| by Jason Warburg

News Stories

Alexis Roberts
Alexis Roberts MAIPD ’22 is hoping for a federal appointment through the Presidential Management Fellowship program that will further her interest in issues around economic development and environmental health.

Eight Middlebury Institute students were recently selected for the highly competitive Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF), the flagship leadership development program through which U.S. government agencies hire highly qualified applicants with advanced degrees.

“Getting into the PMF is like leapfrogging the system,” says Academic and Career Advisor Scott Webb MPA ’07. “It gives you a head start over others who may have joined government earlier in their careers. Having PMF on your résumé in federal service is a great badge of honor that can help make more opportunities available. I was so pleased to see this large group from MIIS this year.”

The PMF provides a two-year, salaried fellowship that typically includes abundant opportunities for advancement and career development. Eligibility for the program is based on the completion of all requirements for an advanced degree by the end of the summer following the annual fall application cycle. Finalists who complete their educational requirements and accept a position with an agency are then designated as “appointed.”

PMF finalist Alexis Roberts MAIPD ’22 sees the program as “a great opportunity to learn about the different ways in which government agencies operate and how they solve challenges. I am interested in gaining exposure to both international and domestic issues, particularly in the areas of economic development and environmental health.” Roberts enrolled at the Middlebury Institute after being evacuated seven months into her Peace Corps service in Lesotho due to the COVID pandemic. She is looking forward to learning which agency she will be appointed to and taking advantage of the program’s training opportunities. 

Getting into the PMF is like leapfrogging the system. It gives you a head start over others who may have joined government earlier in their careers.
— Scott Webb MPA ’07

Zachary Tomatz, a PMF finalist and 2021 graduate of the MA in International Trade program, applied to the program with a specific goal in mind: “The agency I most want to work for is USTR (the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative), which is very difficult for new graduates to get into—but PMF provides a window of opportunity.”

Zachary Tomatz

Zachary Tomatz MAIT ’21 hopes that being awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship may lead to an appointment with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Webb was especially pleased to see a substantial contingent of PMF recipients from the Institute’s MA in International Policy and Development (IPD) program. “These students are highly mission driven and focused on helping vulnerable people and improving the human condition overall. The combination of development theory and policy knowledge has set them up for rewarding work in a variety of government agencies.”  

Echoing this, Roberts says, “I have always wanted to work in public service. I want to expand my professional skill set and hope to leverage the skills and knowledge I’ve gained through my experience at MIIS to apply a systemic lens to issues I care about deeply.”

The PMF program was established by executive order in 1977 as the Presidential Management Internship program, later amended and renamed in 2003. Its goal is “to attract to the federal service outstanding citizen-scholars from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs.”