Created three years ago, this prestigious program recognizes and grants a job on campus to recent alumni that have exemplified outstanding work and committed themselves to high levels of academic achievement.
The idea behind this program was for previous students to assist the college in strategic projects moving forward.
“In some ways, the Presidential Fellows is connected to the larger work we are doing through the Knowlton Center of trying to give students more opportunities to explore potential careers and to help students make the transition from college into careers and professions,” President Weinberg said. All of the staff members have attended Denison at some point throughout their life.
To become a Presidential Fellow, one must apply and go through an interview process. The administration then carefully chooses candidates who would further advance and bring new ideas to their program. Typically, different divisions of Denison request potential members and attempt to fund as many people as possible.
Previous Presidential Fellows expressed their gratitude and appreciation for such a great opportunity and program.
A recent graduate and Presidential Fellow, Sarah Torrence ‘15 is the program coordinator for the Data Analytics department.
“This program has been a great opportunity,” Torrence said. “A lot of Presidential Fellows are doing this as a stepping stone from college into the real world. Also a lot of us are looking at going into higher education as a career and it is a great entry level job.”
Torrence plays an instrumental role in the new data analytics major.
“I took this job because I was really excited about our new data analytics major,” Torrence commented. “We are one of the first undergrad programs and our program is very unique especially in the liberal arts setting. It is also helping me personally as a lot of my job is making connections with alumni and local companies in the field. As a result, this job is giving me a better idea of what I might want to do next.”
Presidential Fellow Ben Lewis ‘15 is utilizing the position as a transitionary period.
“This one-year position makes for a really comfortable transition from college and into the real world. It’s a great chance to further explore my career interests, and it helps make me a more competitive candidate for future jobs,” Lewis said. “I also get to take advantage of all the resources that come with being a part of the Denison campus community.”
The Presidential Fellow candidates for this year are still undergoing review. However, whether the university will still have the program in future years remains unknown. Funding for the Presidential Fellows was made possible in part by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. It is unclear if school will continue to fund the program, but President Weinberg is optimistic.
“We are in the process of evaluating if we will keep the program after the current funding runs out. I suspect it is something we will try and raise some funds to support.”
Photo Courtesy of Owen Smith/The Denisonian