Four Middlebury Institute graduates received the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) award this year, which includes the offer of full-time, one-year salaried positions with the NNSA beginning this summer. The fellowship award promises specialized, on-the-job training and the chance to tackle real-world challenges in one of the agency’s program offices, not to mention a head start on future career opportunities within the agency.
“The fellowship is the perfect springboard for what I want to do in my career,” said Kyle Pilutti MANPTS ‘17. “I hope to work on US nuclear nonproliferation policy or diplomacy and starting off in a federal policy position will be a great way for me to become familiar with that world.”
In a typical year, one to three Institute graduates receive the NGFP award. Four is the highest number of awards the school’s graduates have received since 2011. This year’s cohort heard about the fellowships in a variety of ways. “I found out about the NNSA Graduate Fellowship through the Middlebury in DC Mentorship Program,” says Thais Ramo MANPTS ‘17, “where I was paired with a foreign affairs specialist at the NNSA who told me about the fellowship and encouraged me to apply.” Pilutti has two friends who are currently NGFP fellows and said faculty members at MIIS also recommended it as a potential next step.
The NNSA fellows program has often been a launching pad for careers in nuclear security. The agency considers the program an “integral” element of its recruitment efforts, noting that fellows benefit from hands-on experience for a full year while the “NNSA gets the opportunity to benefit from their skills and ideas… Many former NNSA NGFP students have made, and continue to make, tremendous contributions across the Nuclear Security Enterprise by joining the NNSA team, labs, and other government organizations.”
“I hope to be exposed to as many different policy areas regarding nuclear security and nonproliferation as well as learn new technical skills,” said Ramo. “In the future, I would love to apply my legal background to nonproliferation and nuclear issues.”
Pilutti, Ramo, and a third graduate are expected to start their positions at NNSA in July. Anthony Musa MANPTS ‘17 declined the fellowship offer in order to accept a position in the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Last fall NNSA graduate fellow and recent alumna Ruby Russell MANPTS ’16 was profiled on the agency’s website, as noted in a recent news story.