PAF deadline approaches

Seniors looking for a free master’s degree and two years of housing can apply to the University’s Presidential Administrative Fellow program until Friday.

Fellows must work in a University department up to 20 hours per week. They receive a monetary stipend from the department and a monthly housing stipend, in addition to tuition and fees for up to 42 hours.

Applicants must be graduating seniors with at least 60 credit hours in residence and a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Students can pick up and submit applications in the Student Activities Center on the fourth floor of the Marvin Center.

Current fellows are involved in various aspects of the University such as basketball promotion, giving input on the alternative academic calendar and helping market graduate programs, said Laura Taddeucci Downs, SAC executive director.

Downs said she expects 90 to 100 applications this year. Last year about 80 students applied for the fellowship.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for students to go to graduate school for free and to give back to the University,” she said.

Officials said SAC placed advertisements, sent out e-mails to faculty and students and held four information sessions the last week of October and the first week of November.

Several current PAFs said they have enjoyed their experiences.

Lindsey Davidson, a first-year PAF, is earning a master’s degree in tourism administration with a concentration in sports management. She also works to improve GW’s recreational and intramural sports.

Davidson, who attended GW as an undergraduate, said her fellowship allows her to see the University from a different perspective.

“As a PAF fellow, your point of view of the University changes,” she said. “You don’t see it only as an institution taking your money; of it becomes an institution where learning, educating and research is taking place.”

Candidates applying to the law and medical schools are not eligible to participate because they would not be able to work the required 20 hours per week, said Peter Konwerski, special assistant to the senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services.

Four administrators and a current fellow will interview applicants who meet the initial criteria in the first week of December, said Downs, adding that the group will select 30 percent of applicants to move on to the second round of interviews.

During the second round, applicants will be evaluated on how well they think they can represent the University and on their long-term career goals.

The committee will then recommend about five students to Senior Vice President of SASS Robert Chernak and University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who have the final say on who receives the fellowships. Three to five students will be chosen for the program.

Josh Schimmerling, a senior applying for the fellowship, described the application process, saying,”It’s nerve-racking when so many higher up people are in the room and they are going to decide if you’re going to go to grad school for free or not.”

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