Every year, the Tallahassee Mayoral Fellowship Program gives outstanding graduate students the chance to get involved with city government, working side-by-side with political leaders. These students are responsible to use their skillsets and talents to come up with innovative policy and program proposals. This program is cultivating leaders with the experience and connections to excel in their future endeavors.
This year, three of our very own graduate students are serving as mayoral fellows for the City of Tallahassee including Sam Peltier and Katherine Phelps who are pursuing Masters degrees in Media and Communication Studies and Jacqueline Menzel who is earning a Masters in Information.
Peltier, who had previously been an intern at the Mayor’s office, spoke with us about his experience with the fellowship:
“The Mayoral Fellowship gives individuals the opportunity to work closely with local leaders on projects in which one can see the tangible impacts felt by the community. My role within the Office is to help out with our economic development agenda. This includes programs such as I/O Avenue and the Tallahassee Innovation Partnership.
In the future, I believe the professional skills which I have gained from my time working at the Mayor’s office will help wherever I end up. I have been fortunate enough to work in public service and see the impacts it can have on the community. With that in mind, I hope to continue working in the political realm in some capacity with my academic experience of study Media Communications Studies at FSU.”
Phelps shared some of her responsibilities as a fellow with us:
“My responsibilities in my current position vary from day-to-day which is what I love about it. One day I can be taking pictures around the community for social media posts, and the next I can be doing research or writing a press release. Since beginning graduate school I’ve developed interests in social media, campaigns, public relations and crisis management. As a part of the fellowship program I have the opportunity to see what all of these things look like outside of academia and in practice.”
Menzel is also very proud and intrigued with the work done in this fellowship, and the leaders that she has been able to work alongside. This experience has given her even more passion for the city of Tallahassee. She proudly stated, “Everything is at your disposal: the arts, parks, trails, an incredible school system, and continuing education with the universities.”
Menzel went on to share, “My number one goal is to work for the City of Tallahassee to facilitate change through collaboration across the organization. To continue to be effective, we need to work together and never stop innovating. Tallahassee is growing quickly and I want to take part in our continued development.”
These well-accomplished students were asked to offer pieces of advice for fellow students. “Always stay busy,” said Peltier. “Whether it be an internship, or a school club, you never know which connections may prove to be invaluable down the line.”
Phelps similarly advises, “Utilize the resources available to you and get some experience in the work force through internships. Networking and building connections are the most important things you can do to benefit your future career and you can start creating these connections on the smallest levels through unpaid internships and volunteer experiences.”
Menzel also reassured fellow students, “FSU makes it so easy to find out about opportunities through the emails they send, apps like Handshake, and faculty and staff who are personally invested in your career growth. Listen to them! If you find an opportunity you want then apply and if the answer is no, apply to the next one.”
College of Communication and Information Dean, Larry Dennis, shared his thoughts on the Mayoral Fellowship Program: “The program is a great opportunity for our students and a great partnership for FSU and Tallahassee. Our students get real world experience dealing with challenging, complex issues and our community benefits from the expertise and energy these students bring to their work. This program showcases one of the benefits of the great relationship between FSU and the City of Tallahassee.”