White House Fellows

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White House Fellows building on Jackson Place in D.C.

The White House Fellows program was established by President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson in October 1964. President Johnson articulated that the mission of the program was "to give the Fellows first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the federal government and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs". "President Johnson expected the Fellows to 'repay that privilege' when they left by 'continuing to work as private citizens on their public agendas'. He hoped that the Fellows would contribute to the nation as future leaders."

The webpage on the program explains it this way: White House Fellows typically spend a year working as full-time, paid special assistants to senior White House Staff, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, and trips to study U.S. policy in action both domestically and internationally. Fellowships are awarded on a strictly non-partisan basis.[1]

The selection process is very competitive[2] and there can be as many as 1,000 applicants for the eleven to nineteen fellowships. The White House Fellows Program office processes the applications and former Fellows screen the applications to identify the most promising candidates. Approximately 100 of the most qualified applicants are selected to be interviewed by eight to ten regional panels, which are composed of prominent local citizens. Based on the results of the interviews, the regional panels and the Director select approximately thirty candidates to proceed as National finalists. The President's Commission on White House Fellowships then interviews the thirty candidates and recommends 11-19 outstanding candidates to the President for a one-year appointment as Fellows.[3]


White House fellows come from a variety of educational backgrounds, though all Fellows hold undergraduate degrees. Also, the majority of past White House Fellows have been white males, the second majority being blacks. The average age of a Fellow is 32.2 years old. The age of all Fellows has increased over time. Though fellows come from all regions of the United States, the majority of Fellows are from the north east region of the country.[4] Of all Fellows:

Undergraduate education[edit]

  • Earned bachelor's degree: 100%
  • Attended an Ivy League University: 18%
  • Attended a Military Academy: 19%
  • Graduated Phi Beta Kappa: 12%
  • Rhodes Scholar: 4%

Graduate education[edit]

  • Earned a graduate degree of any kind: 96%
  • Earned a graduate degree from an Ivy League University: 41%

Notable alumni[edit]

Former and Current Commissioners overseeing the White house Fellows Program include:


External links[edit]