Segal Fellowship offers experience, networking
Summer internships offered for undergraduates and graduate students
For Aaron Chalek, applying to become a Fellow of the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program was an easy decision. He was already familiar with the program's core values, because they were exemplified in a man he already knew as someone special.
Before coming to Brandeis to pursue a master’s in public policy and business administration, Chalek says, “I worked for a nonprofit that worked with business leaders on socially and environmentally responsible economic growth policy. We held an Eli Segal award day every year.”
“Eli was a business leader, but someone who cared about his community and building up his community through socially responsible matters,” Chalek says. “I didn’t know there was an actual fellowship at Brandeis in his name.”
Eli Segal earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Brandeis in 1964. After graduating in 1967 from the University of Michigan Law School, he became a leader in several Democratic Presidential campaigns, working on fundraising, hiring, and acting as chief of staff for President Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992. He then worked as the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and was a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal.
As the architect of the AmeriCorps program, Segal built a legacy of commitment to community. Following his death in 2006, family members and the Clinton Family Foundation created the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program, which supports summer internships for Brandeis undergraduate students and for graduate students in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management’s master’s in public policy program.
[The 2013 Segal Fellow application deadline is December 21. Online information is here.]
The Segal program has three main components -- the Eli J. Segal Citizen Service Fellowships, the Segal Network and the Segal Memorial Lecture.
Each year, students are selected as Fellows to participate in a variety of internships over the summer. They are added to the 400-plus member Segal Network, which includes founding members of the program, members of Eli Segal’s family, and former Segal Fellows. The Memorial Lectures focus on new and innovative ideas regarding citizen leadership and national service.
This year, Chalek and Paul Vancea ’14 are among the eight graduate and undergraduate students named this year’s Segal Fellows.
“Considering my background, it was a natural fellowship to apply for,” says Chalek.
Program director Toni Schwarzenbach shed some light on what being a Fellow really means.
“The Segal Program selects Fellows and invests resources, effort, and mentoring to help build the future citizen leaders of our community,” says Schwarzenbach. “We are unique because the program includes a lifetime network. Participation in the program fosters a community of leaders dedicated to the idea that service, through a variety of public, private, and non-profit partnerships, can make a tangible and long-term impact in any community.”
“I think a big part of the Segal Fellowship is the understanding that it’s a lifelong process and that these are some of the goals that I will hold on to the rest of my life,” says Chalek. “But I think the fellowship will give me the opportunity to shape my career and skills, and as Fellows, apply them in real life.”
Vancea is majoring in business, economics and film while still deciding what to pursue as a career.
Last summer, he interned at Albright Stonebridge Group, a global consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Samuel “Sandy” Berger and former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman. There, Vancea did everything from making coffee to writing letters to presidents of countries on behalf of former Secretary Albright.
“I also met so many people who were involved with PeaceCorps and AmeriCorps, things that Eli Segal actively promoted the culture of,” says Vancea. “Because of my connections with the Segal network, I was able to meet with some of the top employees in the company. It was really motivational for me.”
Now, a season away from summer, Vancea is on to another project in relation with Eli Segal – this time, to glorify him.
“Halfway through my internship, I was thinking, ‘Why not try making a film about Eli Segal?’ because most of us have never met him and most of his friends were in Washington D.C.,” Vancea says. “I pitched the idea to Sandy, he loved it, and then he told me to draft a few questions to send to a long list of people he thought could provide some insight. The next day I sent 54 emails to discuss scheduling and everyone agreed to speak.
After spending the remainder of his four weeks in Washington D.C. interviewing those who knew Segal, Vancea showed his documentary at the Segal Fellowship Retreat on Nov. 10.