Four students have been selected this year as Robertson Fellows, in partnership with the Robertson Foundation for Government. This year’s outstanding fellows are Tucker Boyce, Javier Montalvo, Abigail Kamp and Kyle Kramer. Through the fellowship, each student receives full tuition, a cost-of-living stipend and summer internship assistance from the Robertson Foundation.
Before coming to the UMD School of Public Policy, Kramer was working as a social insurance specialist for the Social Security Administration. “I applied public policy in determining eligibility for people claiming retirement, disability and Medicare benefits,” he says. “I started wondering how policy was made, and how it has evolved to answer almost any imaginable question, despite the diverse backgrounds and needs of Social Security claimants.”
“Following my experiences with the Peace Corps and Social Security, I had a good idea that I wanted to pursue a career in civil service,” Kramer adds. “The MPP program was in line with the trajectory I had in mind … I hope the assistance, support and network built into the Robertson Fellowship will serve as a multiplier for the effort I invest moving forward. As a civil servant, I needed more experience and education to start moving toward a career. The Robertson Fellowship will provide me with the opportunity to get there.”
Following graduation, Kramer says he hopes to combine his interests in international relations and environmental policy by participating in multilateral environmental negotiations in some capacity.
The processes and skills we learn in the MPP program can be applied to jobs in a litany of fields.Tucker Boyce SPP Student
Tucker Boyce came to SPP with a deep interest in government work. “I always wanted to study international relations topics, but I also wanted to gain skills in the policymaking process before pursuing a long-term career,” he says. “The processes and skills we learn in the MPP program can be applied to jobs in a litany of fields,”
“The School of Public Policy’s combination of coursework on policymaking, budgeting and international relations topics made it stand out,” Boyce adds. “I was also excited about the ability to conduct research with professors at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM).”
Boyce also says he sees the importance of public policy skills when starting a career in government. “I find the public policy skills to be just as important as historical or area-specific knowledge about international security,” he says. “In addition to being an expert in a particular field, most government jobs require negotiation, budgeting and other public policy skills.”
Following his time at SPP, Boyce plans to pursue a career with the federal government in a nonproliferation or international security role. “I’m particularly interested in the ways that diplomacy intersects with those areas.”
Javier Montalvo came to SPP with a deep interest in transnational terrorism, intra-state conflict and foreign policy analysis. “I became interested in public policy in college after doing a few undergraduate internships in New York City,” he says. “I worked on a political campaign and for a legal start up company that provides free legal resources for low-income families. Both experiences inspired me to study public policy to help solve challenging problems in our communities.”
“I hope that the network and the skills that I build through the fellowship will allow me to pursue a long-term career in public service,” he says. “I think that in order to make a difference, you have to know how the system functions, develop writing and communications skills and work effectively with your colleagues. I think that a public policy degree will help me in these three areas.”
Qualified students selected as Robertson Fellows have to be enrolled in the two-year Master of Public Policy program and have a commitment to a career in the federal government in foreign policy, national security and/or international affairs. Robertson Fellows also participate in a Robertson internship and are required to work for the federal government for three of their initial seven years following graduation and to demonstrate a proficiency in a foreign language at the time of graduation.
The Robertson Foundation for Government is a nonprofit family foundation that works to identify, educate and motivate US graduate students to pursue federal government careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs. The foundation was established by the family of the late philanthropists Charles and Marie Robertson, and named in their honor.