Knapp selects seven for prestigious presidential fellowship

Seven graduating seniors have been selected as the newest batch of Presidential Administrative Fellows – student leaders who receive free graduate school tuition in exchange for working for the University.

The 22nd class of fellows include Elizabeth Barnett, Paul Biba, Jordan Chaffin, Jessi Mann, Rob Maxim, Eric Thibault and Taylor Tibbetts.

Founded in 1989 by former University President Stephen Trachtenberg, the Presidential Administrative Fellows program aids high-achieving seniors in their pursuits of master’s degrees from GW.?In return, the students serve as ambassadors for the GW community and work for different departments across the University.

Competition for program spots has traditionally been fierce, but this year’s process was especially selective because of an increased GPA requirement.

Thibault, who is pursuing a master’s in public administration from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, said he feels honored to be selected for the fellowship.

“The PAF program is a great fit for me because it allows me to continue serving a university that has given me countless opportunities through my academic program and financial aid,” Thibault said. “But it allows me to pursue a job placement and degree that will further advance my career aspirations.”

As an undergraduate, Thibault majored in political communication. He was heavily involved in the University’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations, working as a manager for the division’s call program. He also served as the senior class gift coordinator for the Class of 2011.

Though he has not decided which University department he will work for next year, Thibault said he is considering the department that employed him as an undergraduate, among others.

“PAF is a great opportunity to give back to the University that has given me so much…and to work in a department that will have something to do with what I want to do in the future,” Thibault said.

Thibault’s current concentration is in government contracting. He said he hopes to eventually work with corporations and foundations through this field.

The fellowship does include a housing stipend to help defray the cost. Fellows are also paid wages set by their departments and usually begin working the August following graduation.

This article was updated May 9, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported Eric Thibault would be the 2013 senior class gift coordinator. He served in the post for the Class of 2011.

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