Six High-Achieving Seniors Named 2015 Presidential Administrative Fellows

Fellows pursue GW graduate degree of their choice while gaining professional experience in a university department.

2015-17 class of Presidential Administrative Fellows (l-r) Max Tingle, Katherine Wynne, Zinhle Essamuah, Marcus Andrews, Angela Sako, Alec Nadeau.
May 13, 2015

By Brittney Dunkins

The George Washington University announced Wednesday the six exemplary students selected for the Presidential Administrative Fellows (PAF) program.

Seniors Marcus Andrews, Zinhle Essamuah, Alec Nadeau, Angela Sako, Maxwell Tingle and Katherine Wynne were chosen for the two-year academic and professional development program based on their academic performance, leadership abilities and demonstration of hard work toward their career goals.

The PAF program is entering its 26th year.

“This incredibly talented group of seniors have distinguished themselves in and out of the classroom,” said Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs and PAF Administrative Advisor Peter Konwerski. “We know that they will continue the PAF legacy of academic excellence, professionalism and service to campus and community during their tenure as GW PAFs.”

The fellows receive a tuition stipend toward 42 credits of the GW graduate degree program of their choice and gain career experience while working in a university school or administrative department.

The 2014-15 academic year marked the 25th anniversary of the program, which began in 1989 with the first PAF, John David Morris, B.A. ’90, M.P.A. ’93. Since its founding, the program has grown to include professional development and leadership workshops, networking events with PAF alumni and service projects.

“The PAF program prioritizes academic achievement, professional development and leadership and service to the university and community,” said Executive Director of Planning and Outreach and PAF Program Director Robert Snyder. “Faculty and staff members on the PAF advising team are honored to support the fellows in achieving their goals in all three areas.”

Mr. Snyder added that a deep commitment to service is a hallmark of the PAF program.

To that end, current and alumni fellows worked on behalf of military support organization Operation Gratitude and the Ronald McDonald House March 28 for the PAF Alumni Day of Service.

More than half of the 117 PAF alumni continue to engage in the program and the university by offering guidance to fellows and participating in activities such as the Board of Trustees, GW Alumni Association, and other advisory groups, according to Mr. Snyder.

PAF Kelsey Johnston is entering the second year of the program and pursuing an M.A. in the museum studies program while working with GW Media Relations.  She will join the staff of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum for her PAF placement during the upcoming academic year.

Ms. Johnston said that the most rewarding part of the PAF experience has been the “informal learning opportunities” provided by fellows and alumni with diverse interests and backgrounds.

“I’ve learned a lot outside of my graduate program and placement from other fellows and alumni, which I think is the greatest strength of the program,” Ms. Johnston said. “I’ve learned about higher education, sustainability or other industries that have unexpected connections to my field, and the PAF program opened the doors to that knowledge.”

Below, the new PAFs reflect on their inspirations and goals:


Marcus Andrews

Marcus Andrews
B.A. Sociology, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Pursuing: M.P.H., Milken Institute School of Public Health
Dream job: My dream job combines my interest in community health, culinary arts, public speaking and mentorship. It would allow me to work with communities, researchers and institutions to design and implement culturally sensitive health promotion campaigns to reduce minority health disparities.
Person you admire most: It's really hard for me to pinpoint one person. Instead, I admire my "village.” My village is the family members, friends, church members and other colleagues with strength, courage and passion who have helped in my maturation.



Zinhle Essamuah

Zinhle Essamuah
B.A. Journalism and Mass Communication, School of Media and Public Affairs
Pursuing: M.A., School of Media and Public Affairs
Most surprising part of your GW experience: I sang at the White House with my a cappella group, interned at CNN during the midterm elections, performed a monologue at the Swedish Embassy and created a documentary as my final academic project. I knew coming in that GW's slogan was "something happens here," but I didn't truly understand what that meant until I experienced GW fully.
Describe what it means to be a PAF in three words: People. Place. Passion. People, because GW has become home to me, and as a PAF, I will remain with my GW family and continue learning from a diverse community. Place, because as a PAF, I will contribute to GW and challenge the university to foster a stronger community for all students. Passion, because the PAF program brings together six students with a variety of interests who are united by our love of the school and the people in it. 


Alec Nadeau

Alec Nadeau
B.A. Political Science, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Pursuing:  M.P.A., Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration
Words to live by: I firmly believe that there is something to be learned from every person you meet, every situation you are in and everything you do. With this in mind, it is hard for me to feel that my time is ever being wasted, which allows me to fully appreciate my experiences.
Goals as a PAF: I see the PAF program as an amazing opportunity to make an impact on the undergraduate experience at GW. I aspire to grow as an academic and professional, but I am most looking forward to improving some aspect of student life at GW for those who will come after me.



Angela Sako

Angela Sako
B.A. International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
Pursuing: M.P.P., Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration
Dream job: In my home country of Albania, there aren’t many organizations that serve as a support group for patients and families affected by various illnesses. My dream job is to manage my own nonprofit in Albania with a focus on providing assistance to patients and families affected by cancer and lobbying for a patient-focused health care system.
Words to live by: While my father worked for the Albanian Embassy in Rome, my family developed a close friendship with Mother Teresa. Some of the words of wisdom that she imparted to my parents served as the guiding principles that they used while raising my sister and me. One such line comes from Mother Teresa’s poem “Life.” It says, “Life is a promise, fulfill it.” It means that in life we are presented with many opportunities and life is filled with promises. But it is up to us to take advantage of those opportunities. We also make promises to those within our circle that help us set goals that we must work hard toward fulfilling.


Maxwell “Max” Tingle

Maxwell “Max” Tingle
B.B.A. International Business, School of Business
Pursuing: M.P.A., Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration
Person you admire most: I admire both of my parents equally. I do not know where I would be and who I would be without them.
Most surprising part of your GW experience: Interning for the White House was one of my more exciting experiences as an undergraduate. At the White House, I was part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy legislative affairs team, which dealt with efforts in response to prescription drug abuse and marijuana legalization in D.C. and nationally. It was memorable because I worked with seasoned professionals on some of the most prevalent issues in drug control policy. 


Katherine “Katie” Paz Wynne

Katherine “Katie” Paz Wynne
B.A. International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
Pursuing: M.P.S., Graduate School of Political Management
Dream job: I would love to work on governmental relations and public policy for a large NGO that promotes the well-being and empowerment of women and girls. I have believed in working within a system to make positive, lasting change. My undergraduate women’s studies courses inspired me to pursue a career where I could work on equality issues on a large scale.
Goal as a PAF: I want to deepen my connection with the GW community while growing my professional skills and interests. When I am a part of a community, I like to be deeply involved in it and working at GW as a graduate student and alumna will allow me to strengthen my understanding of the university and my bond with it. I especially look forward to being mentored and mentoring other PAFs.