New Global Politics Fellows Coordinator Shares Ideas for Program’s Future

By Jordan Beauregard

“Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked with college students making a difference in their local, national and global communities through experiences that defy the bounds of campus,” says Mary Denlinger, the new coordinator of George Mason University’s Global Politics Fellows program (GPF). “I’m thrilled to continue this work with the Global Politics Fellows!”

Denlinger joined the George Mason University in August. Every semester, every Mason student has the opportunity to take classes at the Arlington Campus, the home of the Schar School of Policy and Government, and gain professional internship experience.

She shared some ideas that she is exploring and considering for the program’s future.

What is GPF?

GPF is a 15-credit semester program. Students apply early each semester to become members of the following semester’s cohort. Fellows take three classes: Democracy in Global Perspectives (GOVT 434), Human Rights (GOVT 445) and International Law and Organization (GOVT 446). The remaining six credits are reserved for an internship, which is required.

In addition to taking courses and gaining internship credit, it gives all students a stipend for commuting costs and Schar School students the option to declare an automatic concentration in International and Comparative Politics.

While new at Mason, Denlinger values that GPF gives students the opportunity to apply what they are learning in the classroom to causes and issues in the real world.

“I love helping students find meaning in these experiences,” she said, “and connecting them to their coursework to become better change agents in their communities.”

One of the students taking advantage of these experiences is Mousa Abusaif, a junior in the Schar School. He recalled how this program helped push him to find an internship. Now he works at the Center for American Homeless Veterans and Deloitte.

Ideas for the Future

After working with the Fall 2016 fellows, Denlinger has a few ideas that she is considering for future semesters.

She would like to deepen the relationships the program has with internship organizations and supervisors for whom the students are working through surveys, site visits ,and more frequent communication with supervisors to see how the fellows are doing.

She is also exploring the possibility of having fellows engage with the community. Some ideas would be to integrate “service initiatives and projects for each cohort, or conduct community-based research.”

Two of Denlinger’s potential ideas are focused around making the program more accessible for students with different socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Many students are unable to commit to an unpaid internship and rising commuting costs. Some ideas would be to establish connections with more organizations that offer paid internships or even fundraise to increase scholarship opportunities and increase stipend amounts.”

Additionally, Denlinger hopes that it may be possible to increase networking opportunities for fellows. She suggests potentially giving fellows the opportunity to directly contact high-profile professionals for guest lectures, possibly organizing networking events or even conducting interviews at the students’ internship sites and their peers’ internship sites.

The future of GPF has a wide breadth of opportunities under Denlinger’s leadership. Her possible ideas have the potential to make GPF more engaged and influential at Mason and in the broader community.

To learn more about how to apply to the Global Politics Fellows program or any of the other Arlington Fellows programs, check out their website by clicking HERE.

 If you have any further questions about GPF, contact Mary Denlinger at gpf@gmu.edu.