The Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service announced their fall 2017 class of Fellows last Wednesday, showcasing a diverse group of six policy and media experts from across the political spectrum.

The fellows include Ron Bonjean, former top spokesman for the speaker of the house and the senate majority leader; former White House Communications Director Mike Dubke; Marie Harf, former senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry; former Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) and Liz Sidoti, head of U.S. communications for British Petroleum and former national political editor and correspondent at the Associated Press.

GU Politics launched an additional Fellowship opportunity this semester, welcoming anchor for NBC Nightly News Saturday and Telemundo News José Diaz-Balart as a Visiting Fellow. This slot was created to welcome a prominent public figure to campus for shorter periods of time, according to a GU Politics announcement.

GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee (SFS ’94) said the program worked to recruit a diverse range of talents and perspectives in order to facilitate interesting and varied dialogue throughout the semester.

“We strive to find people that come from different backgrounds, cross the ideological spectrum and have different experiences,” Elleithee said. “We hope that they complement each other well in order to have the most robust conversation that we can.”

While the selection process for fellows has become increasingly competitive since the program’s inception in 2015, Elleithee said. He added he was excited to find so many individuals who want to contribute to and engage with the Georgetown community.

“We look for people who are going to be open and honest, and not just recite talking points — people who are going to be committed to the Georgetown community and really focus their time and attention here,” Elleithee said. “I think we have a really great class this semester. It’s a really good mix of experience this time.”

Throughout the fall semester, fellows will hold weekly noncredit discussion groups, hold office hours for students and speak to a variety of campus groups about their fields of expertise. Fellows are also assigned their own group of student strategists who work to help plan and promote events, research for discussion groups and connect the fellow to the broader Georgetown community. Applications for student strategists are open through Sept. 7.

“It’s another way for us to bring another voice into this conversation and give students yet another person that they can engage with, even if it’s a little bit more condensed than some of the other
Fellows,” Elleithee said.

Jessica Andino (COL ’18), who served as the undergraduate student co-chair for the GU Politics Student Advisory Board last year, said she is excited about the unique perspectives the new fellows will bring to the program this year. Andino is also Georgetown University Student Association vice president.

“They have a lot to contribute. They are able to add the perspective of what happens behind the scenes for national decisions,” Andino wrote in an email to The Hoya. “These are the people that we may not see, but they have a lot of expertise to discuss with students about the processes that happen in things that we may not see at the surface level otherwise.”

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