Policy Fellows Program

Policy Fellows in DC

The Policy Fellows program is one of the country’s most respected public affairs leadership experiences for emerging and mid-career professionals. The nine-month program is unmatched in its interaction with public officials, leadership training, diversity of participants and perspectives, and opportunity to undertake important projects that benefit the wider community.

Policy Fellows challenge themselves. They demonstrate leadership in their work and community activities, and exhibit initiative, curiosity, openness to new ideas and concepts, and problem-solving skills. Each year, approximately 35 leaders from government, business/industry, and nonprofit organizations from around the state are selected through a competitive application process. Fellows from the Twin Cities area and across greater Minnesota come together as a cohort once a month and travel together to Washington, DC, for a multi-day study trip. View a sample curriculum. 

The program is directed by Professor Larry Jacobs and assistant director Kate Cimino. 

As a Policy Fellow, you will: 

  • Build specific leadership competencies through in-depth workshops; gain tools and skills to bring back to your organization.
  • Forge a strong connection to talented, diverse up-and-coming leaders from across Minnesota’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors and across the political spectrum.
  • Develop an understanding of policy as a broad concept, inclusive of many efforts to drive change or action in our communities, industries, and organizations.
  • Gain insight into how the system of policymaking and agenda-setting works, and how you can affect change within in the system.
  • Gain access to well-known leaders in Minnesota and Washington, DC, including issue experts, policymakers, media, analysts, and other influential figures. Our DC visit has included private meetings at the White House, Capitol Hill, Bloomberg News, Council on Foreign Relations, National Press Club, and Pew Charitable Trusts.
  • Join one of the most prominent and influential public affairs networks in Minnesota—Founded by Vice President Walter F. Mondale and Ambassador Geri Joseph, co-directed by former Congressmen Vin Weber and Tim Penny for a dozen years, the program boasts nearly 800 alumni. 
  • Represent your organization’s brand to new and diverse audiences—become a link to your organization and your industry that others can trust.
  • Find allies who are similarly passionate or concerned about issues of importance to you.
  • Build the ability to see and understand other viewpoints and bring that competency back to your work. Be the one who is able to say “have we considered this from another angle?”
  • Refresh and renew through time away from work demands; come back to work energized and motivated.
  • Start to discern what might be next for you, professionally and personally.