Knapp names eight as Presidential Administrative Fellows

The University announced late last week that eight graduating seniors will receive full tuition to pursue master’s degrees at GW as part of the University’s Presidential Administrative Fellowship Program.

Next year’s fellows will be Christopher Brooks, Alyscia Eisen, Ryan Evans, Frederick Jordan Evert, Gina Fernandes, Jacqueline Hackett, Sarah-Jo Lawrence and Kelly S. Leon. All eight will serve in a different GW administrative department for two years while they work toward their graduate degrees.

“They are a tremendous group of student leaders which represents the variety of diverse experiences, programs, and backgrounds which we have here at the University,” said Peter Konwerski, assistant vice president for student and academic support services, who oversees the program.

The selected seniors have held a variety of leadership roles at GW. They include a sorority president, an Atlantic-10 Student-Athlete of the Year, members of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa, a GW Cheerleaders captain, the president of the College Republicans, a member of the Elizabeth Somers Women’s Leadership program, community service group leaders, a president of a multicultural group and Colonial Cabinet members.

Competition for PAF spots has traditionally been fierce, but this year’s process was especially selective. The PAF recommendation committee had a pool of 72 applicants for only eight slots.

“We are aware that there is a very important legacy and tradition in selecting the fellows,” Konwerski said. “As a result, everyone from the individual applicants – all the way up to President Steven Knapp – takes this process very seriously.”

The process begins in November with a series of information sessions and outreach meetings for interested seniors.

The PAFs do not receive free housing, but the fellowship does include a housing stipend to help cover the cost and they are paid according to wages set by their department, Konwerski said. The PAFs usually start work the August after they graduate.

Brooks, who is enrolled in a five-year program in the Graduate School of Political Management, said the decision to apply was an easy one for him. He will be working towards a master’s in political management.

“I knew I wanted to stay in Washington, D.C.,” Brooks said. “I also love GW, and I thought PAF was a perfect way to stay in D.C., do grad school for free, and also be able to give back and contribute to GW.”

Ross D. Mankuta, a PAF in the Office of Admissions whose two-year term ends this May, said there are few downfalls to the program.

“The ability to build relationships with folks at GW has been fantastic,” Mankuta wrote in an e-mail. “As an undergraduate, sometimes those relationships are tough to form (with the administration), but as a PAF I have truly felt like an equal to the staff and faculty at GW. Staying in D.C., a place I love, has been another added benefit.”

Mankuta, who is working on his master’s in higher education administration, said he became a PAF in order to give back to the GW community.

“After four years and countless experiences at GW, I decided it was appropriate for me to give back to the place that had given me so much,” he said. “The PAF program is a great way to do that while simultaneously earning an advanced degree and gaining invaluable professional development.”

Sarah Scire contributed to this report.

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