Applications for the ‘23-’24 Forge cohort will open in March 2023. 
Check back in the new year for updates on the application timeline.


The Forge Fellowship serves as the entry point for students to the Network and a way to honor the legacy of the late Reese Needer—a Network staff member, organizer, mentor, and friend to many Roosevelters. The Forge Fellowship curriculum develops leadership skills, demystifies policy creation, and empowers students to investigate a local policy problem aligned with Roosevelt Institute issue areas; all while bringing neoliberalism and its alternatives centrally into fellows’ learning. Forge Fellows are paired with a mentor from the Roosevelt alumni community, and receive our professional development curriculum to level up their networking, interviewing, resume-writing, and cover letter skills.

Why is it called the Forge Fellowship?

The Forge Fellowship was created in memory of Reese Neader. Reese worked to build civic infrastructure that would confront the individual challenges faced by communities frequently neglected by political organizing. Reese recognized the untapped potential for progressive power in many of our diverse, hardworking, and often overlooked communities—largely in the Midwest. His life’s work was dedicated to building that power: He founded Forge Columbus to encourage civic innovation in Ohio, worked for the Obama campaign as the youth vote director in Pennsylvania, and served as policy director for the Roosevelt Network. This fellowship seeks to empower a new generation of leaders like Reese who enthusiastically envision and push for progressive policy change in their communities.

What will the experience look like?

Summer Intensive

Fellows complete a six-week training program over the summer that introduces them to  the core skills and information they’ll need for the remainder of the year. Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week in training sessions, one hour per week checking in with a Roosevelt staff member, and a few hours per week completing individual work on program assignments. 

All trainings will be held virtually via Zoom, and  will include: 

  • All-cohort training sessions once per week; 
  • One-on-one check-ins with their staff supervisor once per week; 
  • Individual work on deliverables each week using digital tools like Google Docs to collaborate with your staff supervisor; 
  • Two virtual social events for the entire cohort;
  • Attendance at Fellows Retreat weekend during August. 

Academic Year

Fellows will continue their work during the course of the academic year, and can expect to spend about 15 hours per month on fellowship work which includes: 

  • Continued one-on-one check-ins with their staff supervisor every other week;
  • Individual work on assignments each week, such as policy research, power mapping their policy issue, or executing outreach meetings to learn from policy experts & community leaders.; 
  • Monthly trainings as a fellowship cohort; 
  • Check-ins with an alumni mentor for professional development support and career exploration (more details below); 
  • Participation in Roosevelt programming like fireside chats, webinars, regional events, etc.

Mentorship & Career Exploration  

Each fellow is connected to a Roosevelt alumni to help support them throughout the fellowship year and beyond. Mentors provide personal support and guidance to the fellows, and assist with career exploration. This includes things like helping fellows identify different career paths that align with their values and skills, attending digital events in different industries together, providing professional connections to the fellows, and  supporting fellow’s resume and cover letter writing.

What will I gain from this fellowship?
  • An understanding of Roosevelt’s world-view and the ability to explain to others the trends in our economy and democracy that have led us to — and can lead us out — of the current American policy landscape. 
  • A completed policy brief or memo, which you will present to the Forge cohort at the end of the program. 
  • The skills and tools necessary for coalition building, including effective communication, broad outreach skills, and power mapping.;
  • An strong  resume and cover letter, and a better understanding of the progressive professional pathways available to you; 
  • A network of academic and professional support from Roosevelt Network staff, your personal mentor, the broader community of mentors, and the national network of Roosevelt alumni;
  • A lifelong welcome into to Reese’s community and the Roosevelt Network; a commitment of support from “the Wolfpack.”

Fellowship Logistics

Students will complete this fellowship in the community where they live and/or attend school, but be brought together once in person for a Fellows Retreat in August 2023. The Roosevelt Institute will cover all travel, lodging, and meals for Forge Fellows at this event.  Because all other program aspects will be held via video conference software (Zoom/Google Hangouts), applicants should be prepared to arrange access to wifi during program activities and for work on deliverables.  i.e. accessing your local public or university library.  

Every Forge Fellow will be paid a stipend of $3,000, distributed in three equal payments over the course of the summer bootcamp and fall and spring semesters.  Receiving each stipend installment is conditional on meeting the commitments of the program, reviewed and agreed upon at the end of each semester.

You should apply if you:
  • Are a current undergraduate student enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program who has completed at least one semester of college and who will not be transferring or graduating in the next academic year.
  • Are an undergraduate student enrolled in a college or university in the United States. Roosevelt Network cannot accept students attending non-US institutions at this time.
  • Have the capacity to dedicate two hours during the week and two to three hours every other Saturday to real-time, virtual training sessions.
  • Are passionate about making local policy changes aligned with the following policy topics:
    1. Corporate Power (e.g. antitrust, anti-monopoly, or combatting corporate concentration)
    2. Worker Power (e.g. worker justice, labor protections, or higher education)
    3. Climate Justice (e.g. environment protections, green jobs, or environmental racism)
    4. Race & Democracy (e.g. institutional racism, voter protections/access, or closing the racial wealth gap)
How do you apply?

Applications for the 2023-2024 fellowship cohort will open in March 2023. Previous application requirements included: 

  • Submission of a  short writing sample, 
  • Short answers to the following questions (500 words or less for each): 
    • Tell us about yourself — What’s your story and why are you interested in this fellowship? 
    • What is one value that you have? Why is that a guiding principle in your life?
    • What’s your superpower?  The thing you’re good at or are passionate about that you always bring to your work, your friendships, your classes, etc.? 
    • What’s something that you do refill your cup (things you do to recharge, feel grounded, and whole)? 
    • How do you define community? 
    • Are there any issues facing your campus or community that you feel strongly about?  
    • How would you describe your campus? We would love to hear about the values of the campus community, the dynamic between the campus and the broader community, and/or the dynamics between students and faculty/administrators. 

Still have questions regarding the Forge Fellowship program? Email us at and someone from our team will get back to you shortly!