PAF deadline nears

Seniors have less than a week to apply for a highly selective program that allows them to attend graduate school for free while working for GW.

Now in its 15th year, the Presidential Administrative Fellow program allows a small group of seniors to get their master’s degree in exchange for working part-time in a University department. In addition, PAFs receive a housing and miscellaneous stipend each month.

Prospective participants must be graduating seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applications must be turned in by Nov. 19 to Rice Hall room 403.

Students can download the necessary forms at http://gwired.gwu.edu/paf/application.

Peter Konwerski, who has directed the program since 1997, said he hopes to see a large applicant pool this year. University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg created the PAF program in 1989 as a way to reward students who had been particularly dedicated to the school.

Konwerski said a common characteristic among PAFs is a commitment to the University. Last year’s program inductees included a Hatchet editor in chief and a president of the Panhellenic Association, GW’s governing body for sororities.

“You don’t have to be a cheerleader for GW,” Konwerski said. “You just have to be willing to make a positive change for the University.”

Typically, four to five students receive the fellowship each year, though seven PAFs were chosen to participate in the program last year. Fellows cannot attend law or medical school under the program.

Although he is pleased with the program, Konwerski said there are some improvements he would like to see made.

“I’d like to see a stronger relationship with other alumni,” Konwerski said. “It would also be nice to have a little more diversity in the departments in which they work.”

PAF participants are doing a variety of jobs, from running GW’s outdoor program, TRAILS, to working on projects for the University’s Homeland Security institute.

Brett Kaplan, a current PAF and director of GW’s radio station, WRGW, said getting the fellowship was “my main goal during senior year.” Kaplan found out about the program after being approached by one of its graduates.

“Working with the fellow PAFs has been the most rewarding,” Kaplan said. “You really get the chance to learn about the University and learn about yourself.”

Working at the radio station as a PAF was not new for Kaplan, who served as its general manager as a senior.

He said working at the station as a graduate student has allowed him to expand on the duties he had as an undergraduate.

“It allows me to focus more on the responsibilities of the radio stations … on more long-term projects,” Kaplan said.

Tim Miller, director of the Student Activities Center, said having a PAF work in his office has been a big help, both to himself and the institution.

“We rely a great deal in SAC on graduate student staff, and PAFs come in with a history of the institution that others don’t,” Miller said.

Jeremiah Davis works for SAC, heading up the GW outdoors program TRAILS. Davis’ responsibilities range from teaching outdoor education courses to planning camping trips for students.

Currently, Davis is working with the University to install a rock climbing wall at the Mount Vernon Campus.

Miller, a member of the PAF selection committee, said he hopes to see more students apply to the program. On average, 75 to 85 students apply for the four to seven spots the program makes available.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.