MPA Students Named Presidential Management Finalists

Posted: April 2, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Stephanie Hay

Three graduating Master in Public Administration students have been named Presidential Management Fellowship finalists (PMFs), which entitles them to paid internships within the federal government.

“This is a very prestigious program run by the Office of Personnel Management,” says Bob Dudley, chair of Public and International Affairs. “For many, PMF is a fast track into the senior executive service in the federal government,” he adds.

T'Ronda Flagg
T’Ronda Flagg

More than 3,500 applicants compete nationally for the PMF program, which selects recently graduated master’s and PhD students. The internships start in September and continue for two years. PMFs are appointed at the GS-9 level, step 1, and are entitled to leave and other benefits.

The three students are Kil-Jae Hong, Darla Tomes, and T’Ronda Flagg. Bernadette Costello, George Mason’s MPA Program coordinator, says the finalists will “shop” for placements at a job fair in April, although most finalists contact agencies before the fair to schedule an interview. In addition, most PMFs find permanent placements within the federal government following their internship.

“This is truly a huge deal,” she says. “We have never had this many make it as finalists.”

Kil-Jae Hong
Kil-Jae Hong

Hong learned of the program first through conversations with friends in the State Department and later through MPA student orientation. “It is quite exciting to be a PMF finalist. With encouragement from a few of my professors, especially Dr. Sheldon Edner [affiliated faculty member with the Federal Highway Administration] and Bernadette Costello, I applied for the PMF and survived the process,” Hong said.

Flagg says Costello also helped her by proofing the required essays. Edner and Bill Combs, affiliated faculty member with Northrop Grumman, were mentors for her during the process. “The rotational aspect of the PMF program and professional development opportunities will help me make long-term career decisions,” says Flagg. “My primary goal is to gain a position that will allow me to have the largest impact to help our children gain a strong sense of social justice and a healthy outlook on life.”

Darla Tomes
Darla Tomes

“This is a gigantic opportunity for me. My goal is to experience firsthand the public policy process so that I can be more effective in the future on leading policy decisions,” Hong says.

Tomes says she entered the MPA program with the goal of becoming a PMF. “I am hoping that this program will prepare me to be an efficient and effective manager in the federal government. After all, the public deserves the most efficient government possible.”

To learn more about the internship program, visit the Presidential Management Intern web site.

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