Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program


This FAQ page contains answers to some of the general questions you may have if you are applying in the fall of 2023 to become a 2024 Brandeis Segal Fellow. If you do not see your question below, please check out the Application Policies and Guidelines Packet (to be posted by early September; reference version from last year is here) and then contact Susanna Flug-Silva (flugsilva@brandeis.edu or 781-736-3933) or Carmela Belizaire (carmelajmb@brandeis.edu). New questions and answers may be added to this page. 

Ideal Candidate/Eligibility

Citizen Leader Summer Internships

Engagement in the Segal Program


Other Required Materials


Questions About Applying

Ideal Candidate/Eligibility

Do you only choose those who are AmeriCorps Alums or want to work in a nonprofit or politics?

No, our ideal candidate is someone who is passionate about making a difference, being a Citizen Leader and becoming part of a community where they will grow and contribute. Our aim is to have Segal Fellows in all sectors, topic areas, and locations actively engaged in addressing societal problems in their professional and/or personal lives. It is the diversity of experience and interest that will allow us to support one another in positive change.

Can I be an international student and apply to this Program?

Yes, it is not a requirement to be a U.S. Citizen. However, you must be a Brandeis sophomore, junior, or 4+1 Senior (i.e. enrolled as a student for the upcoming fall semester) or a Heller MPP student (or dual MPP). We will ask you how you plan to stay engaged with the Segal Network if you choose to move back home after completing your degree at Brandeis.

Will I be discounted as a poor candidate if my GPA or transcript does not have straight A’s?

No, we ask for your transcript to see not just your grades but also the classes you chose to take. If you have struggled, we look to see if there was improvement. We may ask you about your grades but it is not our primary point for determining our Segal Fellows.

I am a COEX, SID, MS, MBA student. Can I apply to be a Segal Fellow?

Apart from undergraduate students, the only Brandeis students who are eligible to apply are those who are also Master in Public Policy (MPP) candidates. You may be dual enrolled candidates. We primarily ask for first year MPP students because they have the summer available for a full-time internship, but as long as you have already started taking MPP classes, will be a student next fall, and have the time to pursue a full-time internship over the summer, MPP students can apply. If you are not an MPP student, we invite you to connect with the Program and Program staff in other ways.

I am abroad now or will be abroad winter/spring. Can I still apply?

You are still eligible, even if you are abroad (or studying virtually off campus). For those who are abroad currently, you may be unable to attend some information sessions or tips sessions, but we recommend that you reach out to current Segal Fellows to learn more. For those that will be abroad or studying virtually in spring or fall, you will be required to partake virtually in Segal cohort meetings and activities and may have to accommodate off hours, due to time zone differences.

Citizen Leader Summer Internships

Why do you highlight placing students in only Boston, D.C., and New York? Can I be placed anywhere?

These are locations we call “Segal hubs” because there is a high concentration of Segal Network members in those areas. While there are some advantages to placing Segal Fellows where they will be supported in their internships by members of the Network beyond their Segal Buddy and Staff, we place students with a domestic internship wherever they would like to go. If circumstances continue that make in-person internships unsafe, then virtual internship opportunities will be given.

What if I want to complete my internship in another location?

We will work with every Segal Fellow individually to find the right fit in their placement both in terms of the organization and location. We do allow Segal Fellows to work in other locations throughout the U.S. but note that there will be little to no Segal Network activity in that area. If circumstances continue that make in-person internships unsafe, then virtual internship opportunities will be given.

Can I do my internship internationally?

No, as of now, we only place Segal Fellows in domestic internships. There have been Segal Fellows who have worked on international topics within the U.S.

What if I apply to other internships or Fellowships and get one before I find out about becoming a Segal Fellow?

We encourage you to keep all your options open for the summer and apply for everything that interests you. While you cannot concurrently accept some Fellowships (see below), if you are selected and offered a position as a Segal Fellow, we will work with you to try to make multiple opportunities fit, if possible. The Segal Summer Internship placement process is a joint process between the Segal Fellow and the Segal Program. If you have an early 2021 deadline for an internship placement of interest to you, please let the Segal Staff know as soon as you are selected as a Segal Fellow to talk about next steps.

Should I consider where I would like to be placed for my internship?

Yes, we will help you think about internship placements over the spring semester, but you should be brainstorming organizations (or at least the types of organizations) where you would like to intern as you are applying to become a Segal Fellow.

Can I apply for Sillerman, WOW, Rappaport or other internship/fellowship opportunities?

Yes, we encourage you to keep your options open by applying to the Programs that interest you. You will be notified about your candidacy as a Segal Fellow with enough time to apply to these other programs. However, there are some Fellowships where we do not allow you to accept more than one of these at a given time to free up opportunities for other students. For example, you may not be a new Segal Fellow and use a WOW in the same summer and accept both positions concurrently. You may not be a new Segal Fellow and Sillerman Fellow and have both summer internships concurrently.

Engagement in the Segal Program

How often will I be expected to engage in the Segal Program as a New Segal Fellow?

During your first year, there will be approximately 8 winter/spring and 3-4 fall mandatory trainings/meetings and 2 or more programs that Segal Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend between January and November of the coming year. If the cohort can only find a common 1-hour time block, then winter/spring meetings will be weekly, instead of bi-weekly (and more frequent than 7 times). These include internship trainings, an orientation, meeting members of the Segal Network and attending Segal Program events. After the first year, lifelong engagement with the Program continues, with some Fellows participating in one or more activities a month, and some Fellows participating in 3 or 4 activities per year.

What does it entail to be an active Segal Fellow?

Segal Fellows engage in the opportunities provided by the Segal Program. This includes attending activities to grow themselves as Citizen Leaders, providing feedback and solutions to help the Segal Program improve, supporting members of the Segal Network in their work and taking leadership roles when they are offered to grow our capabilities as a Program and Citizen Leaders.

What types of events and meetings will I attend?

We will have opportunities to meet members of the Network in both formal and informal ways. Sometimes it may be through someone coming to lead a Citizen Leadership development training, at a Network Reception, at our Bi-Annual Segal Fellow Retreat, when getting to know and learn from those in your cohort and much more. Check out our Events Page for examples.


What are the references used for?

We use the written and Heller Faculty/Staff references to determine if we will ask you to move on in the selections process via an interview. If you are asked to come for an interview, a member of the Selections Committee may contact some or all of your additional Citizen Leader References (i.e. “verbal reference”) to learn more about who you are as a Citizen Leader beyond the written documents.

Can I use the same people as my written and verbal references?

No, you should choose different people for all reference slots. A few may come from the same organization, but we ask you to try to be as diverse as possible in the range of people who will speak to your candidacy.

Does it matter whom I ask to be a written reference rather than a verbal one?

Yes, the written reference(s)/Heller Faculty/Staff reference notes will be reviewed by the entire Selections Committee. So, for these you should choose people who write well and can describe you, your qualities and achievements. The verbal references may only be contacted for those candidates who move on to the second round of the selections process and for whom we are seeking additional information.

Do you contact anyone else besides my references?

Sometimes, if someone on the Selections Committee recognizes a person/organization from your resume or other materials, we may reach out to them to see if they can offer a further assessment on your candidacy.

I recently transferred to Brandeis. Can I ask a Staff/Faculty member from my previous school to write me a letter of recommendation?

Yes, you may ask someone from a past institution that you have attended within the last 3 years. However, we suggest that you have at least one Brandeis-based reference within your five options.

I’m a Heller student – do I have to get a written letter from my Heller Staff/Faculty reference?

No, we will be scheduling in-person meetings with all those noted as the Heller Staff/Faculty references to discuss your candidacy. You must still ask them to speak to your candidacy and you can note them on the Citizen Leader Reference Form (see website).

Other Required Materials

Do I have to provide an official transcript?

No, you can print out a copy of your transcript from SAGE or request an unofficial transcript from the Registrar’s office.

For undergraduates, you ask for a transcript through Fall, but I don’t have my grades yet.

We only ask to see the list of classes you are taking this fall. We do not expect to see grades for any full-semester classes yet.

For MPPs, do I need to provide a transcript?

You should provide the most information you currently have. For many, this will only be a list of the classes you are currently taking. However, some students will have module grades or be in dual-degrees where they have received Heller grades in prior years. If you are not a first-year Heller student, please include your transcript from prior Heller semesters.

Can I submit the PDF version of the online application (with short answer questions) instead of doing it online?

No, we ask for you to only use the PDF version to preview the application and plan your answers. We require that the application be submitted online (plus letters of reference).

Can I submit a two-paged resume?

Yes, you may have a resume that fits your past experience. We do ask that they are no more than two pages. Applicants should be cautious not to put additional information on a resume just to make it longer, but only use the necessary amount commensurate to experience.


How many students do you interview?

Typically, we interview approximately 10 students.

What style of interview do you use?

We have individual interviews that take place as a conversation with the whole Selections Committee for approximately forty-five minutes on the interview day.

Will you tell us who is on the Selections Committee?

Yes, when you are invited for an interview we will share the list of those on the Committee for your reference.

Questions About Applying

What are some general application tips?

This application process is unlike most others you have done before. We are looking to get to know each applicant as a person rather than solely a list of accomplishments. What makes you unique? Why are you passionate about the topics you are speaking about in your application? Why Segal rather than WoW or another fellowship? The Selections Committee uses the application as an opportunity to get to know each applicant, their story, passions, accomplishments and drive. It's likely that, if you truly take a personal take on this application you may feel a bit vulnerable - good! We don't want to re-read your resume, but get to know you. What makes this program unique is that all our Fellows have a similar basis as people - someone who cares, empowers others and realizes there are aspects of society that need to change and they want to be part of that change! Fellows are diverse in much more than race, but in experience, backgrounds, passion areas, age, religion, hometown etc. etc. and we come together because of that basic belief in making a difference. In your application, help us see those parts of you only visible after peeling back a few layers. This does not mean you should ignore showcasing your accomplishments, but help us understand how they are unique to you as a person and Citizen Leader. The Selections Committee is inspired by your stories, make sure to share them and help yourself stand out by being true to who you are throughout the application rather than writing what you think we'd like to hear.

For the question about a social issue or movement you've worked on, what kind of scale is appropriate?

The scale is dependent on your experiences. It's fine to talk about work you've done on campus, even when it doesn't feel like it was combating world hunger. However, help us make the connection to how that project, event, club, action was part of a larger ripple towards making a difference to a social movement or issue.

Is it okay if I will have to do my interview virtually?

Yes, we are happy to accommodate those that will be abroad or studying elsewhere virtually when we hold interviews. We recommend that you do a practice interview with a friend, colleague or mentor to get used to conveying your thoughts powerfully over a screen. In the past, it can be difficult to do this well, and we believe practicing online to mimic the actual experience is helpful.

Is there anything else I can read to learn about the scope of the Segal Program?

Yes, we recommend that you review the full Guidelines packet, on the last page we list the Core Competencies for a Citizen Leader. This will be a helpful lens to consider when you are evaluating your own capabilities as a Citizen Leader. Additionally, on the website you will have access to other information about the Segal Program.

Does it impact your application if you are re-applying from a previous year?

No, in fact, we recommend noting somewhere in your application that you are reapplying. This shows us your dedication and desire to be part of the Program. We are only able to choose 6 people each year, and we hope that those passionate about becoming Segal Fellows do come back. It is helpful to consider how you've grown in the past year and why. We do not recommend using the same exact letters of recommendation as that will not showcase the new experiences you have had since the last time you applied. If it's the same person writing, remind them what's been new and ask them to be sure to include some of that in their new letter.

How do I submit my resume, transcript and reference list?

These are submitted via the online application, so make sure that your attachments are complete before beginning your application online.