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Maxwell School names two Robertson Fellows

October 14, 2011

Jill Leonhardt
(315) 443-5492

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs enters its second year of collaboration with the Robertson Foundation for Government by naming the two newest Robertson Fellows. Laura Alexander of Tamarac, Fla., and Nathan Strand of Gaithersburg, Md., began their graduate professional master’s program studies at the Maxwell School this summer. Both students are pursuing joint degrees in public administration and international relations. After graduation, the students will enter careers in the U.S. federal government.

The Maxwell School is one of only five graduate schools to receive funding for the fellows program from the Robertson Foundation for Government (RFFG). The nonprofit family foundation has a mission of helping government by identifying, educating and motivating graduate students to pursue federal careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs.

The partnership between the Maxwell School and the Robertson Foundation formed last year, when the foundation provided a $480,000, four-year grant that will fund the educations of exceptional students focusing on public service careers. Each year, the Maxwell School identifies two high-caliber U.S. graduate students to receive grants providing full tuition for two years of study, a living stipend and health insurance, and assistance in finding a summer internship. Fellows can major in one of the Maxwell School’s dual master’s degree programs in the fields of public administration/international relations, international relations/economics, or public administration/economics.

Alexander and Strand were selected from nearly 20 highly qualified applicants to become the Maxwell School’s second class of Robertson Fellows. Both students expressed a desire to work for the federal government in international affairs, and demonstrated the potential to thrive academically at the Maxwell School.

“It is my family’s hope and expectation,” says RFFG Chairman William Robertson, “that the Robertson Fellows will choose federal government service as a long-term career. By being selected for this fellowship, they have already shown their interest in this career choice and they will be encouraged and steered in that direction during the course of the fellowship by RFFG and the Maxwell School. With the many challenges the United States faces, the federal government needs the professional talent of America’s ‘best and brightest’ now more than ever before.”

alexanderAlexander earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida in 2005. She served in the Peace Corps from 2008-2010, teaching environmental education in Tanzania, where she learned Kiswahili. She has also worked as membership and development manager for the American Horticultural Society and spent time with, a grassroots advocacy organization for national and community service programs.

strandStrand received a bachelor’s degree in 2008 from Wesleyan University, where he majored in sociology and French studies. While conducting independent research in Cameroon during a semester abroad in 2007, Strand was inspired to pursue a career in international development. Prior to attending the Maxwell School, he worked for Management Sciences for Health and University Research Co., focusing on public health and international development issues.

“I feel a strong responsibility to contribute to the common good, which I choose to serve by promoting peace, democracy and human dignity around the globe,” Alexander says. “These goals, which are necessary to protect American interests, stand to benefit everyone. With the skills and insights I gain at the Maxwell School, I will be better prepared to serve effectively. I’m deeply grateful to the Robertson Foundation for Government for making my graduate studies possible.”

Strand also wants to positively impact the United States and other countries around the world. “I am deeply honored to have been chosen for this fellowship and would like to express my sincere gratitude to both the Robertson Foundation for Government and the Robertson family,” Strand says. “The United States faces many challenges abroad. I hope that through a career in federal service, I can make a positive difference both for our country and in the lives of people around the globe. The opportunity afforded to me through the fellows program brings me much closer toward realizing this goal. I am looking forward to a challenging, engaging and enjoyable two years at the Maxwell School, followed by what I hope will be a long and rewarding career serving my country.”

Last year’s Robertson Fellows from the Maxwell School found internships in the federal government. Christopher Grant spent the summer working at the U.S. Department of State, and Charles Deluca has a fall internship with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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