Daily D highlighs new program

New Fellowship Offers Alternative to Recruiting

By Joy Chen

November 6, 2009

Dartmouth seniors hoping to work in the nonprofit sector after graduating can now look to the Dartmouth Partners and Community Service Post-Graduate Fellowship program — formatted like corporate recruiting for the public-service professions — for salary and career support. Beginning in June 2010, a group of selected alumni will work as fellows at nonprofit organizations and government agencies in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The program offers accepted students a grant of $30,000 and guaranteed health insurance while they work as fellows the year following graduation, Christopher Kendig ’10, the program’s student director, said in an interview with The Dartmouth.

“The program is an opportunity for students to not only develop their skill set, but also to gain experience in the working world, especially for those who are interested in working for the common good and in the nonprofit sector,” said Rebecca Briller, the AmeriCorps VISTA member for national and local service in the Tucker Foundation.

The program will recruit partner organizations through November 2009. A complete list of participating organizations will be compiled and posted on Dec. 15, Kendig said. He said he did not yet know how many students will receive fellowships.

“We have already got a few organizations that are willing to partner with us, but we are definitely hoping to get more,” he said.

The application deadline is early January, Kendig said.

“We review applications and conduct interviews, and we pass on the strongest applicants to interview with our partner organizations,” Kendig said.

Kendig said that the program has already generated strong interest among students, pointing to a growing BlitzMail list. Although the program was not created because of the worsening economy, Briller said the competitive job market could play a role in the amount of interest in the program.

“It might be that we had good timing, as the corporate recruiting is becoming more competitive, but I think we are addressing a need that has been long-standing among Dartmouth students,” Briller said.

The fellowship was first proposed by Dartmouth alumni, and alumni have continued to shape its structure, Kendig said.

“The organizations we partner with are recruited by alumni, and each fellow will have an alumni mentor to help with the adjustment process,” Kendig said.

Several members of the Class of 2010 interviewed by The Dartmouth said seniors are particularly interested in the program.

“I’m thinking about going to law school or grad school, but I don’t want to go straight after college, and this program might be a great opportunity for a year,” Caroline Esser ’10 said. “I think it’s really cool that the program is going to find organizations for us to work in, and that we don’t have to seek out organizations ourselves.”

As someone who has interned for nonprofit organizations during previous summers and off-terms, Esser said that the program will be a good alternative for students who do not want to pursue corporate recruiting.

Harvard University instituted a similar program, the Center for Public Interest Careers at Harvard College Fellowship and Internship Program, in 2001. Princeton University’s Princeton Project 55, which serves to provide recent graduates with opportunities working for public-service organizations, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, according to Stephanie Mirkin, the program’s manager.

The number of applicants to Princeton Project 55 has increased this year, although the number of available fellowships has decreased, Mirkin said.

“This year we actually had fewer fellows than past years, which I think might be due to the economy and its effect on our partner organizations’ ability to take in our fellows, and we are not yet sure about the numbers in the coming year,” Mirkin said.

Copyright 2009 by The Dartmouth