BUILDING CAREER CONNECTIONS
WALKING THE CORRIDORS OF From L.A. to D.C., students in the David Bohnett Fellowship program have the opportunity to make an impact. By Adeney Zo
A unique Fellowship program, sponsored by the David Bohnett Foundation, gives UCLA Luskin students the opportunity serve as executive-level apprentices in the Los Angeles mayor’s office. UCLA Luskin was the first of three schools across the nation to offer the David Bohnett Fellowship,
Bohnett Fellows from across the country attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, center.
followed by the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Since its inception in 2006, Fellows have had the chance to apply their studies to a range of local issues from homelessness to transportation alternatives. Kelsey Jessup, a second-year Public Policy student, was already interning at City Hall when she was accepted into the program, but the Fellowship opened the door to new opportunities within the office. “Even as an intern they treat you as part of the staff . . . but with the Fellowship expectations rose,” Jessup says. “I was there full time, doing bigger projects and handling more pressing things for the office.”
luskin forum / / summer 2015
Jessup’s placement was in the Performance Management and Budget & Innovation departments. At the start of her Fellowship, Jessup became involved in one of the largest projects at the mayor’s office. “When Mayor Garcetti came to office in 2013, he took the role of CEO and planned to interview and evaluate all general managers of the city departments,” Jessup says. “I worked with my team on the analysis, and it was a great opportunity to learn about all the departments.” Second-year Social Welfare master’s student Skylar Lenox had the opportunity to form and implement the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps, a group meant to “connect high-impact volunteer opportunities in Los Angeles...with Mayor Garcetti’s vision. It’s about finding opportunities that are meaningful,” Lenox says. Beyond working locally, however, Fellows had the opportunity to travel and speak with students and policymakers across America. In October, Bohnett Fellows from three different cities converged in Detroit to discuss how policy revitalized Michigan’s most populous city. A group of Bohnett fellows also attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., an annual event for mayors to discuss policy issues. “The conference allowed me to get out of academia and into the practical world,” Lenox said. “It has been the link between theory and practice, which allowed me to better get into the mindset of a practitioner. “I learned what it means to be a leader in your city and evaluate policy in a way that brings in not just [the] ideal,” she says. The conference allowed for Bohnett Fellows to witness the perspectives and ideas of mayors in different areas of the U.S., each of whom face different challenges, coming together in a cohesive discussion. “My biggest takeaway was that I felt inspired by what people across the nation are doing. Just being around all these mayors who want to collaborate
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