2021-2022 Fellows

Aaeshah Siddiqui, Forge Fellow

Carly St. Pierre, Forge Fellow

Anthony Tran, Forge Fellow

Kimberly Vega, Forge Fellow

Christiana Verdelus, Forge Fellow

Uzair Alpial, 2021-2022 Emerging Fellow

Madison Black, 2021-2022 Emerging Fellow

Mayukh Datta, 2021-2022 Emerging Fellow

Safiyah Zaidi, 2021-2022 Emerging Fellow

The Forge Fellowship

Reclaiming Public Power in Local Communities

This fellowship is a stipended opportunity for 5–8 students currently enrolled at community colleges or  public universities that do not have an existing Roosevelt chapter on their campus. Fellows will develop core policy, research and writing skills, and take  their leadership potential to the next level. Participants can expect to participate in workshops that will expand their emotional intelligence and sharpen their public speaking. In addition, each participant is matched with a mentor from the Roosevelt alumni community who, alongside Roosevelt Network staff, help guide students in individual  career exploration. At the end of this experience, Fellows will have a fundamental understanding of their role in the longer historical arc of the progressive movement, and the paths they can take to contribute their skills to the causes they care deeply about.

The Forge Fellowship is intended to build progressive civic infrastructure in communities and regions that have historically been shut out of political power. We believe that government can and should be a force for equity and justice—if we change who writes the rules and who holds decision making power within it. The fellowship strives to enable local communities to reclaim public power by helping develop student leaders at public universities and community colleges. These leaders will work to build pathways for themselves and others to participate in our democracy. We’re looking to support students who not only have innovative and important contributions to make to the broader progressive movement, but also want to start locally and organize within their community.

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 you’ll 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.”

Program Structure

Time Commitment

Over the summer, fellows should expect to spend one hour per week in training sessions, one hour per week checking in with a Roosevelt staff member, and a few hours per week doing individual work on program deliverables. During the school year, fellows should expect to spend about 15 hours per month on fellowship work, including continued check-ins with staff, check-ins with their mentor, collaboration with other students in the network (such as regional teams), and any/all on campus activities related to Roosevelt.

Summer “Boot Camp”

Fellows complete a four-week training program over the summer that introduces them to  the core skills and information they’ll need for the remainder of the year. 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 Virtual Hyde Park 2021 in August, which will also be hosted via Zoom.
Fall and Spring Semesters

Fellows will continue their work during the course of the academic year. Program requirements during this time  includes: 

  • Continued one-on-one check-ins with their staff supervisor every other week;
  • Individual work on deliverables each week, such as research for a 10 Ideas policy memo or drafting their Roosevelt “pitch”; 
  • Monthly check-ins 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. 

Who should apply?

  • Community college and/or public university students who have completed at least one semester of college and who will not be transferring or graduating in the next academic year.
  • Undergraduate students attending a college or university in the United States, with preference given to students in the Midwest, South, and Southwest.
  • Students who are not already part of the Roosevelt Network and whose campuses do not already have an established Roosevelt chapter.

Where does the fellowship take place?

Students should complete the fellowship in the community where they live and/or attend school. 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.  At this point, we expect all national programming — trainings, check-ins, Hyde PArk 2021, mentorship —to be virtual due to COVID-19. Depending on the pandemic, an in-person graduation from the fellowship could be possible in Spring 2022.

Is the fellowship paid?

Yes. Each Forge Fellow will be paid a stipend of $1,500 for the summer and $700 each semester. Receiving each stipend installment is conditional on meeting the commitments of the program, reviewed and agreed upon at the end of each semester.

When & How Do I apply?

Applications for the 2021-2022 fellowship cohort are now closed. Selected finalists should be prepared for a short phone call with network staff between April 22nd-30th. 

Applicants should be prepared to include a past writing sample, and provide 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 part of the fellowship are you most excited about? Please reference the “What You’ll Gain  From this Fellowship” section of the program description in your answer. 
  • 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. 


  • Alan Smith, Organizer, Consumer Reports
  • Amish Shah, Counsel to the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform
  • Amy Littleton, Director of Operations at Resonance Campaigns
  • Anita Sonawane, Associate, J.P. Morgan Asset Management 
  • Brad Bosserman, Managing Director, POLITICO 
  • Casey Maliszewski Lukszo, Coordinator, Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland, College Park 
  • Cory Connolly, Vice President at the Institute for Energy Innovation and Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
  • Emily Apple, Master in Public Affairs Candidate, Princeton University
  • Emily Wazlak, Founder and CEO, Shine Registry
  • Etana Jacobi, Manager, Hall Hunger Initiative
  • Hilary Doe, Vice President, NationBuilder
  • Jack Madans, Digital Services Principal, Judicial Branch of California
  • Monika Johnson, MBA/ MS Candidate, University of Michigan 
  • Tarsi Dunlop, Local Progress Program and Policy Manager, Center for Popular Democracy
  • Zachary Kolodin, Associate, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

The Emerging Fellowship

The Emerging Fellowship is an academic-year long opportunity in which undergraduate students engage in deep research and writing skills training—concluding with the publication of a research product. Fellows can choose the type of written work they wish to produce from a list of possible types of research pieces, including a white paper, an issue or policy brief/memo, or a report. This remote, part-time, fellowship is Roosevelt Network’s most advanced policy and research opportunity, created for students who have already engaged in at least one Roosevelt Network program. Examples of program experiences include: holding a leadership role in your institution’s Roosevelt Network chapter, submitting to or being published in the 10 Ideas policy journal, serving in a National Leadership role, or being a Forge Fellowship alumni. Applicants should be in the last two years of their degree program to be considered for this opportunity.

As a cohort, Emerging Fellows receive advanced research and writing support from National staff through required readings, group discussions, trainings, regular check ins with their National staff advisor, and individualized guidance on their work. Fellows also have their written work revised by a formal review committee, composed of Roosevelt Institute staff members, fellows, and network alumni.

What You’ll Gain From this Fellowship

  • Advanced training on conducting formal, community focused, research, policy analysis and writing.
  • Grounding in a culture of co-created learning, supported through a structured curriculum and cohort discussions. 
  • Individual research and writing support through regular meetings with your National Staff advisor
  • Experience submitting your research for academic peer review, and integrating feedback into the final product. All fellows will receive feedback from a committee composed of Roosevelt Institute staff, fellows, Network staff, and Network alumni.
  • Connection to a national network of Emerging Fellowship Alumni upon completion of your fellowship year. 
  • Publication of your final policy product on the Roosevelt Network website and elevation/promotion of your work across Roosevelt’s various social media outlets.

Program Structure

The Emerging Fellowship is a rigorous program that is similar to the experience of an upper level “seminar” or “independent study” college course. With the support of Network staff, you will be expected to engage in orientation training(s) and cohort discussions, design your own research plan and timeline, develop the framework of your policy argument, and produce a final, comprehensive, document discussing policy recommendations.

This Fellowship begins in July 2021 with a 4 week Orientation program. Students can expect to devote 6-8 hours per week on a combination of training, cohort discussions, reading assignments, and advising meetings. Fellows will then be expected to attend Hyde Park in August 2021 – this year’s, completely virtual, multi day, Roosevelt Network National conference. 

During the spring and fall semesters, students should expect to commit 10–15 hours per week to their projects, including monthly all cohort calls and advising check-ins.

Who should apply?

  • Undergraduate students who have ideally already participated in one of our other programs listed above (ie: 10 Ideas)
  • Undergraduate students who have already identified a problem and/or have formulated a policy solution to their problem
  • Rooseveleters who wish to engage in more formal research on their topics
  • Roosevelters who can commit to a yearlong, part-time opportunity
  • Undergraduate students who have at least one more semester of their degree program left in the 2021-2022 academic year

When does the fellowship take place?

The Emerging Fellowship program runs from July 2021 through June 2022.

Where does the fellowship take place?

Students should complete the fellowship in the community where they live and/or attend school. 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 if possible). At this point, we expect all national programming — trainings, check-ins, and Hyde Park 2021—to be virtual due to COVID-19. Depending on CDC guidance and regulations in the future, an in-person graduation from the fellowship might be possible in Spring 2022.

Is this a stipended opportunity?

Yes. Each student receives a stipend of $1,800 for the year, dispersed in three $600 installments, to support the development of their work. Receiving each stipend installment is conditional on meeting the commitments of the program, reviewed and agreed upon at the end of each semester.

How do I apply?

Applications are now closed.  

Applicants should be prepared to include a past writing sample, and provide short answers to the following questions (500 words or less for each):

  • What Roosevelt Network programs have you participated in thus far – either through your chapter or National events? In what ways has your participation prepared you for this rigorous research Fellowship?
  • 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 is the topic of the research you hope to undertake during this experience? If you are hoping to build on work you’ve already begun in your academic or professional work, please describe your work on the issue so far!  
  • What drives your interest in researching this topic in particular? 
  • What part of the fellowship are you most excited about? Please reference the “What You’ll Gain  From this Fellowship” section of the program description in your answer. 
  • What’s something that you do to refill your cup (things you do to recharge, feel grounded, and whole)?

Check out the work of previous Emerging Fellows.

Illinois Direct Care Training Partnership: Framework for Employer and Employee Co-Learning Fund
Implementation of Risk Assessment Tools in the Criminal Justice System: What Is a Fair Approach?
Introduction of an Organ Donation Tax Credit to Increase Access to Living-Donor Kidney Transplants in Georgia
Incorporation of Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone into Athens-Clarke County’s Correctional Facility Health-Care Provisions
Achieving Campus Sustainability at Northeastern University Through Carbon Pricing
The Many Hands Food Cooperative: Ending Food Deserts and Building Sustainable Communities through Asset-Ownership and Community Empowerment
Remembering Rural: Shaping Connected and Automated Vehicle Technology in North Carolina
Raising Refugee Voices: Promoting Participatory Refugee Resettlement Evaluation in Maryland
Increasing the Postsecondary Expectations of Rural High School Graduates Through Alumni College and Career Networks: A Rural-Specific Education Policy
Updated and Upgraded: Improving energy efficiency in Athens-Clarke County
An Environmental, Economic and Health Imperative: Increasing Access to Solar in Virginia
Refugees’ Right to Work in Host Countries: The Economic Impact
Catalyzing an Anchored Economy in DC
Reducing Youth Tobacco Use: Restricting the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products
Revising Ratios: Providing Government Accountability for Public University Counseling Services in Virginia
Integrating Pretrial Diversion Programs in Justice Reinvestment Strategies in Massachusetts

The Summer Fellowship

 We will not be running the Summer Fellowship program in 2021. This summer our team will be preparing for Virtual Hyde Park 2021, revamping our trainings and resources, and planning for how we can best support you all during the 2021-2022 school year as colleges and universities decide on their new and updated policies and plans. We plan on hosting the Summer Fellowship again in 2022.

The Summer Fellowship is an eight-week, stipended opportunity for students to work on policy projects focused on building true public power and protecting public goods—from water to education to the internet, and more—to ensure that everyone has access to what they need in order to thrive in our society. The fellowship offers participants mentoring and policy and communications support for their projects, and can be pursued in our NYC office or remotely. 

This program supports projects that can be developed individually or in teams of two students, with the following options for time commitment: 

  • 35-hour weekly commitment: time commitment of 35 hours per week, pursued either individually or in teams of two. If applying as a team, each student has a time commitment of 15 hours per week (students share the full-time hour commitment). 
  • 15-hour weekly commitment: time commitment of 15 hours per week, only applicable to individual applicants.

Past Summer Fellows

Learn more about our previous summer fellows and their work.

Manushri Desai (University of Southern California)
Researching and building a database of organizations and state policies that promote hiring of people with disabilities.
Maeve Flaherty (Columbia University)
Advocating for the increased availability of safe and clean public restrooms for all in New York City—a continuation of her proposal published in 10 Ideas 2019.
Destiny Delacruz (Guttman Community College)
Researching the availability of public recycling bins in Harlem.
Wali Ullah (The City College of New York)
Researching the adjunct crisis and financialization at the CUNY system.
Jay Hearn (University of Tennessee at Knoxville)
Expanding democratic access in Tennessee by advocating for student IDs to be accepted as a valid form of voter ID.
Alex Rivera and Isaac Keller (Western Kentucky University)
Combating gender and sexuality-based housing discrimination in Bowling Green, Kentucky, by advocating for the Fairness Ordinance.
Kevin Cao and Austin Shirley (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Researching the issue of student-driven gentrification in Chicago.
Sacha Heymann (University of Michigan)
Advocating to make the University of Michigan more affordable by researching questionable and costly investments taken on by the university and methods for better support of students.
Ashley Yan (George Washington University)
Working to increase collaboration between the New York City mayor’s office and the Asian American community to eliminate the SHSAT and desegregate NYC’s public high schools.
Jacob Henkels (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Working to reduce recidivism and create stronger communities by establishing an affordable housing cooperative for reentering citizens in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Susan Ismail (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Fighting for greater equity in higher education by improving access to MAP grants in Illinois—an extension of her work started in the Spring Incubator.
Aditya Krishnaswamy (University of Georgia)
Working to increase health insurance coverage across Georgia by creating mandatory elements of health insurance literacy to high school health education curricula.
Simran Modi (University of Georgia)
Combating employment discrimination against unhoused individuals by advocating for businesses in Athens, GA to remove questions about permanent housing on job applications.
Olivia Brady and Nina Medernach (New York University)
Promoting greater education equity in New York City by advocating for reduced-fare MetroCards for all CUNY students.
Cara Schiavone (George Washington University)
Advocating to change George Washington University’shealth insurance system to make health care accessible for all students.