difference over the long term.”

 

Michelle Suarez, B.A. in international affairs

Pursuing:
Master’s in global communication

Department placement:
Office of the President

What she wants to get out of being a fellow:
“I hope to be able to grow professionally and academically, and get the experience I need to be a successful and effective leader in the future.”

Dream job:
“To eventually go into the Foreign Service as a public diplomacy officer.”

 

Chelsea Ullman, B.A. in sociology

Pursuing:
Master’s in public policy

Department placement:
Global Women’s Institute

What she wants to get out of being a fellow:
“I hope to grow professionally and personally. I hope that pursuing my master’s in public policy, a field in which I’m very interested, will help me get a better idea of my long-term career goals. Lastly, I hope to grow close to those around me sharing this experience.”

Dream job:
“Though I’m not entirely sure of my ultimate professional goal, I know that my career will involve elements of social justice and policy. I am very inspired by the work of Mayor Cory Booker in Newark, N.J., and am considering a career in local government.”