Fellowship Prepares Rochester Student for Career in International Affairs

By Melissa Greco Lopes
Univ. Communications

University of Rochester undergraduate Jonathan Johnson ’14 has been selected as a 2013 Public Policy & International Affairs Fellow at Carnegie Mellon’s Junior Summer Institute. He is the second Rochester student to be named a PPIA Fellow in the last two years and is among the 20 recipients selected from a national pool of candidates to participate in the program at Carnegie Mellon.

As a PPIA Fellow, Johnson will spend seven weeks at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College—their graduate school focusing on public policy—in this highly selective summer program designed to prepare students from diverse social and economic backgrounds for graduate study and careers in public policy and international affairs. As a political science and anthropology major, Johnson has studied refugee populations and policy effects on war and genocide. His interest in the intersection of identity and policy, specifically how disadvantaged populations overcome obstacles, led him to apply for the PPIA Fellowship, which will help hone the skills required to conduct policy analysis.

“The fellowship looks at how policy affects individuals, states, and countries in nuanced ways—both on micro and macro levels,” Johnson said, “and understanding these complex relationships will help me gain the intellectual background needed to further my goals in affecting real-world change in the future.”

At Rochester, Johnson has been an active member of the campus community. He has served as a resident advisor for three years and as a Meridian, an ambassador for the Admissions Office. A perennial member of the Dean’s List, he participated in the Compass to Personal Success and Urban Fellows programs, two leadership and civic engagement initiatives through the University’s Rochester Center for Community Leadership. Johnson also is president of the men’s volleyball club.

While in Pennsylvania, Johnson will study economics, statistics, policy analysis and management, writing, and public speaking. The Junior Summer Institute is a blend of classroom coursework and workshops that address a variety of domestic and international issues. Carnegie Mellon’s program provides career-planning workshops that include GRE prep and one-on-one meetings with admissions and program staff members from graduate school. Fellows also will have opportunities to meet with public affairs practitioners and take a networking trip to Washington, D.C.

Johnson, a native of Crystal River, Fla., is a graduate of Lecanto High School in Lecanto, Fla. After graduation, he hopes to spend a year teaching English as a second language in Malaysia before pursuing both a juris doctorate and master’s degree in public policy.

The Carnegie Mellon Junior Summer Institute is part of the 30-year-old Public Policy & International Affairs Fellowship Program. A national consortium of top public policy and international affairs graduate schools, PPIA seeks to prepare college juniors for advanced degrees and careers serving the public good. In addition to Carnegie Mellon, there are four other schools that host a summer institute, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University. For additional information, visit PPIA Program’s website.

Rochester Freshmen Meet the City during Service Days

Margaret Mead once said to “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” With this in mind, more than 1,000 freshmen at the University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music ventured into the city and suburbs to volunteer at nearly 60 of Rochester’s nonprofit organizations during the 2nd annual George Eastman Day of Service and 23rd annual Wilson Day.

See the photo gallery.

Eastman Day of Service took place on Friday, Aug. 26. Throughout the day, students worked at the Rochester Association of Performing Arts, where they cleaned and painted areas of RAPA’s 20,000 sq.ft facility, while learning about the mission and work of the association. A group of 20 students were introduced to Garth Fagan Dance, as they helped the company clean and paint its facilities. A third group worked with the Arthritis Foundation, where they prepared goodie bags for participants of the upcoming Rochester Marathon on Sept. 18.

Wilson Day, a service experience for River Campus freshmen, took place on Monday, Aug. 29. Among the sites for Wilson Day, students volunteered at the Rochester Presbyterian Home, where they visited with elderly residents of the home and participated in activities including bowling and sing-a-longs. A small group visited RCSD School #19, where they prepared bulletins boards and organized library books for the start of the school year. Another group of freshmen headed out the Penfield to work at Freshwise Farms, weeding, turning soil, and planting vegetables in the farm’s garden.

Both days are part of the orientation programs for freshmen, and are geared toward creating connections among students while introducing them to Rochester and the many volunteer and exploration opportunities the city has to offer.

While some freshmen got a glimpse of the many community service opportunities available in Rochester, others participated in the Urban Explorers’ Wild Goose Scavenger Hunt. These freshmen headed out into the city and learned a little about Rochester’s rich history.