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The Perry World House fellow program lets undergraduate students participate in workshops and seminars and collaborate with small groups on a year-long policy-based research project. 

Credit: Kylie Cooper

Thirty-one undergraduate students will catalyze their interest in global affairs as the newly selected class of 2020-21 Perry World House Undergraduate Student Fellows. 

Perry World House announced the list of selected fellows who will participate in the year-long program, which offers students leadership, mentoring, and networking opportunities in global policymaking and affairs on June 17. 

Selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants, the newly assembled cohort is a diverse set of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors from four undergraduate schools and many different countries. Their fields of study vary, including declared majors in physics, business analytics, philosophy, and gender, sexuality, and women's studies.

Fellows will participate in workshops and weekly seminars throughout the year, and will collaborate in small groups on a year-long policy-based research project. The students will travel to Washington, D.C. and New York City to learn about global policy challenges from key policymakers, and the year will culminate with a conference hosted by Perry World House where students will present their projects to real-world policymakers. 

Rising College senior and Perry World House Fellow Alexandra Breckenridge said she applied to the program to learn more about America’s relationship with Africa, especially her home country of South Africa. As a double major in history and politics, philosophy, and economics, Breckenridge said she is primarily interested in fields of human rights law and healthcare policy.

Rising College sophomore and Perry World House Fellow Carlos Montes said he applied to the program because he wanted to translate his academic experience and his interest in systemic reform into developing policy-relevant output. 

The application process, which ran from December to February, required an in-person interview and short essays about pertinent global issues, students' previous collaborative experiences, and students' prior engagement with Perry World House. 

The program was founded in 2016, the same year that Perry World House was established, to establish an emphasis on small group conversations and collaboration.

Although Penn has not yet released an official statement regarding the upcoming fall semester operations, political science professor and Perry World House Interim Director Michael Horowitz said he believes the program is capable of succeeding virtually. He said that last year's undergraduate fellows program experienced a successful transition to virtually hosted seminars and conferences towards the end of the spring 2020 semester.

"This program is one of the reasons why I got into teaching in the first place," Horowitz said. "We continue to innovate what we do with the program both to keep it fresh for the students and to keep up with the world."

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