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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SFS Graduate Students Rank First in Presidential Management Fellows Program

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, a prestigious nationwide fellowship offered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, announced that 37 Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (SFS) graduate students had been selected as finalists Feb. 8.

Founded in 1977, the PMF is a highly competitive government-run leadership development program open to graduate students across the United States. The program is meant to instill a passion for public service in future government leaders from diverse backgrounds and walks of life.

Individuals accepted as finalists can be matched with a variety of government jobs ranging from analysts to investigators and managers for a two-year salaried fellowship. 

Sarah Iskander (MSFS ’24), a graduate student selected as a finalist, said that the PMF helped her take an important first step toward finding a career in the federal government.

“I met mentors in the government who told me that if you want to work in the federal government, the PMF is the way to go,” Iskander told The Hoya. “It’s one of the most prestigious government fellowships in the nation.”

According to its website, the PMF program received 7,193 applicants from institutions across the United States in 2024. Of those, only 825 were chosen as finalists. With over sixty individuals selected, Georgetown University comprises the highest number of finalists out of any educational institution. It is also a record high for the SFS with 37 selected students. 

Elizabeth Boesen, a Georgetown career advisor who works closely with various fellowships, said she considers PMF to be the most major graduate student program she works with and helps students with their applications.

“I started at Georgetown around ten years ago and have really tried to build out contacts with PMFs and built up resources like worksheets on how to answer the interview questions,” Boesen said.

Boesen also acknowledged that the PMF application process is hard to decipher at times and that preparation can only go so far.

“The PMF process is kind of elusive and not transparent, so at the end of the day it’s sometimes confusing why some people are in and some people are not,” Boesen said.

Boesen added that she considers one of the greatest benefits for finalists to be the leadership development that PMF can provide.

“It’s leadership development, and it’s a kind of exposure and a vote of confidence that you have potential as a leader. That’s what they’re looking for in the assessment,” Boesen said.

Applicants to the PMF faced a two-stage interview process. The PMF first hosted an online questionnaire to determine the semifinalists, which was followed by a phone interview. The finalists were chosen based on their resumes and responses to questions.

Iskander credited Georgetown and the high caliber of student culture with the success of the 37 SFS finalists.

“It definitely validated my decision to come to Georgetown, but it’s a testament to the caliber of students here and our commitment to public service,” Iskander said.

Dahlia Peterson (SSP ’22), another student chosen as a finalist, said many of the application questions are based on realistic scenarios one might find in the workplace. She also said that the interview is completely blind to encourage diversity in hiring.

“You are not allowed to say your name or where you went to school, so they don’t introduce any biases into the process,” Peterson told The Hoya. 

Sarah Nevin, another Georgetown PMF finalist, agreed that the PMF selects diverse applicants, giving each person an opportunity to demonstrate their unique skills and interests.

“For something like this, it’s cool because of the 800 people that were selected as finalists, not everyone has the same interests as you. You and I could probably have different interests, and you might not apply for a civil engineering position, but maybe I would,” Nevin said to The Hoya. “They’ve done a good job at diversifying the kind of applicants they want.” 

Peterson said the fellowship is an impactful way for young professionals to make a difference in both policy and governmental fields.

“If you have a drive to serve in government and you want to help lead and shape how policy is made, or just in general to serve your country, I’d highly encourage you to apply,” Peterson said.

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    AvaFeb 24, 2024 at 3:27 pm