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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: October 8, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Announces New Virginia Management Fellows

In collaboration with Virginia Tech, program aims to develop next generation of government leaders

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the newest cohort of Virginia Management Fellows, a program that works with Virginia Tech to train and prepare government leaders. 

“Today, we welcome the 19 new Virginia Management Fellows to the start of their public service careers in our Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam.  “Through the Fellows program, this group of aspiring agency leaders will put their diverse education and experiences to work as we plan for Virginia's future by training them to be even stronger leaders.”

The General Assembly first approved the Virginia Management Fellows program in 2017. The Office of the Secretary of Administration oversees the program. The Department of Human Resource Management provides additional support and infrastructure.

“We are welcoming the largest group of Fellows to date, with recruitment gearing up for the 2022-2024 Virginia Management Fellows cohort,” said Secretary of Administration Grindly Johnson. “The Virginia Management Fellows program is an essential element for attracting and developing a diverse, early career workforce in Virginia state government.”

“The proof that the program works is the ease in which we are able to graduate Fellows from the program into full time positions within our state entities,” said Department of Human Resource Management Director Emily Elliott. “Together, the Department of Human Resource Management and Virginia Tech work with the Fellows to build skills in customer service; operations; legislation, regulation, and compliance; and analytics. But we’re also building critical workplace skills in accountability and performance evaluation.  Deanna Goldstein, Workforce Development Director, and Sarah Frame, Virginia Management Fellows Program Coordinator, are key to the program’s continued success.”

“This service-learning project helps to model one of the most important public service employee traits—that is a commitment to Virginia’s people—both in and outside of the workplace,” said Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs Associate Director and Virginia Management Fellows program director Leisha LaRiviere

During the two-year program, Virginia Management Fellows learn and practice technical and generalist skills that are important to state agencies. Each Fellow is assigned a mentor to help them with projects, hands-on agency work, and research efforts.

Virginia Management Fellows will build or strengthen skills in self-awareness, team development, appreciative leadership, and project management as members of the Virginia Public Sector Leader program.

The cohort gains day-to-day work experience through technical seminars and three 8-month agency rotations.  This summer, Fellows will also take a graduate school course in financial management and public budgeting. They will gain a greater understanding of fiscal concepts, budgeting processes, and how to work with web-based applications for fiscal analysis. 

The cohort selects a local nonprofit for which they will research, plan, organize, budget, fund, implement, and evaluate. Last year, the Fellows wrote curriculum, packed and mailed supplies, and led online leadership sessions for youth ages 9-13 for The Next Star Arts program.

The ultimate goal at the end of the program is to have the Fellows hired in all branches of Virginia state government.

The 2021 –2023 Virginia Management Fellows are:

Mitchell Alexander, with a Bachelor’s in criminal justice and political science from Roanoke College
Brendan Boylan, with a Bachelor’s in public policy and economics from The College of William & Mary
Celeste Chalkley, with a Bachelor’s in government from The College of William & Mary
Amy Cochran, with a Bachelor’s in French and government from the University of Virginia
David Cohn, with a Bachelor’s in economics from Harvard University
Cherelle Cotton, with a Master of public administration degree (in progress) from Old Dominion University and a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, economics and law from the University of Richmond
Joseph Dennie, with a Bachelor’s in government from the University of Virginia
Conrad Faett, with a Bachelor’s in political science from Virginia Tech
Alexis Green, with a Master’s in public administration (in progress) from Florida International University and a Bachelor’s in homeland security and emergency preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University
Sifon Inyang, with a Master’s in public health from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s in philosophy, politics, economics and law from the University of Richmond
Matthew Jones, with a Master’s in public administration and a Bachelor’s in international relations and national security and foreign affairs from Virginia Tech
Natima Jones, with a Master’s in clinical mental health counseling (in progress) from Virginia State University and a Bachelor’s in business management from Hampton University
Ryan LaRochelle, with a Master’s in public policy from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor’s in political science and American studies from Christopher Newport University
Madelyn Lent, with a Bachelor’s philosophy, politics, economics and law from the University of Richmond
Claire Mairead, with a Ph.D. in philosophy, Master’s in philosophy from the University of Oregon, and a Bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Mary Washington
LeGrand Northcutt, with a J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law and a Bachelor’s in English from Washington and Lee University
Payne Tarkenton, with a Master’s in political science and a Bachelor’s in political science from Virginia Tech
Breanca White, with a Bachelor’s in sociology from The College of William & Mary
Ashley Williams, with a Master’s in sociology and a Bachelor’s in sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University

Learn more about the Fellows and the November 2021 application for the new cohort here.

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