An image of the U.S. Capitol on a bright blue day. The sun illuminates the dome of the building.
Category: University News

Title: 54 Georgetown Students Selected for U.S. Presidential Management Fellows Program

These 54 Hoyas represent the largest number of finalists of any school, according to the PMF’s 2023 list. They also represent seven schools at Georgetown — the School of Foreign Service, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown Law Center, School of Business, School of Continuing Studies, College of Arts & Sciences and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences — with more than half of the students pursuing a degree in international relations, security studies and public policy.

The PMF program looks for forward-thinking yet collaborative servant leaders who are deeply committed to the good of our country,” says Elizabeth Boesen, assistant director for Public Service Initiatives in the School of Foreign Service (SFS), who coaches SFS applicants to the PMF program. I believe that Georgetown offers our nation’s best environment for developing these qualities, as well as a profound and rigorous understanding of the historical, present and future contexts of the United States in the world.

A record number of 10,000 applicants applied for the two-year program, and 850 finalists were chosen. Finalists will now begin applying for positions in federal agencies, in which they’ll receive hands-on training and rotational assignments to prepare for a career in public service.

A headshot of Carlos Chacon, a Presidential Management Fellow. Carlos wears a navy suit with a blue and white collared shirt underneath.
Carlos Chacón graduates with his Master of Science in Foreign Service in 2023.

Public Service Ambitions in Venezuela

Carlos Chacón (MSFS’23), one of this year’s finalists, hopes to leverage his PMF experience to join the civil service at the U.S. State Department or another agency focused on international or economic development. Chacón, who’s earning his Master of Science in Foreign Service, also brings his own experience training students for leadership roles in Venezuela.

In 2014, Chacón was a high school teacher in Venezuela when nationwide student demonstrations against the government broke out. Chacón’s students asked him to teach them public speaking and nonviolent forms of protest. He began offering workshops, and noticed a broader need to teach students leadership skills in response to the Venezuelan regime. Chacón decided to co-found a company, Kratos, and over six years, coached more than 650 students across Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and the U.S. 

“I’m very proud of that because these students were growing up in a country that was under a dictatorship, but they were so motivated to see a change in their country that they prepared more than anyone else,” he says. “Seeing how you can really shape the lives of people was very meaningful and inspiring. I identified that all leaders should have a teacher component, in which they show people their potential and encourage and inspire them to reach that potential.”

The experience of growing up in Venezuela, coupled with his background in Jesuit education and focus on serving others, fueled Chacón’s interest in public service. In 2021, he received the McHenry Fellowship from SFS, which covers full tuition and fees for exceptionally qualified graduate students, and set his sights on Georgetown. 

“I knew that Georgetown SFS was the best school for international affairs. But what really made a difference was the service component. I felt that this was like coming home,” he says. “I had an opportunity to go to Oxford. But I came here, and these have been two of the happiest years of my life.”

“Georgetown’s Jesuit education helps you become a leader, serve others and do something to improve our country and the world.”

-Carlos Chacón (MSFS’23)
Carlos Chacon, a graduate of the School of Foreign Service, poses with King Felipe IV of Spain during the centennial celebration for the School of Foreign Service's Master's program.
Chacón (right) with King Felipe VI of Spain (left) at the MSFS program’s 100th anniversary celebration.

At Georgetown, Chacón has interned at the World Bank and the Millenium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. foreign aid agency, and organized events about Venezuela for the MSFS program, including an event with the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela and the ambassador of Venezuela to the U.S.

He was motivated to apply to the PMF program to emulate “the current and former public servants who have shaped and inspired me” at Georgetown, he said. He also credits coaching and training from Boesen and alumni of the program that prepared him for the rigorous application process. 

“Georgetown teaches you the skills of how to understand the problem and how to think critically, but also in a creative way to address the issues. I believe that’s one of the reasons why I was selected,” he said. “When they were interviewing me, my answers were not very orthodox, but they made sense. That’s how Georgetown prepares you: To not only understand the problem, but to try to find a different view on how to solve it.” 

A Double Hoya in International Development

A headshot of Brittany Fried, who has red hair and is wearing a black suit with a white top. She is smiling at the camera.
Brittany Fried (SFS’19, G’23) is graduating with her Master’s of Public Policy from the McCourt School of Public Policy in 2023.

Another Georgetown finalist, Brittany Fried (SFS’19, G’23), is earning her ​​Master’s of Public Policy at the McCourt School of Public Policy while working as the assistant director of the Center for Jewish Civilization in SFS. Fried, a former Pelosi Scholar who now serves on its board of advisors, hopes to work in international development long-term.

Fried first felt called to international and public service while growing up in Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. She points to her experiences in SFS, including studying abroad in Rwanda, learning about the Holocaust in Eastern Europe through the SFS Centennial Lab experiential learning course, and conducting undergraduate research in Timor-Leste, to deepening her interest in an international development career. 

McCourt’s focus on quantitative and critical analysis skills, including in project development and ethics, gave her the tools she needed to be “a more effective development practitioner and public servant,” she says.

“I could not be more grateful for the knowledge, experiences and relationships I have developed as a double Hoya and a Georgetown staff member,” she says. “Georgetown’s academics have prepared me to be a strong critical thinker, innovator and communicator. Its experiences have enabled me to serve as a reliable team member and colleague, and to view situations in a holistic manner. The relationships give me strength, encouragement and important feedback for growth. 

“Together, I believe these skills and relationships will prepare me to be a successful PMF and positively serve our government.”

This year’s McCourt cohort represents the highest number of finalists in the school’s history, says Briana Green, director of the Office of Career Development and Alumni Engagement at the McCourt School of Public Policy, who coaches McCourt students on the PMF application process.

“It is a testament to the caliber of students at McCourt as well as their commitment to public service,” she says. “I congratulate all of our students on this amazing accomplishment.”