Professional Advancement Fellowship

In the summer of 2014, Students For Liberty launched an exciting new initiative to support pro-liberty student leaders and recent graduates who are interested in pursuing careers in liberty. SFL’s Professional Advancement Fellowship is a rigorous program designed for students and recent graduates who have both a primary understanding of the ideas of liberty and an intermediate to advanced skill level in areas such as leadership, writing, and research. The program offers a chance to develop advanced knowledge of libertarian political theory and practice, while developing a valuable network and professional skills, plus an understanding of pro-liberty career paths in management, policy, or academia. For any questions, please contact Fellowship Manager Clint Townsend at ctownsend@studentsforliberty.org.

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Fellowship Details

  • Spring 2015
  • Opening seminar virtual content
  • Dates: Early January until mid-May (negotiable)
  • Ten to fourteen week spring semester internship at DC or state-based non-profit organization
  • Weekly lectures in leadership, public speaking, management, plus intellectual and media training
  • Career development workshops with a special focus on cover letters and résumés as well as interactive interview training
  • $200 weekly stipend
  • Undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students and studying in all majors are eligible
  • Application deadline is Friday, December 5th, 2014

Placement Organizations

SFL partners with reputable pro-liberty internship programs in order to provide fellows with ten weeks of substantive, hands-on experience. Top-quality applicants have the opportunity to be placed at organizations in roles tailored to their interests and skill sets, in areas such as policy, development, operations, academic research, and student outreach. Currently, SFL is partnering with the following organizations and others will be added on a rolling basis.

  • Atlas Network
  • Cato Institute
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Freedom to Marry
  • National Taxpayers Union Foundation
  • Reason Magazine
  • Students for a Sensible Drug Policy
  • Students For Liberty
  • Tax Foundation
  • And more!

Lectures, Training, and Retreats

The fellowship begins with a three day opening retreat that will cover various topics of management, communications, operations, research (policy or academic research assistant), and leadership. Outside of working with their placement organization, fellows will have 1-2 weekly evening lectures and workshops focused on topics such as leadership, public speaking, management, and robust intellectual and media training. Furthermore, writing and publishing will be an important component of the program, and fellows will undergo training by SFL’s Young Voices initiative to improve their writing skills and boost their chance of publication. To ensure that fellows practice writing, each participant will submit two op-eds throughout the program. Fellows will be encouraged to submit their articles for publication to reputable media outlets. The program will also include professional training such as mock media and job interviews, as well as résumé and cover letter writing. Moreover, fellows will have a summer-long conceptual project that will apply what they have learned. At the closing retreat, fellows will apply their training by presenting the results of their summer projects and will receive feedback from SFL staff and top leaders of liberty in academia and think tanks.

Read about the experiences of the 2014 Summer Fellows:

“The Professional Advancement Fellowship gave me the opportunity to spend a full summer in D.C. working with top scholars in a libertarian think tank. I was able to get hands-on policy experience, attend networking events critical to my future job prospects, and learn alongside a team of impressive young libertarians. The program gave me the intellectual and professional tools necessary to feel comfortable walking into my first job after graduation and begin making a contribution on day one.” — Matthew La Corte, Hofstra University

“PAF was a growing experience for me. I was able to hone my writing and research skills, as well as develop my knowledge of libertarian history and theory. Through PAF, I learned applicable skills such as public speaking, while also being able to add value to the libertarian movement through the research I was able to help with at Cato. The networking I was able to do and experiences I had were invaluable.” — Tuck Kennedy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“The PAF Program was my first experience to the real world work environment. It showed me what life will be like after I graduate and I feel ten times more prepared to face the real world work environment then ever before. PAF has helped to prepare me and equip me to not only survive in the real world after college, but to thrive and succeed in it. PAF has given me the intellectual and professional capacity to spread liberty better than ever before. I would not be the student activist that I am today if it wasn’t for the experience I gained from PAF.” — Gannon LeBlanc, Eastern Michigan University

“Fostering professional, intellectual, and personal growth, the Professional Advancement Fellowship was the highlight of my college education thus far. The experience was invaluable, and I am both honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to work on the ground in D.C. with Drug Policy Alliance and Students For Liberty, both of which I admire greatly. Without this fellowship I would not have been able to achieve my goal of interning for liberty in D.C., and I look forward to seeing the program grow to benefit other student leaders eager to spread the ideas of liberty on their campuses and in their careers.” — Suzanne Schaefer, Indiana University 

“Participating in the Professional Advancement Fellowship was one of the best things I could have done in terms of making plans for my future. I’ve know for awhile that I want to continue working in the liberty movement, but I was never quite sure how I could fit into it. Now I feel confident not only in the direction that I am heading but in the steps to get there.” — Emily Rhorick, College of Charleston

“The Professional Advancement Fellowship was truly an amazing experience. The people I met and experience I gained has already given me multiple new opportunities in my life. Being a part of the first PAF class, I had no idea what to expect for the program. I feared that I would be doing boring intern work like filing papers and fetching coffee, but the contrary was true. Everyday I was doing significant work for the cause of liberty. This is a program that no liberty-loving student should pass up.” — John Knetemann, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

“The Professional Advancement Fellowship to date has been, without any doubt, the most valuable professional experience that I had been privileged to participate in. While my prior experiences within the liberty movement offered significant opportunities for intellectual and professional development, nothing prepared me to be a professional advocate for liberty like PAF did. Moreover, the connections that I received, both professional and personal, have proved to be invaluable to me even in the short time since PAF’s conclusion.” — Ty Hicks, Central Michigan University

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