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Maxwell School of Syracuse University Names Two Robertson Fellows

October 11, 2011

(Syracuse, N.Y.) The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University enters its second year of collaboration with the Robertson Foundation for Government by naming the two newest Robertson Fellows. Laura Alexander of Tamarac, Fla., and Nathan Strand of Gaithersburg, Md., began their graduate professional master’s program studies at the Maxwell School this summer. Both students are pursuing joint degrees in public administration and international relations. After graduation, the students will enter careers in the U.S. federal government.

The Maxwell School is one of only five graduate schools to receive funding for the fellows program from the Robertson Foundation for Government (RFFG). The nonprofit family foundation has a mission of helping government by identifying, educating, and motivating graduate students to pursue federal careers in foreign policy, national security, and international affairs.

The partnership between the Maxwell School and the Robertson Foundation formed last year, when the foundation provided a $480,000, four-year grant that will fund the educations of exceptional students focusing on public service careers. Each year, the Maxwell School identifies two high-caliber U.S. graduate students to receive grants providing full tuition for two years of study, a living stipend and health insurance, and assistance in finding a summer internship. Fellows can major in one of the Maxwell School’s dual master’s degree programs in the fields of public administration/international relations, international relations/economics, or public administration/economics.

This year’s fellows, Laura Alexander and Nathan Strand, were selected from nearly 20 highly qualified applicants to become the Maxwell School’s second class of Robertson Fellows. Both students expressed a desire to work for the federal government in international affairs, and demonstrated the potential to thrive academically at the Maxwell School.

“It is my family’s hope and expectation,” said RFFG Chairman William Robertson, “that the Robertson Fellows will choose federal government service as a long-term career. By being selected for this fellowship, they have already shown their interest in this career choice and they will be encouraged and steered in that direction during the course of the fellowship by RFFG and the Maxwell School. With the many challenges the United States faces, the federal government needs the professional talent of America’s ‘best and brightest’ now more than ever before.”

Alexander earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida in 2005. She served in the Peace Corps from 2008 to 2010, teaching environmental education in Tanzania, where she learned Kiswahili. She has also worked as membership and development manager for the American Horticultural Society and spent time with ServeNext.org, a grassroots advocacy organization for national and community service programs.

Strand received a bachelor’s degree in 2008 from Wesleyan University, where he majored in sociology and French studies. While conducting independent research in Cameroon during a semester abroad in 2007, Strand was inspired to pursue a career in international development. Prior to attending the Maxwell School, he worked for Management Sciences for Health and University Research Co., focusing on public health and international development issues.

“I feel a strong responsibility to contribute to the common good, which I choose to serve by promoting peace, democracy, and human dignity around the globe,” Alexander said. “These goals, which are necessary to protect American interests, stand to benefit everyone. With the skills and insights I gain at the Maxwell School, I will be better prepared to serve effectively. I'm deeply grateful to the Robertson Foundation for Government for making my graduate studies possible.”

Strand also wants to positively impact the United States and other countries around the world. “I am deeply honored to have been chosen for this fellowship and would like to express my sincere gratitude to both the Robertson Foundation for Government and the Robertson family,” Strand said. “The United States faces many challenges abroad. I hope that through a career in federal service, I can make a positive difference both for our country and in the lives of people around the globe. The opportunity afforded to me through the fellows program brings me much closer toward realizing this goal. I am looking forward to a challenging, engaging, and enjoyable two years at the Maxwell School, followed by what I hope will be a long and rewarding career serving my country.”

Last year’s Robertson Fellows from the Maxwell School found internships in the federal government. Christopher Grant spent the summer working at the U.S. Department of State, and Charles Deluca has a fall internship with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

About the Maxwell School (@MaxwellSU)

The Maxwell School is Syracuse University's home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration, and international relations. It is consistently ranked among America's top graduate schools of public affairs (U.S. News & World Report), offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences; and it is home also to Syracuse University's undergraduate programs across the social sciences. Maxwell scholars conduct wide-ranging research through nine interdisciplinary centers, each focused on a topical area within public affairs, such as governance, social and economic policy, conflict and collaboration, public wellness, aging, energy and environment, national security, regional studies, and more. For more information, please visit: maxwell.syr.edu.

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York State, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, please visit www.syracuse.edu.


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