The Patrick Healy Fellows program is composed of six guiding principles, or pillars, which serve as the foundation upon which the program is built: fellowship, mentorship, community service, education, programming, and financial assistance.
These pillars give the program structure and add value to the individual Fellows’ college experience. All programming, events, and educational opportunities sponsored by the Fellows, ties back to one or more of the pillars. Each of the pillars is described in detail below.
Through regular interaction with each other, the Fellows are afforded the opportunity to collaborate with a group of exceptional student leaders of different backgrounds from the time they are selected as sophomores. As a product of the highly-selective admissions process, Fellows are surrounded by other Georgetown students who share in their commitment to academic excellence, to creating a better Georgetown and to addressing issues affecting the university, with a particular concern for students of color. At the same time, the selection committee attempts to integrate diversity into the selection process, choosing students who are leaders in different areas of interest on campus. Current and prior participants have indicated relationships developed through the program are not only strong, they are transformative.
Each August, before the commencement of the academic year, the Fellows travel to New York City for the PHF Retreat Weekend. During the Retreat, Fellows are exposed to various organizations (professional, educational, non-profit/NGOs, etc) to learn more about potential career opportunities. These visits also provide Fellows with rare networking opportunities, facilitating the chance to speak directly with executives at Fortune 500 companies and leading non-profit organizations. In addition to the professional focus, we also have bonding activities (dinners, museum visits, etc.) during the weekend, designed to facilitate a greater sense of togetherness among the Fellows. Finally, the weekend serves as a concentrated retreat to plan for the year ahead.
Each Fellow is mentored by one or more Georgetown graduates, typically alumni that are active in the field or fields in which the Fellow has particular career interests. These relationships offer Fellows insight into potential career opportunities. Furthermore, mentors are often instrumental in assisting Fellows with internship, graduate school and job searches. Mentors, as former Fellows and/or Georgetown alumni, also offer insight into the Georgetown campus life experience, as well as advice and guidance. Although each Fellow has designated mentors, all alumni who are a part of the program are available to provide mentorship to any of the Fellows.
From an alumni perspective, the program asks that mentors keep in consistent contact with their mentee (offering career or other advice when needed), that they make an effort to attend program events during each school year, and that they assist the program either organizationally, financially, or both.
Fellows who receive mentorship from Georgetown alumni also work together to provide mentor Washington, D.C.-area schoolchildren as part of their community service. For the last seven years, the Fellows have led “Kids2College,” a program run through the efforts of Georgetown’s Center for Minority Educational Affairs. Through “Kids2College,” the Fellows provide tutoring assistance to a number of schoolchildren in the District and also attempt to prepare those students for a future that includes a college education. The Fellows are expected to participate in this important program as a group, in order to share in a common opportunity to be mentors in their own right. In addition, most Fellows participate and often coordinate other community service projects and programs. Being a Fellow allows students to become involved in each others’ projects and offers students an incubator in the event that they wish to begin a service project of their own.
The PHF program provides Fellows with an educational enrichment to enhance their Georgetown experience, specifically focusing on topics of interest to students of color. It does so by providing opportunities for the students to participate, without expense, in: (i) seminars with Georgetown professors to discuss books, films or other topics, particularly those of interest to people of color; (ii) discussions with speakers both in positions of prominence in the Georgetown community (such as the University President and the Dean of Students) as well as in various fields of employment; and (iii) opportunities to attend cultural programming in the Washington, D.C. area (such as theatrical or musical performances, or museum exhibitions). While many of these experiences are created by the Board and alumni, Fellows have the opportunity to provide suggestions and input related to potential books, discussion topics and events of interest.
As part of their participation in the program, the students plan a number of events to benefit the larger Georgetown community, events that focus on topics of interest to minority students. The shape of these events changes with each entering class. In the past, Fellows have been instrumental in bringing speakers to campus, organizing panel discussions, and increasing increase awareness of important issues. Additionally, Fellows and alumni work together to plan events for the greater Georgetown community. For example, in March 2005, the Fellows coordinated a panel discussion on hate crimes featuring the US Attorney for Washington D.C., Kenneth Wainstein, and Vice President of Student Affairs, Todd Olson, among others.
Each Spring, students and alumni plan the Patrick Healy Fellows Program Interview Weekend. During this time, alumni return to campus and interview a group of prospective Fellows, participate in events with the present Fellows and welcome the new Fellows into the program after their selection. Each year, the Interview Weekend coincides with the birthday of Patrick Healy himself, February 27, and involves an event focusing on the life and background of the program’s namesake.
Aside from providing funds to enable the students to enjoy other benefits of the program, the program provides the Fellows with some additional financial assistance to make the cost of an undergraduate education more affordable. The alumni of the Fellowship recognize the high cost of a Georgetown education and the additional, non-academic burdens it can create. Increasing the scope of this assistance is a constant goal of the founders and alumni.