March 31, 2006

New York, NY – Three students from the Columbia University School of Social Work – Emily Ball, Somer Bessire and Wendie Veloz – have been named Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The program is highly competitive and selected fellows participate in a two-year paid internship working in the Federal government that includes leadership development, training, and rotations among various Federal agencies.

“We are proud that Emily, Somer and Lydia have been selected to participate in this prestigious national program. They are outstanding students who have demonstrated their commitment in their field of study,” said Dean Jeanette Takamura. “This training will offer them an opportunity to work with various federal agencies and address pertinent issues relating to public service.”

  • Emily Ball – is currently the Vice President of the Student Union at CUSSW. Her passion for family and children policy stemmed from her undergraduate studies at Boston College, where she majored in psychology, as well as her experience as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer. Emily’s work and volunteer experience includes Americorps VISTA and Children’s Rights. In her spare time, Emily enjoys long-distance running.
  • Somer Bessire – is currently a student in the advanced standing program. Her field of practice is contemporary social issues. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Somer received her undergraduate degree in social work from the University of Kansas before joining the Peace Corps program in Ukraine. Upon returning to the U.S., she settled in New York to pursue her MSW. Somer is currently at a field placement working for the Civil Court of the City of New York.
  • Wendie Veloz – is currently working at a field placement in Uganda. Her field of study is social welfare policy. Lydia is an active leader at CUSSW, where she co-chairs the Latino Caucus and helps to organize its activities. She has also been involved in the communities which she has served, having volunteered to mentor at-risk teens, coordinate non-profit workshops, and conduct charity drives for foster youth. In her free time, Lydia enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling.

Established by Executive Order in 1977, the PMF Program draws graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines and diverse backgrounds to the Federal service. The PMF program selects men and women who have a clear commitment and interest in the leadership and management of public policies and programs. The two-year paid program includes 80 hours of formal classroom training each year, challenging assignments, accelerated promotions, and opportunities to network between agencies. Fellows are hired by agencies and given exposure to domestic and international issues in such areas as public administration, technology, science, criminal justice, health, and financial management. Fellows often use this experience as a stepping stone to highly visible and respected leadership positions in the Federal Government.

Leave a Reply