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Wilder School Announces 11th Class of Wilder Graduate Scholars’ Fellowship

Wilder Graduate Scholars’ Fellows gather with Governor L. Douglas Wilder (seated, left) and Interim Dean, John Accordino, Ph.D., (seated,right) at Ginter House on Sept. 8. Fellows (standing, from left to right): Lara Mclellan, Ibrahim Keita, Joseph Costello, Lashelle Johnson, Alexandra Stewart, Nathan Manning and Theresa Varnier.
Wilder Graduate Scholars’ Fellows gather with Governor L. Douglas Wilder (seated, left) and Interim Dean, John Accordino, Ph.D., (seated,right) at Ginter House on Sept. 8. Fellows (standing, from left to right): Lara Mclellan, Ibrahim Keita, Joseph Costello, Lashelle Johnson, Alexandra Stewart, Nathan Manning and Theresa Varnier.

 

By Tiffany Murray-Robertson

The Wilder School has announced the 11th class of its Wilder Graduate Scholars’ Fellows program. The 2016-17 cohort, which includes seven Fellows who will receive one year of tuition and assistance during the academic year, represents a robust partnership with six offices from four state agencies participating.

Fellows will receive up to $11,500 to support a year of full-time graduate study in exchange for 20 hours of professional service at a host non­­profit or government agency. The Wilder Graduate Scholars’ Fellows are supported by the generous contributions of this year’s host agencies that include the Virginia Department of Corrections, the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Retirement System and the Survey for Evaluation and Research Laboratory at the Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy.

"Our host employers are champions in the school’s endeavor to provide students with real-world context for practice and enrichment,” said Shajuana Isom-Payne, the Wilder School’s director of the Office of Student Success, which administers the program.

“Because of their investment, we're able to offer competitive tuition and academic support packages to our best and brightest students. It’s an encouraging sign of their commitment to the experiential learning that we provide at the Wilder School."

The Wilder Fellows program was established in 2006 to help attract and retain outstanding students in an increasingly competitive environment. Fellows are selected from top students in the school’s master’s programs in Criminal Justice, Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning and are appointed to serve for approximately 600 hours over the course of a full academic year.

In addition to financial support, applied practice and insight into their prospective career paths, Fellows receive enrichment and professional development opportunities through regular meetings with leaders in the public sector and a network of current and former fellows.

This year’s fellows and their host agency appointments are:

  • Joseph Patrick Costello of Seaford, Va., a second-year master’s student in Urban and Regional Planning, has been appointed to the Virginia Department of Social Services. Costello holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and history from Christopher Newport University.

  • Lashelle Johnson of Munich, Germany, a second-year master’s student in Public Administration, has been appointed to the Survey for Evaluation and Research Laboratory. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in English from VCU.

  • Ibrahim Keita of Alexandria, Va., a second-year master’s student in Public Administration, has been appointed to the Virginia Department of Corrections. Keita holds a bachelor’s degree in international marketing from Kent State University.

  • Nathan Manning of Ashland, Va., a first-year master’s student in urban and regional planning, has been appointed to the Virginia Department of Corrections. Manning holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Studies from the Wilder School.

  • Laura McLellan of Clemson, S.C., a first-year student in Urban and Regional Planning, has been appointed to the Virginia Retirement System. McLellan holds dual bachelor’s degrees in environmental sustainability and German from the University of Oklahoma.

  • Alexandra ‘Alex’ Stewart of Richmond, Va., a second-year master’s student in Public Administration, has been appointed to the Survey for Evaluation and Research Laboratory. Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Sweet Briar College.

  • Theresa Louise Varnier of Cumberland, Va., a second-year master’s student in Public Administration, has been appointed to the Virginia Department of Corrections. Varnier holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from ITT Technical Institute.