Oregon Fellowships: Grab a Grad Student for the Summer

What If?

What if you could enlist the intelligence, fresh ideas, and energy of a really exceptional graduate student from one of the nation’s top universities to perform an analysis, complete a project, or work on a problem currently facing your organization? For about $18 an hour, we can provide you just such an individual for 10 weeks of work this coming summer.

Oregon Fellows are comprised of diverse, national-class talent. Most come from universities listed in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 ranking of America’s best graduate schools in public affairs, business, industrial engineering, information technology and other disciplines relevant to government and non-for-profit organizations.

They range in age from their early ’20s to the mid-40s (the average age of each class is typically around 26). Most have some prior work experience in government. Some hold multiple degrees. A few are even Fulbright or Ford Fellows.

All undergo a highly competitive screening process and all complete five days of training at the Hatfield School of Government as part of their preparation for the Oregon Fellowship. And, as you will see in the next section, they have worked for a large number of public sector sponsors!

Sponsor Requirements

Sponsors are expected to provide the customary office resources (assigned work space, office supplies, telephone, computer, etc.) required by any knowledge worker in their organization. In addition, they are expected to provide the following:

  • An organizational orientation to their Oregon Fellow
  • Assignment of a manager to supervise the fellow who will also…
    • Define and document the project(s) to be undertaken during the 10-week assignment,
    • Help the Fellow understand organizational culture,
    • Foster introductions to agency staff and provide other networking opportunities,
    • Provide periodic feedback and end-of-program evaluation.

Although not a requirement, the most successful fellowship experiences often involve one major assignment the Fellow can really dig into, along with 1-2 minor assignments, often in the form of a rotation to another organization in the sponsoring agency. This provides the Fellow with a broader perspective of the operation and the sponsor with several work products.

The Price of Sponsorship

Sponsoring agencies pay $8,000 and receive a carefully recruited, full-time Fellow of their choosing for 10-weeks.

June Training Institutes at the Hatfield School of Government 

Because academic calendars vary among institutions, some interns begin their assignments in May; others in June. Regardless of the start dates, the internships begin formally in early June with a kick-off event followed by a three-day training institute at the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. 

Each institute is designed to support the focus and objectives of a particular fellowship program; e.g., performance management, electronic government, sustainability, etc. National and local experts join the Hatfield School faculty in delivering each of the Institutes.

Benefits of Sponsorship

There are several potential benefits beyond the project deliverables your Fellow provides during their 10-week assignment. 

First, a substantial project begun during the summer can extend into the school year when many graduate students are required to complete a second-year project for graduation, benefiting both the sponsor and student.

Second, our internship programs give a sponsor a terrific recruiting and qualification instrument, essentially getting to know a prospective employee and their work in advance of their entry into the job market. Lastly, participation in one of our programs gives a public enterprise access to a far-reaching network of strategic sources of talent that they can easily tap over time. This could be especially attractive if your organization is facing a large talent drain in the next few years.

Third, the Fellowship provides a low cost way to evaluate prospective employees who may wish to join your organization after graduation.

Fourth, the Fellowship can also provide a very useful way to build diverse workforce comprised of national class talent.

How Do I Sign Up?

It’s really simple. Please email gbeard@pdx.edu, expressing your (non-binding) interest in possibly sponsoring one or more Oregon Fellows summer of 2010.  For more information, see our website:  www.pdx.edu/eli/fellowships.

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