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The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

16 Undergrads Join Pelosi Scholars Cohort


On Nov. 21, the Paul F. Pelosi Scholars Initiative (PSI) announced its 2024 cohort of 16 Georgetown University students, its largest to date.

Since 2019, the PSI has selected annually a group of sophomores and juniors in the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) who demonstrate an interest in public service. The program seeks to assist Pelosi Scholars with professional development by offering training, mentorship and a stipend of up to $6,500 to pursue a full-time summer internship in the field of public service. The program also connects scholars with a large professional network of current public servants, career development experts and past Pelosi Scholars. 

Elizabeth Boesen, the director of PSI, said she hopes the scholars will benefit from the nine-month program’s offerings and leave the experience with a greater understanding of and passion for public service.

“We hope that they come out of the program having gained a lot of practical knowledge about public service, hearing from actual practitioners, experiencing a public service internship and continually formulating and homing in on how they would like to make a positive difference and work for the common good through their own career,” Boesen told The Hoya.

According to Boesen, the initiative has thus far been successful in this objective, with over 80% of Pelosi Scholars going on to enter public service, which includes government fields like domestic politics and foreign affairs.

The 2024 cohort is composed of students with a wide range of diverse experiences across many academic disciplines.

Georgetown University School of Foreign Service | The Paul F. Pelosi Scholars Initiative announced its cohort of 16 Georgetown University students interested in public service, the
program’s largest to date.

Nick Voltaggio (SFS ‘25), a 2024 Scholar majoring in International Political Economy (IPEC), has served for two semesters as a site coordinator for DC Reads, a literacy volunteering program that works with elementary school students and encourages enthusiasm for reading. 

Voltaggio said his experience working with under-resourced communities through DC Reads primarily sparked his interest in public service.

“I’d say that really solidified for me the passion for public service and contributing to the broader community. And I think it’s very much in line with Georgetown’s stated values of Hoyas for others,” Voltaggio told The Hoya. “But I think being here, being at Georgetown really gave me a framework to think about putting those values and belief in serving others and serving the common good into action.”

Voltaggio said he looks forward to interacting with other students passionate about public service and values the program’s tight-knit cohort.

“There are other students in the program who are interested in a wide variety of sectors of public service. So getting to work with them, discuss passions, learn from them, while also having institutional support to be put in contact with the career opportunities in that space, I think it’s really attractive for me and it’s not something you get through many other programs,” Voltaggio said. “I think that’s really what sets it apart: having that small cohort to exchange ideas with, to exchange experiences with.”

Fellow cohort member Bennie Chang (SFS ‘26), a regional and comparative studies (RCST) major, has a strong interest in international affairs, particularly U.S.-China relations.

Chang said he is grateful for the PSI’s unique focus on public service.

“I think that it’s very necessary, especially at Georgetown, that there’s a scholarship that provides for students interested in public service, because there’s such a big emphasis at Georgetown about the private sector,” Chang told The Hoya. “And I think that’s very reasonable, but I think there should also be support for students that may not be interested in that, and I think that the Pelosi Scholars program fills that niche.”

Harnoor Sachar (SFS ‘26), another Scholar and a Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) major, is primarily interested in public and global health. Sachar said her interest in public service originally stems from research she completed on alcohol addiction in marginalized communities, and she added that she hopes to continue exploring the public health sphere through a public service internship next summer.

“I think I’m one of the only Pelosi Scholars in this cohort to be focusing on health, but I want to maintain that,” Sachar told The Hoya. “I think it would be really cool to get to do something with either the NIH or even at Georgetown with the Center for Global Science and Security.”

Boesen said the program expands upon the mission of the SFS and the greater Georgetown community. 

“The SFS was started as a school of service, and the Georgetown community at large is really encouraging students to serve the global common good. And that is something that inherently Pelosi Scholars are wanting to do,” Boesen said.

“We are here to help support them with coaching and career advice, with funding for under and unpaid internships, and with great opportunities to meet actual people who have gone before,” she added.

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