Governor Charlie Crist announced to Historic City News Wednesday the opening of the application process for the Gubernatorial Fellows program, providing Florida university students with firsthand, high-level experience and insight into how government operates.
This program established in 2004 and endowed by Al and Dawn Hoffman in 2005, gives college and university students around the state the unique opportunity to spend a semester working alongside state government’s top staff.
“I believe public service remains one of the greatest callings a person can follow,” said Governor Crist. “The Gubernatorial Fellows program provides a unique way for students to learn about the positive impact public service has on the lives of all Floridians.”
The program is designed to provide students who are interested in public service with the opportunity to gain experience and exposure by working in key areas of government. Gubernatorial Fellows are assigned to the Executive Office of the Governor or the Governor’s agencies, based on their major or area of concentration. Fellows will be expected to work a minimum of 20 hours per week and will be paid for their time on the job. Fellows must also meet weekly as a group to participate in a lecture series as well as additional government activities such as press conferences, budget briefings and policy briefings. Fellows will also be given the opportunity to participate in policy study trips throughout Florida and in Washington, D.C. These additional commitments are designed to broaden the Fellows’ exposure to state government and enhance the experience of all participants.
“The Florida Gubernatorial Fellowship gave me the opportunity to work at the forefront of climate change policy, an issue at the center of today’s policy concerns. This gave me a unique perspective which has added greatly to my graduate studies and provided a great opportunity to develop professional contacts within state government. It was incredible to be able to see firsthand all that is going on in the state and how it all fits together,” said Jessica Bolson, 2008 Gubernatorial Fellow with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and doctoral candidate at the University of Miami.
In addition to the time Fellows spend at their respective agencies, they also meet once a week as a group to discuss their experiences with classmates. During these meetings, they meet face-to-face with prominent leaders, including Governor Crist, Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Cabinet officers, agency heads and top government officials.
“The Gubernatorial Fellowship has been, without question, the most rewarding professional experience I have ever had. Interviewers never want to talk about anything except my many unique experiences over the course of the fellowship. The combination of learning how a state agency functions, discussing issues important to Floridians with state leaders observing how government functions on the ground, immersed me in the public sector. I know that this experience has given me a deep understanding of policy and policymaking that is unrivaled among my peers,” said Jacob Cremer, 2008 Gubernatorial Fellow at the Department of Community Affairs and second-year law student at Florida State University.
To be eligible for a Gubernatorial Fellowship, candidates should be enrolled at a Florida college or university as an upperclassman (junior or senior) or a graduate student. Approximately 12 students from around the state will be selected based on a competitive application process. The Fellowship year will follow the university calendar, starting in August 2009 and ending in May 2010.
Applicants should possess strong leadership, written and oral communication skills, community activism, and a desire to serve the people of Florida. Applications are due no later than Friday, March 20, 2009. The Governor’s Screening and Selection Committee will announce the program participants by the first week of June 2009.
For more information on the Gubernatorial Fellowship program, please visit www.myflorida.com/fellows.