The Forge Fellowship

Reclaiming Public Power in Local Communities

This fellowship is a stipended opportunity for 5–8 students currently enrolled at community colleges and public universities that do not have an existing Roosevelt chapter on their campus. Participants will be trained in core research, policy, organizing, and base-building skills, and receive one-on-one guidance from Roosevelt staff and alumni as they build chapters and launch policy projects.

The Forge Fellowship is intended to build progressive civic infrastructure in communities and regions that have historically been shut out of political power at the federal, state, and local levels. We believe government can and should be a force for the public good—if we change who has decision-making power in our communities. 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 local and organize within their community.

When is the fellowship?

The fellowship will start with a part-time, eight-week, remote training boot camp that will run between the first week of June through the first week of August. Upon completion of summer programming, fellows will be funded to travel to the Roosevelt Network’s annual student retreat in Hyde Park, NY, in early August. Students will then return to campus for the school year with a stipend and support from Roosevelt national staff, Roosevelt’s national student leadership team, and an alum advisor as they work to build their chapter and pursue their policy project.

Who should apply?

Community college and public university students who will not be graduating or transferring 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 have consistent access to technology (internet, phone, computer) throughout the course of the fellowship.

Students who are not already part of the Roosevelt Network and whose campuses do not already have an established Roosevelt chapter.


Students should complete the fellowship in or near the community where they attend school (exceptions can be made during the summer for students who have relocated for an internship or employment).

What’s the time commitment?

Summer Training Boot Camp

Over the summer, each Forge Fellow is expected to complete 10–12 hours of fellowship work per week. Some of this time will be spent in mandatory training webinars and staff check-ins, and some of it will be independent work researching and drafting campus-specific materials. Toward the end of the summer, fellows will also be paired with an alum advisor who will help support their work throughout the school year.

Fall and Spring Semesters

When fellows return to campus after the summer, they will structure their time based on their own schedules. Each fellow will work to build their chapter and implement their policy projects on campus or in their local community. Fellows will have regular check-ins with a member of Roosevelt’s national student leadership team or Roosevelt staff, as well as an alum advisor, to discuss progress toward their goals, professional development, and opportunities for in-person collaboration with alumni and/or other fellows.

Is the fellowship paid?

Each Forge Fellow will be paid a stipend of $1,500 for the summer, with additional project support available. Fellows will also receive a travel stipend to attend the annual Roosevelt Network student retreat in early August in Hyde Park, NY. Upon successful completion of summer programming, each participant will receive funding to support the continuation of their work during the school year on campus. Students will also have access to advice and opportunities through an advisory group consisting of Roosevelt network alums and friends of Reese Neader.

When do I apply?

Applications are currently closed. 

How do I apply?

Each candidate should complete an online application form. The form contains several “short answer” sections where we hope to learn more about each applicant, the work they’re interested in, and the school environment where they would be organizing. Fellowship candidates should also be prepared for a short phone conversation with a Roosevelt staff member and Network alum.

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.


  • 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 Summer Fellowship

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.


Compensation will be given per type of opportunity; 35-hour weekly projects will receive a stipend of $3,000 in total, and 15-hour weekly projects, $1,500. Students applying in teams of two for the 35-hour weekly commitment will each receive $1,500, following the structure described above.


The fellowship applications open in late winter. The program will run for eight weeks beginning with a one-day orientation session in the summer. 

Who should apply?

  • Students who have already defined a problem and a proposal to work on 
  • Roosevelters who believe in fighting to defend public goods against corporate power
  • Students with proposals that seek to make change at the local or state level, and are under Roosevelt’s public goods framework
  • Individuals or teams of two students 
  • Students interested in either research or community-organizing/coalition-building projects 

Graduating seniors are not eligible for this opportunity.

Selection criteria include the viability of the proposal, evidence of long-term interest, clear plans for the summer, and a clear understanding of Roosevelt’s resources.

People of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQI+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Isenberg Fellowship

Each year, one of our summer fellows will be selected to serve as an Isenberg Fellow. Taylor Jo Isenberg is a former national director of the network who dedicated 10 years of service to the organization as a student and as a staff member. Her commitment to policies and processes that improved democracy made a lasting impact on the organization. To qualify for this fellowship, a student’s project must demonstrate a firm commitment to democratic access and opening up policymaking to new voices.

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.

The Emerging Fellowship

The Emerging Fellowship is a yearlong, individual, part-time remote opportunity, in which students dig deeper into formal research and advocacy efforts in their selected topic and produce a written research product and campaign plan. As a cohort, they receive support from national staff in the form of required readings and discussions, trainings, and individualized guidance on their work, as well as regular check-ins. They also have their written work revised by a formal review committee, composed of Roosevelt Institute staff members, fellows, and network alumni. The fellowship is one of our advanced policy and research opportunities, aimed at students who have already been through at least one of our programs and who have received our core trainings—either through national webinars or their local chapters.

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

Who should apply?

  • Undergraduate students who have already been through the foundational track of Roosevelt’s trainings 
  • Undergraduate students who have already identified a problem and/or have a formulated idea and proposed 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

Graduating seniors are not eligible for this opportunity. 

What is the end product of this fellowship?

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, a report, an essay, and similar pieces. They are also expected to produce a campaign plan on which they will act while still in the fellowship, which will involve power-mapping and doing outreach to local organizations and individuals working on their topic. 


Applications open late winter.

Program runs from summer through the spring of next year.

What to expect if selected?

  • Be part of a cohort of fellows 
  • Receive trainings on the advanced track of the Roosevelt Network programs, focused on conducting formal research, policy analysis and writing, and building a campaign
  • Access to research textbook readings and guided discussions 
  • Individual support and guidance, both on written and advocacy work, through regular check-ins with Roosevelt Network staff
  • Formal review of research and written work by a review committee, composed of Institute staff and fellows, network staff, and alumni. 

What is the time commitment? 

Please note this year’s program will begin in the summer with a smaller time commitment (participants will commit to 3-5 hours per week) than the rest of the fellowship. During the spring and fall semesters, students should expect to commit 10–15 hours per week to their projects, including trainings, readings, and check-ins.

Is this a stipended opportunity? 

Yes. Each student receives a stipend of $1,800 for the year to support the development of their work. Receiving that stipend is conditional on meeting the commitments of the program, revised at the end of each semester.

How do I apply?

Applications are now closed.