Four Batten Students Selected as Finalists for the 2020 Presidential Management Fellows Program

A total of five UVA students from schools and programs across the University were selected as finalists for the prestigious federal government program.

United States Capitol
Photo courtesy of Batten Communications

The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy today announced the selection of four Batten students as finalists in the highly competitive Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. Administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the PMF Program functions as one of the foremost training grounds for future leaders interested in government service. Since its inception in 1977, the Program remains one of the federal government's most prestigious fellowships for graduate students entering the federal workforce.

With a mission to attract the nation’s brightest citizen-scholars to federal service, the PMF application process is rigorous and requires multiple steps, including an online exam and an in-person assessment. Typically, only about five percent of applicants are selected as finalists. In addition to exceptional oral and written communication skills and demonstrated commitment to leadership and service, applicants must be on track to receive an advanced degree or have completed an advanced degree from a qualifying university within the previous two years.

Previous Batten PMF fellows have gone on to build fulfilling careers in the federal government. Batten alumni Kathryn Babbin (MPP ’19) and Josh Margulies (MPP ‘19) credit the PMF Program with allowing them to pursue their policy interests at the federal level while simultaneously gaining invaluable leadership skills and experience through the program.

The Batten School’s 2020 PMF finalists include two alumni and two current students. UVA's fifth 2020 finalist is a student in the Law School.

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Brian Kelley (MPP ’19)

Policy areas of interest: International relations, national security policy, and democratization. 

“My desire to enter federal service initially started with my father Kieran Kelley who was a career grants management specialist at the National Institute of Health (NIH) for over twenty years,” said Kelley. “When my father was diagnosed with cancer, his coworkers at NIH as well as the federal government helped our family immensely as they supported him during his year-long treatment. When he passed away, it was clear that his community at NIH within the federal government had been like a second home to him. Through this experience, I saw firsthand how the federal government truly is a special place for those who want to dedicate their lives to public service.”

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Allison Owens (MPP ’18)

Policy areas of interest: Environmental policy and climate change. 

“I am honored to have been selected as a finalist and am very excited about the opportunity that the PMF Program provides,” said Owens. “My initial interest in the PMF program began when I interned at Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). My mentor at MCC informed me that she had begun her career in public service through the PMF Program and recommended that I apply. I believe the Program provides an excellent opportunity to develop the leadership skills necessary to be an effective public servant which is ultimately why I decided to apply.”

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Madeline Roth (MPP ’20)

Policy areas of interest: International development, governance, political systems, human rights, and Francophone Africa. 

“I applied to the PMF Program following my experience working for international development non-profits in D.C. along with a stint working in the State Department in Dakar, Senegal this past summer,” said Roth. “I found that government experience in the international development arena would be vital to jumpstarting my career. I can't wait to see which doors PMF can open for me.”

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Meagan Walters (MPP ’20)

Policy areas of interest: Health and education policy with a focus on the veteran population.  

“I was initially drawn to the Presidential Management Fellowship through my former TA,” said Walters. “She was a PMF at the Veterans Health Administration and loved her experience there. I was interested in applying because she and other Batten graduates in the program felt like their talents and opinions were highly valued in their agencies, even as very young professionals.”

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