Yolanda Nosakhare, Javier De Leon and Laura Fairman are this year’s recipients of the Robertson Fellowship. In partnership with the Robertson Foundation for Government, each fellow receives full tuition, a cost-of-living stipend and summer internship assistance.
Yolanda Nosakhare joins the School of Public Policy after serving as an analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Victim Services Division. Her interest in international development came about during her prior tenure as an information management specialist in the foreign service with the U.S. Department of State in Guatemala and South Africa. Her experience living and working overseas ignited a fascination with policies that aim to improve the effects of economic depressions, gender inequality and ethnocentric conflicts. Nosakhare additionally spent a summer teaching English in Qingdao, China and earning her certificate to teach English as a foreign language.
“As both a first-generation American and student, I am most interested in how policymaking can be used effectively in the field of crisis, stabilization and governance,” shares Nosakhare. “I hope to work in the international development sector after graduation, and use the tools I gain here to help make the world around us a more equitable place for people of all socio-political backgrounds.”
Nosakhare holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Loyola Marymount University with a minor in computer science and will be focusing on international development at SPP.
Javier De Leon earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from San Diego State University with an emphasis in public policy and a minor in finance. After graduation, he spent 15 months in Latin America, working for consulting firm, GO Associados in São Paulo, Brazil and NGO, Corporación Colombia Internacional in Bogota, Colombia.
“I am interested in leveraging my experience in economic development and studies to prepare me for a career in foreign service. While at SPP, I hope to focus particularly on foreign and trade policy as well as refining my memo-writing skills,” reveals De Leon. “As I aim to begin a meaningful career in public service, I look forward to making a positive impact in the lives of fellow Americans domestically and abroad.”
Having spent the last four years working as a manager for World Trade Center San Diego, the international affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, De Leon managed the organization’s flagship export assistance program, MetroConnect, and oversaw binational collaborative efforts between San Diego and Tijuana. De Leon plans to pursue a career in foreign service upon graduation from SPP, helping to support American interests and promote democratic values abroad.
Laura Fairman comes to SPP with a degree in international politics and development from Georgetown University. Fairman had the opportunity to work for the Georgetown Institute of Women, Peace and Security as well as study and conduct research abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She developed her passion for foreign affairs while earning her bachelor’s degree. Since graduating from Georgetown, Fairman has worked in economic consulting for Deloitte and most recently, has led financial and grants management at Neo Philanthropy, a fiscal sponsor for innovative justice movements.
“During my time as assistant director of financial planning and analysis at NEO Philanthropy, I had the privilege of being part of an organization housing over 100 projects in issue areas like immigrant justice, democracy and reproductive rights. I am passionate about merging quantitative and qualitative analysis to evaluate program or policy impact and make informed decisions,” asserts Fairman. “I hope to begin a career in the federal government where I can work toward advancing equitable global economic development.”
Fairman plans to specialize in international development and economic policy at SPP and pursue a career with the federal government upon graduation.
Students who are chosen as Robertson Fellows must be currently enrolled in a two-year Master of Public Policy program and must express a strong commitment to pursuing a career in the federal government, specifically in areas related to foreign policy, national security and international affairs. As part of the program, Robertson Fellows are expected to complete a Robertson internship and are required to work for the federal government for at least three of their first seven years after graduating, while also demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language upon graduation.
The Robertson Foundation for Government is a nonprofit family foundation with a mission to identify, educate and inspire graduate students in the United States to pursue careers in the federal government, specifically in the fields of foreign policy, national security and international affairs. This foundation was established in honor of the late philanthropists Charles and Marie Robertson and bears their name.