As recent college graduates navigate a moment of historic instability in the job market, 30 accomplished young leaders have been selected for a unique opportunity to build the knowledge and skills they need for rewarding long-term careers in public service. The Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS) helps professionals early in their careers strengthen their leadership abilities, enhance their awareness of the public service arena and engage in strategic career development.
Through bi-weekly sessions over the course of seven months, fellows hear from senior officials and nonprofit executives about their own career trajectories and receive ongoing guidance from accomplished professionals who serve as career guides. Past speakers include New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and United Way’s Senior Vice President of Community Investment Jennifer Jones Austin.
Now in its fifth year, the fellowship is sponsored by the Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. It receives support both from NYU Wagner and the Altman Foundation and reflects RCLA’s broader work to developing a deep and diverse pool of public service leaders.
“At a time of serious cutbacks, many nonprofits and government agencies simply don’t have the resources to invest in structured leadership development, mentorship and career guidance opportunities that recent college graduates need to shape successful careers in public service,” said Colleen Coffey, director of FELPS. “The fellowship gives young leaders the tools to excel in their current roles while considering what contributions they want to make to tacking tough social issues over the long term.”
The fellows selected are from diverse backgrounds and have demonstrated a commitment to service, academic excellence and leadership. They work for a variety of nonprofit, government and philanthropic enterprises. This year’s class includes representatives from the offices of US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Manhattan Borough President and the New York City Department of Small Business Services, as well as the Urban Justice Center, Teach For America and the American Heart Association.
One of the most important features of the program for many fellows is the support they receive from connecting with their peers and the growing alumni network.
Mark Liu, who chairs the Fellowship Alumni Board, praised the program.
“When I joined FELPS, it was the first time that I had interacted closely with individuals in New York City from a wide variety of fields: education, environmental advocacy and social services, to name a few. Even with this diversity, I found that my peers have informed my work in health care,” Liu said. “I now have a deeper and broader understanding of the public service landscape. FELPS not only connected me with peers but also mentors who are invested in my success. Coming from a different field, my mentor was still able to provide me with concrete and specific advice for my personal and professional development. Now as an alumnus, I am proud that we are dedicated to carrying forward this same support for the new cohort of leaders.”
This year’s Fellows are:
- Nicole Bell NYC Department of Small Business Services
- Thomas Cannell NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Sean Corlett Brooklyn Democracy Academy
- Samuel Darguin Wildcat Service Corporations
- Nathaniel Frentz Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law
- Amanda Frick Fifth Avenue Committee
- Kelly James Office of US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- Samuel Johnson Teach For America
- Tanza Jones NYC Administration for Children’s Services
- Natalia Lopez United Way of New York City
- Amanda Mercep American Heart Association
- Searcy Milam Uncommon Schools
- Katherine Minster The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- Alma Moedano MDRC
- Rebekah Morris Seedco
- Jessica Mowles iMentor
- Aden Munassar DreamYard Project, Inc.
- Ly Nguyen Public Interest Projects
- Imad Olmos NYC Department of Youth & Community Development
- Rachel Pardoe MDRC
- Melissa Providence Prep for Prep
- Justin Smith Teach For America
- Beata Stein Prep for Prep
- Mariko Sugimori Everybody Wins! Foundation
- Sarata Toriola Behind the Book
- Katherine Toth Office of the Manhattan Borough President
- Maritza Trejo Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council
- Diana Urquhart Sanctuary for Families
- Rebecca Wasserman Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
- Tina Wu Urban Justice Center.