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2023 Fellowship Newsletter

Dear Supreme Fellows, Current Fellows and Trustees,

Greetings from the Fellowship.

What a talented and committed group of individuals you are! 

I’m excited to share the latest updates from alumni and current Fellows in this edition to our annual newsletter. I always look forward to connecting with you all at this time of year and to reading your personal notes and emails. It’s exciting and inspiring to see you continue to lead real change in your communities and how your dedication to and belief in the importance of this work keeps growing.

After a particularly selective recruitment process, we welcomed seven Fellows this past summer and they hit the ground running—bringing their passion, imagination and experience to host organizations and to the Fellowship.

Jesse, based at NYC Audubon, and Sophie, based at Mid-Atlantic Audubon, are working on environmental justice issues and leveraging hands-on nature and birding activities to engage children and teens. Jahmali and Juan are working at Breakthrough of Greater Boston on increasing access to college and educational equity. Kayla, at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and Natalia, at the Museum of the City of New York, are involved in expanding arts programming to young people in under-resourced communities. Vanessa, who is at the Food Project in Boston, is focused on issues of food equity and building a sustainable food system.

The supervisors and senior leaders of these host organizations, including three that are new to the Fellowship Program, are thrilled to have their FAO Schwarz Fellows on board and appreciate how much the Fellows have already contributed to their organizations.

Our four second-year fellows are also hard at work. Jasmin and Ryan are working at Jumpstart in NYC and Boston on early childhood education and policy work. Kira, who is at the Museum of Science in Boston, is igniting interest in STEM among students. At Year Up in New York City, Nia is coaching participants around their professional development and is doing data analytics and operations to support the organization.

In terms of the Fellowship, these second-years have each stepped up to play leadership roles in terms of retreat planning, recruitment, social media and in welcoming and integrating the first-year Fellows. Each of their supervisors feels that their Fellows are integral members of their teams and deeply value the impact the Fellows have on their programs as a result of increased responsibilities during their second year. 

Fellows hanging out

A highlight from the fall was our five-day, in-person retreat in Boston. There were site visits at Breakthrough, the Food Project, Jumpstart and the Museum of Science where we had the chance to interview senior leaders to hear about their professional journeys and their answers to questions from Fellows. In addition, we had the opportunity to learn more about the host organizations through experiences such as conducting mock interviews with high school seniors at Breakthrough and leading hands-on chemistry projects for high school students as part of the Museum of Science’s High School Science Series. At Jumpstart, we gained a deeper understanding of policy work through our visit to the Massachusetts State House and our conversation with Ryan and with the Vice President of Policy and Government Relations. Through working on farm chores and conversations with Vanessa and the leaders at Food Project, we learned about food security and the organization’s mission. Fellows enjoyed the chance to build friendships with each other “IRL” instead of on Zoom.

One highlight for many was the reunion dinner at the home of Trustee Maureen Coffey and Eric Schwarz.  It was a treat to reconnect with the alumni Fellows who joined us and to enjoy a delicious dinner topped off with s’mores made over a fire pit. In our retreat closing activity, Fellows shared that they felt “inspired, committed, rejuvenated, and connected to the FAO Schwarz Fellowship community.”

Applications have been submitted for the next cohort of seven new fellows who will start during summer 2023 when we will have 14  Fellows—our largest group to date. The 2023-2025 host sites include Barnes Foundation (Philly),  Jumpstart (will host two fellows – one in Boston and one in NYC), Museum of Science (Boston), Whitney Museum (NYC), Year Up (will host two Fellows – one in Boston and one in NYC). We reached out to over 450 college/universities with the Fellowship opportunity through our Handshake postings on college career websites, emails, information sessions and social media. We are excited about the quality and diversity of the applicant pool.

Jasmin reads to other Fellows at Reading Partners New York City.

Like many nonprofits, we’ve had a lot of conversations (including with some of our alumni Fellows) about ensuring Fellows have a living wage and have been working to increase Fellow’s salaries in partnership with the Host organization. We want to continue to increase compensation for future cohorts and appreciate the thoughtful feedback from Fellows over the years. You can find out much more about this on our website.

I am so proud of our alumni community—including our newest members. Of the five fellows who completed their Fellowships during the summer of 2022, four accepted full-time roles at their host organizations. Adriana was hired by Mural Arts in Philadelphia as Project Manager in the Environmental Justice Department (recently, Adriana moved to NYC to take a job as a programming coordinator at El Museo del Barrio). Abi was hired by Trust for Public Land as Stewardship and Engagement Coordinator. Reading Partners hired Clara as its Community Engagement Manager and the Museum of the City of New York hired Charlotte as the Education Design and Media Specialist. Serena, who finished her Fellowship at Breakthrough, took a job in NYC at Bridgespan as Associate Consultant to provide consulting to nonprofits and foundations.

Enjoy the updates! I am so impressed with your dedication and passion! We love hearing from you and are here to support you through our growing community. Thank you!

Very Best,

Explore Updates by Cohort

Fellowship Alums

Every year, a new cohort has joined our alum community since our first in 2008.

Earn Graduate Degrees

FAO Schwarz Fellows earn more graduate degrees than average (about 30% of college grads earn a graduate degree within 10 years) in a variety of fields—from social work to education to urban planning.

Working As Change Leaders

You can find former Fellows leading the change in a diverse array of organizations—from politics and policy to teaching and education.

Continue at Host Organizations

Fellowship hosts often offer our Fellows positions after the Fellowship is over. And many Fellows take the opportunity to stay on with their hosts in leadership roles.
"The Fellowship truly influenced my passion for education and took me on a route to my current company Panorama. I have loved getting to see the impact of social-emotional learning from a high level and impacting districts across the country. My next move is to hopefully get into expansion work and continuously help districts with behavior issues in school districts. The fellowship empowered me to take this leap into education and lead with grace. I am very appreciative of that. "
Molly Blake
Molly Blake F19
Sales Team Lead at Panorama Education
"The Fellowship experience made me more reflective about who I wanted to work and interact with, and what I wanted to bring to the table in those interactions. This guided me in moving more towards education and schools in general, as opposed to staying in the non-profit youth development sector (which is still an incredible place to be and work in)."
Michael McNeill-Martinez F14
DP/MYP Language and Literature Teacher at the International School of Belgrade
"My passion is in education, but one thing I've learned both during and after the Fellowship is that you can't focus on any one social challenge within a vacuum. While working with students I saw so many intersections with housing, nutrition, and employment. While pursuing our respective areas of interest I encourage us to continue thinking of the holistic needs of individuals and communities!"
Joyce Kim F20
Human Services division at Mathematica
"My experience working at Generation Citizen provided me with firsthand experience of our agency to make localized change and the importance of civic education. It certainly impacted me, prompting my deepened community engagement and leading to me running for office."
Samantha Perlman F19
Pursuing two degrees: Juris Doctor and a Master's in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, City Councilor in Marlborough, MA

From the Blog...

We welcome your reflections on your own Fellowship experience and on your own career in leading social change. Email us at contact@faoschwarzfellowship.org for details.

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