Five Heller Students Awarded Prestigious Federal Fellowships

April 29, 2013

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University is pleased to recognize five degree candidates for their selection this spring as finalists for prestigious federal fellowships: The Presidential Management Fellowship (Ariella Camera), the Fulbright Fellowship (Abigail Rothberg) and the Boren Fellowship (Cameron Asam, Emily McCready and Kristen Whited). A sixth student, Jessica Friedman, is currently an alternate for the Boren Fellowship.

The Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) is a 2-year leadership development opportunity in the federal government. Begun in 1977, the program places approximately 300 fellows each year in up to 50 agencies across the federal government. In addition to providing six month job rotations, exceptional training opportunities and access to a cadre of highly-placed government officials, the PMF is a career spring-board, accelerating Fellows from entry-level to middle management positions in just two years.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and is sponsored by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  Approximately 318,000 "Fulbrighters," 120,000 from the United States and 198,000 from other countries, have participated in the program since its inception over sixty years ago. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 new grants annually.  Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

The Boren Awards provide up to $30,000 to U.S. graduate students to add an important international and language component to their graduate education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency. Boren Fellowships support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests. Boren Fellowships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security.


Ariella is one of 650 finalists chosen from a national field of 12,000 graduate degree holders. A master’s degree candidate in the Heller School’s Sustainable International Development Program, she completed her six-month practicum requirement at the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality, where she worked on a national quality improvement newborn hearing screening collaborative. This May she will be presenting on the Health and Development Capstone Panel and will be focusing on how to use quality improvement to strengthen the newborn hearing screening and follow-up system in the United States.

FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR: Abigail Rothberg (MA SID/MBA ’14) (Finalist) – Sri Lanka

Abigail is a dual degree candidate in the Heller School’s Sustainable International/MBA Program, and is finishing her second year of study. With a focus on Human Rights and Violence Against Women, Abigail has designed a project in partnership with the International Centre for Ethnic Studies that will explore NGO intervention strategies for combatting violence against women in Sri Lanka.

BOREN FELLOW: Cameron Asam (MA SID  ’14) (Finalist) – Indonesia

Cameron is just completing his first year in the Heller School’s Sustainable International Development Program, and will use his Boren fellowship to fund a ten-month practicum in Indonesia, where he will study the Bahasa Indonesian language and will intern for Mercy Corps.  His focus will be on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

BOREN FELLOW: Emily McCready (SID/COEX ’14) (Finalist) – Jordan

Emily, a dual degree master's candidate in the Sustainable International Development Program and the Coexistence and Conflict Program, will travel to Jordan where she will learn Modern Standard Arabic and immerse herself in the Arab culture.  Her goal is to focus on the current Syrian refugee crisis, in particular, access to protection and education for refugee children.

BOREN FELLOW: Kristen Whited (MPP/MBA ’14) (Finalist) – South Korea

Kristen, a dual degree candidate in the Heller School’s MPP/MBA Program, will use her Boren Fellowship to return to South Korea for a year of language study at Sogang University in Seoul. She wishes to use her enhanced language skills to engage with North Korean refugees in hopes of informing a more nuanced approach to foreign policy in the region.

BOREN FELLOW: Jessica Friedman (MA SID ’14) (Alternate) – The Philippines

Jessica, a first-year master's candidate in the Sustainable International Development Program, hopes to be awarded the Boren Fellowship to return to the Philippines for an eight-month stay to further develop her Tagalog language skills, perform community development, and work with the child-focused international organization Plan International in a project related to girls' education.

About the Heller School

Since its founding in 1959 as Brandeis University’s first professional school, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management has been committed to developing new knowledge in the field of social policy and nonprofit management. Dedicated to the principle of “knowledge advancing social justice,” the Heller School is consistently ranked among the top U.S. graduate schools of social policy by U.S. News and World Report.

The school grants six degrees: a PhD in social policy, a master’s of public policy, an MBA in nonprofit management, an MA in sustainable international development, an MS in international health policy and management, and an MA in coexistence and conflict. The school also offers several dual and joint degrees with internal and external partners.

The degree programs are complemented by nine leading research institutes and centers in health; children, youth and families; disability policy; philanthropy; and assets and social policy.