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HESS Center

Program Overview

The Hess Fellows Advocacy Program connects students with nonprofit advocacy organizations. Students participate as full-members of the agencies, helping build organizational capacity while learning to:

  • Critically reflect on the meaning, purposes, and parameters of advocacy
  • Articulate strategies for engaging in social and political change
  • Draw connections between public policies and individual experiences
  • Collaborate effectively with co-workers and fellow program participants
  • Design and implement an on-campus project related to advocacy
  • Understand how advocacy organizations work
  • Clarify their own career aspirations

Fellows receive a $3,000 stipend, draw insights on a dynamic sector, and gain practical experience in advocacy. Each fellowship is tailored to fit the needs and interests of each student, and the program is open to students of all academic interests, career aspirations, and political affiliations. Depending on placement, Fellows will be responsible for researching the effects of public policies, coordinating national lobby days on Capitol Hill, facilitating coalitions among constituencies, fostering grassroots activism, completing grant requests, developing new initiatives, and enhancing existing programs and partnering agencies.

Alumni of the program have received two Truman Scholarships, two Rotary Scholarships, a Fulbright Scholarship, six Teach for America appointments, and three Peace Corps assignments. Fellows have also pursued careers in a variety of fields, including law, business, education, and nonprofit administration.

Spring Overview

Application Process: Students apply and interview for a Hess Fellowship in February. The selection committee matches students with agencies based on shared interests, agency needs, and the student's skill sets. Agencies must confirm placements.

Pre-Internship Workshop: Fellows participate in a pre-internship workshop that prepares them for the summer advocacy internship. The multi-session workshop considers a variety of topics, including the meaning of "advocacy," the challenges of the public policy process, ways to succeed in a professional workplace, and the multiple approaches to measuring the success of advocacy endeavors.

Connect with Hosting Agency: Fellows contact agency supervisors and determine the start and end dates of their internship. Fellows also learn more details about their hosting agency.

Summer Overview

Internship: Fellows intern for a minimum of forty hours per week for eight weeks at their hosting agency. Fellows focus on completing one or two main projects in addition to day-to-day duties and other assignments.

Critical Reflection: Fellows submit five reflections on their experiences in response to reflection prompts posted by Hess Center staff.

Site Visits: Funds permitting, program administrators conduct site visits to agencies hosting a Hess Fellow and engage the Fellow and the agency supervisor in a dialogue about the internship experience.

Overview of Following Academic Year

Retreat: Fellows attend a post-internship retreat in the fall to reflect on their experiences.

Advocacy Project: Fellows coordinate campus-wide advocacy projects with the central goal of translating their summer experiences into action for the campus community.

Reflection Event: Fellows highlight their experiences at a fall reflections event with the BSC administration and program supporters.

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