Five members of the Class of 2015 have been awarded Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative fellowships by the Wilson School, allowing them to pursue two-year Master in Public Affairs degrees at the Wilson School in preparation for careers in the U.S. federal government.
Joanna Anyanwu, Logan Coleman, Hanna Kim, Rebecca Kreutter and Michael Lachanski will spend this summer working internships in federal agencies. After graduation, the scholars will complete their first year of MPA study before working for two years in government positions. Then they will return to Princeton to complete the MPA program.
Kreutter is a former associate Opinion editor and a current columnist for The Daily Princetonian.
Coleman, a politics major, explained that she hadn’t originally thought of applying for the scholarship as an underclassman.
“I hadn’t really considered SINSI until fall of junior year: I attended a talk where one of the current seniors who’s a scholar spoke to the juniors in politics, and my friend elbowed me and said, ‘Logan, this is perfect for you,’ Part of me really wanted to go to graduate school and part of me really wanted the work experience, so I figured that I could do both with this scholarship,” she explained.
Kreutter said she originally applied because the program offered an attractive background in technical and work experience.
“I’ve talked to people who are in the program now, and I’m really excited because it’s an incredible opportunity to try out a lot of different agencies and see which one fits my interests,” she added.
Lachanski, the first-ever economics major to win a SINSI fellowship, explained that applying for the scholarship was a natural step for him.
“I think anyone with a really strong interest in policy would want to be a part of it, and I was really interested in it, so I decided to apply,” Lachanski said.
Both Coleman and Kim said they are excited about the opportunity to work with the federal government.
“The fact that I get two years of working experience in the federal government is what really attracted me to the program, and I really wanted to apply what I learned in my undergraduate studies to real life,” Kim explained.
Coleman said she is most excited about the opportunity to choose departments and agencies of interest. “ We had to indicate three departments we wanted to work with, and which one of the four tracks we hypothetically wanted to do,” she explained of the application process.
Kreutter added that she looked forward to joining the community of the SINSI scholars.
“We had a reception earlier today, and we got to meet the past winners, and it really just seems like a great community. There are people who can give great advice, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that,” she said.
Anyanwu said she was excited about the access that the scholarship would provide, and that she was looking to use what she learned in the program to help people in her chosen field.
“My interests are in gender and sexuality development, and there are a lot of things that can be done, especially in Africa, so I’m really excited to gain a lot of skills and hands-on experience through the MPA program,” Anyanwu added.
Lachanski added that with the scholarship, he could plan his classes better and really take advantage of synergies that arise with other fields. “It really helps me structure my academic projects; now I have a much clearer picture of the work I can do.”
Lachanski explained that the interview was tough, and that a few questions in particular challenged him. “There was a question that I’m actually still thinking about until now, which was ‘What would you do if you had a fundamental policy disagreement with your supervisor?’ It was something I really had to consider carefully,” he said.
Lachanski added that his previous conversations with people from other fields helped him prepare for the interview. “One of the questions was, ‘You’re in charge of healthcare.gov, what do you do when the website starts having problems?’ And I had spoken with a lot of people in computer science before, so when that question came up in the interview, I was able to give a more technical answer than some of the others did, and I think that worked to my advantage,” he explained.
Kim, a Wilson School concentrator, explained that she was hoping to draw a lot from her experience living abroad in East Asia for 15 years, as she was considering working with the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Coleman said she was potentially interested in working with the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and possibly with the Department of Homeland Security or in an embassy in another country.
Lachanski said he was most interested in working with the Office of Financial Research, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Securities and Exchanges Commission.
Kreutter, a Wilson School major, said she wanted to work with the Environmental Protection Agency or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Anyanwu, also a Wilson School major, said she wanted to work with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the African Development Foundation and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.
Correction: Due to an apparent misspelling in the University’s directory and College Facebook, an earlier version of this article misstated the first name of Michael Lachanski ’15. The ‘Prince’ regrets the error.