University of Virginia cohort at the Cosmos Club in D.C. for the Summit closing dinner

A Letter from OUr Founder

As a college sophomore, I was offered an opportunity to intern in government. At the time, I was unsure about what I hoped to gain from the experience and unclear about my post-graduate plans. The internship introduced me to real government work and showed me the impact one could have on their community and public policy more broadly. Through the guidance of an alumni mentor, I developed skills in networking and professional communications that aided me throughout my career in the public and private sectors. The Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service program was established to provide a meaningful experience in government for undergraduates and encourage their engaged citizenship the way my internship did all those years ago. Since 2015, we have placed 318 Schaeffer Fellows at more than 160 different internship sites, and each has been paired with an alumni mentor from their university.

In the summer of 2022, 50 Schaeffer Fellows interned in high-level government internships at the federal, state, and local levels. They contributed to policy research, investigated cold cases, advocated for resources to support community programs, and responded to constituent concerns. Irrespective of placement, they learned the intricacies of government work and operations and saw first-hand the dedication of countless public servants who play a role in supporting our democracy every day.

While many internships returned to the office setting, a number remained hybrid or remote and I expect this trend to continue. This has had a direct impact on the Fellows and our program, making it all the more important to bring everyone together for the Schaeffer Fellows Summit in Washington, D.C. Over three days, the Fellows debriefed their internship experiences, learned lessons in leadership from public service professionals and program alumni, visited the National Mall, and established relationships with one another that will grow as they become Schaeffer Fellow Alumni.

As you will see in the pages that follow, our Schaeffer Fellows had a remarkable impact on the offices they supported and the communities they served. Each year our Fellows reaffirm that if they are the future of public service then our country will be able to successfully address its challenges.


Year in Review



Undergraduate students selected to participate in summer government internships and a centralized professional development program


University Partners each selected and placed ten Schaeffer Fellows:

  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • UC Berkeley
  • University of Southern California (USC)
  • University of Virginia (UVA)


New government offices and agencies across the U.S. hosted Schaeffer Fellow interns over the summer


The percent of Schaeffer Fellows considering work in public service as a result of their summer experience


The amount contributed per Schaeffer Fellow to fund summer stipends and administrative support at each university


Collective weeks of public service committed from May through August at the federal, state, and local levels of government

Our Mission

The Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service program exposes undergraduate students to government work and its impact through 10-week, full-time, high-level internship placements with elected officials and agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. While not all Schaeffer Fellows pursue a career in government, the program creates the opportunity for participants to become engaged citizens and develop an informed view of government service and operations.

Key Themes

The Schaeffer Fellows program is grounded in four key themes. These themes are explored through interactive sessions over the summer and in the Schaeffer Fellows Resource Guide:

  • Reflecting on Core Values
  • Exploring Leadership Lessons
  • Collaborating & Networking
  • Developing Transferable Skills

The Benefits

This year, the program included a variety of professional development benefits:

  • Fellowship stipend and accessories
  • Virtual Orientation
  • Resource Guide
  • Online Community
  • Alumni Ambassador support
  • Alumni Mentor
  • Supportive Supervisor
  • Schaeffer Fellows Summit in D.C.
  • Fall Recognition Event
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Our Team

The Schaeffer Fellows program staff works closely with Leonard Schaeffer to support the cohort of Schaeffer Fellows during their internships, engage alumni in networking and mentorship, and foster relationships with university and institutional partners.

Erica Lovano McCann

Executive Director

Dr. Erica Lovano McCann has been with the Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service program since its inaugural year at USC where she serves as Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. Erica works closely on developing strategic partnerships, liaising with participating universities, and overseeing the implementation of programming and events. As the program grows, Erica works closely with Leonard Schaeffer and the Schaeffer Fellows Advisory Board furthering the mission and vision of the program.

Willa Erickson

Assistant Director

Willa Erickson began working with the Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows program in January 2019 to assist with planning program events, communicating with the national cohort of Schaeffer Fellows and alumni, and continuing to build a strong program identity. She facilitates the Alumni Ambassador program and maintains the Online Community. Willa also plays a dual role at USC coordinating the University’s cohort selection and internship matching process.


Welcoming a New Advisory Board

In 2022, Leonard Schaeffer established the Schaeffer Fellows Advisory Board. Members serve a three year term during which they participate in biannual meetings, assist in identifying high-level internship opportunities and qualified mentors for Schaeffer Fellows, and engage in strategic planning for the future of the program.

Schaeffer Fellows Program Founder

Brewster Foundation Representative

Former Acting Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

2018 Schaeffer Fellow,
University of California, Berkeley

Director and CEO, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia

Brewster Foundation Representative

Former Staff Director for Senator Dole
Executive Dean, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Interim Director, The Institute of Politics, Harvard University

Dean, USC Price School of Public Policy
Co-Director, USC Schaeffer Center


2016 Schaeffer Fellow,
University of Southern California

Executive Director,
Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service

Former Minnesota State Medicaid Director

Assistant Director,
Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service

The Advisory Board is an opportunity to collaborate with Leonard and others I admire in support of the Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service - with a mission that is always meaningful and especially timely today. And best of all, we get to learn about the remarkable young Fellows and alums.

Jack Ebeler, Vice Chair, Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service

2022 Schaeffer Fellows

The Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows program partnered with five U.S. universities to select and place 50 talented undergraduate students as full-time summer interns at all levels of government. Fellows had the opportunity to build relationships with their peers as a national cohort at the Schaeffer Fellows Summit, which was hosted in-person for the first time since 2019.

Nathan Beaucage - National Labor Relations Board, Region 6 (Pittsburgh)
John Chilson- Office of Hawaii State Senator Stanley Chang
Prentice Cooper - Office of the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker
William Engelmayer - U.S. Attorney’s Office - Eastern District of New York
Ryan McCarthy - Office of Congressmember Michelle Steel (R-CA 48th District)
Kimani Panthier - Office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Vera Petrovic - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center
Kayla Saucedo - Office of Congressmember Veronica Escobar (D-TX 16th District)
Charles Steinbaum - U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Economic Policy
Isabella Tran - Office of U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)

Supervisors Say...

We typically bring on graduate students. [Our Schaeffer Fellow] as an undergraduate fit very well and was equal to, if not better than, some of our graduate students. They were a tremendous help to our team, filling in for staffing gaps - and adapted well - even in the remote environment. We were thrilled to have them.

Maria Cameron, 2022 Supervisor

2022 Fellows in Action

Schaeffer Fellows who exemplify the range of projects and diversity of government experiences of the larger cohort.

JOHN CHILSON (he, him, his)
Harvard University
Office of Hawaii State Senator, Stanley Chang

“In Senator Chang’s office, I was an intern on paper but was given staff responsibilities. This summer, I helped plan a social housing delegation to Vienna, Austria, wrote an academic paper on the ALOHA Homes bill, successfully got one of Senator Chang’s op-eds published in Newsweek, and completed various administrative tasks on a daily basis.”

ABIGAIL RABIEH (she, her, hers)
Princeton University
Office of Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey

“I conducted analysis of phone scam complaints, created products to address consumer issues, and presented my findings and work to the entire division. I really enjoyed offering free, non-legal mediation to consumers and helping them resolve disputes with businesses.”

DAIRA RIVERA (she, her, hers)
U.C. Berkeley
Federal Defender for the Eastern District of California

“In the past, I have worked alongside attorneys, so this is a great perspective shift as I now have a deeper understanding of the investigative work that goes on in criminal cases. I learned a lot about networking and the different opportunities in government service.”

HUNTER HINSON (he, him, his)
University of Southern California
U.S. Office of Personnel Management

“I think the most valuable aspect of my work experience was the opportunity to get so close to senior officials in the Biden Administration. At a smaller agency, I was able to speak with the director multiple times and had close relationships with the directors of multiple offices. As a result, I have a strong network of contacts. These mentors have given me a great deal of advice and confidence in my abilities.”

TERRELL PITTMAN (he, him, his)
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

“I assisted attorneys in engaging with individuals, advocacy groups, and community groups to investigate and litigate discriminatory practices and policies deemed harmful to over 700,000 district residents. I conducted legal research and assisted with motions, advice memos, discovery, trial, or office matters on any given day. It was a great opportunity to explore many different areas of law. I had the chance to see the impacts of my work on the local and state level!”


Berkeley, USC, & UVA Fellows explore D.C. at the Summit


June 2022 brought the return of an in-person Schaeffer Fellows Summit in Washington, D.C. for the national cohort. As a professional conference, the Summit provides Schaeffer Fellows the opportunity to participate in interactive sessions alongside their peers against the backdrop of the nation’s capitol and surrounded by the history and rich traditions of our democracy.

The Summit, aptly themed “Pillars of Public Service”, provided Schaeffer Fellows with a space for building camaraderie as a cohort, interacting with leaders in public service, meeting local alumni, and conversing about core values and commitments to action. With guest speakers, workshops, and time to explore D.C., Fellows departed the weekend reflective of their early government experience and equipped with tools to maximize networking and professional development in the remaining weeks of their internships.

Keynote Speaker Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman

Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman is the John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. Feltman served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009-2012. He spoke about his more than 26 years as a U.S. Foreign Service Office, reinforcing the value of public service and the importance of remaining globally minded as we look to the future of our democracy.

Liam Tsao, USC Fellow


Alumni AMbassadors

The program recruited a third class of Alumni Ambassadors to help support the 2022 Schaeffer Fellows and continue to grow relationships among the alumni community. Ambassadors remain in touch with their university’s cohort throughout the summer, attend Orientation and parts of the Summit, and host informal events. This group of peer experts serves a critical role in helping to shape and develop the Fellows’ experience and expand alumni offerings.

2018 Fellow, USC
Account Manager

2015 Fellow, USC
Emory University

2017 Fellow,

JD Candidate
Yale Law School

2019 Fellow, UVA
Research & Policy Associate,
Association for
Career & Technical Education

2019 Fellow,
UC Berkeley

Program Associate

2019 Fellow,

Black Voices in the
Public Sphere Fellow

2019 Fellow,

United States Air Force

2018 Fellow,

MFS Candidate
Yale University

2020 Fellow, UVA
Associate System
Security Analyst
AgFirst Farm Credit Union

Ambassadors & other alumni attend the Summit dinner


Alumni Lounges


2019 Berkeley Fellow and 2022 Alumni Ambassador Laila Issa hosted a social for local Fellows and alumni at the Brig in Washington, D.C. Attendees represented a diversity of universities, fellowship years, and fields and interest. After hosting, Laila said "we connected in person and engaged in valuable conversations about graduate schools and careers!" Laila Issa is currently living in D.C. and working as a Project Associate at Mathematica in Health Policy Assessment and Program Improvement units.

Alumni Highlights

At the conclusion of its eighth year, the Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service program has 318 ambitious alumni pursuing a diversity of academic and professional experiences as illustrated below. The Schaeffer Fellows Online Community serves as a private hub for alumni to engage in  networking, share resources, and participate in events.

2021 alum Katherine Dailey (Princeton) speaks with 2022 Fellows Kimani Panthier (Harvard) and Ava Milberg (Princeton) at the Summit closing dinner.

Alumni in Government

2018 Fellow,

Policy Analyst,
National Economic Council
The White House

2020 Fellow, UC Berkeley
Community Health
Commission (CHC)
City of Berkeley, District 8

2017 Fellow, Princeton
Investigative Analyst,
Manhattan District Attorney's Office; now J.D. Candidate at University of Chicago

2019 Fellow, USC
Orange County Supervisor
Katrina Foley

Alumni as Schaeffer Fellow Supervisors


2018 Fellow, Princeton
2022 Schaeffer Fellow Supervisor
Then Press Secretary
California Attorney General's Office of Communications

2019 Schaeffer Fellow, UVA
2022 Schaeffer Fellow Supervisor
and Mentor
Virginia State Police


International Fellowship Recipients

2019 Schaeffer Fellow,

2021 Fulbright
U.S. Student Program
ETA - Mexico

2019 Schaeffer Fellow,

2020 Fulbright
U.S. Student Program
ETA - Colombia

2019 Schaeffer Fellow,

2021 Schwarzman Scholar,
Tsingua University
in Beijing, China

2016 Schaeffer Fellow,
2021-22 Eisenhower
Global Scholar
University of Oxford

Alumni Pursuing Advanced Degrees

2019 Schaeffer Fellow, UVA
MPA Candidate, UNC-Chapel Hill;
Intern, Federal Reserve Board

2018 Schaeffer Fellow, USC
J.D. Candidate,
USC Gould School of Law

2020 Schaeffer Fellow, USC
Shirley Scholar, MSc Candidate,
University of Oxford

2018 Schaeffer Fellow, UC Berkeley
MS2, Icahn School of Medicine,
Mount Sinai


Contact Us

Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service