The Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship offers emerging young leaders the skills and networks needed to create the community they envision and jumpstart a career in public service. In our #FellowFriday weekly blog series, hear from members of the 2016-17 Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship cohort about their year-long experience working and living in Cleveland.
College: Howard University (MA) and Notre Dame College (BA)
Hometown: Twinsburg, OH
Fellowship Host Site: Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority
Why did you initially decide to participate in this fellowship?
I initially decided to participate in the fellowship because I really wanted to work for the government. My master’s degree focused on public policy, and I interned for the federal government in DC. I figured I could merge my love for Cleveland with my attraction to the public sector and create that brainchild through my fellowship.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your fellowship experience?
The most valuable aspect of my fellowship experience has been getting involved with civic leadership in the city. I gained insight into how decisions are made, and more importantly, I got to meet and work alongside some of the people who make high-level decisions that impact the region.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your fellowship experience?
The most challenging aspect of the fellowship was time management. I love Cleveland, and the city has a ton of organizations and clubs that intersect with public service. That said, I found myself being spread too thin at certain points throughout the fellowship, because I could not say no to certain projects.
What’s your favorite Cleveland restaurant, and what dish do you recommend there?
This is probably the toughest question; however, I would have to recommend Zanzibar Soul Fusion in Shaker Square. It offers a variety of foods that I grew up eating, and every time I go there I leave happy.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
My favorite public space in Cleveland would have to be Edgewater Park. I think the space is beautiful, and it has transformed into a very inclusive space that represents Cleveland’s diversity.
How has this fellowship affected your career plans?
This fellowship has altered my career plans significantly. At the start of my fellowship, I was interviewing with the State Department to become a Foreign Service Officer. During what would have been my final interview, I also had an event going on in Cleveland that I really wanted to attend. I attended the event in Cleveland and made the decision that I would remain committed to addressing the pressing issues in my community first, before looking elsewhere. I am not sure what sector I will ultimately stay in; however, I can say that I am a proud Clevelander and aspire to have a long career in the city.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship?
My advice for anyone applying for this fellowship would be to take advantage of everything the fellowship has to offer. The professional development is real, and every choice you make within your fellowship year will most likely impact the community. If you are not ready to impact the community, do not apply.
Want to learn more about the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship? Find details about the program and application process here, and sign up to receive email updates about the fellowship program here.