The Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows Program

Schaeffer Fellows Program

The School of Public Health is committed to increasing student awareness of career options in government offices, particularly in the health sector. To meet this educational mission, the Center for Public Health Practice & Leadership launched the Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows Program in the summer of 2016. This innovative new program exposes UC Berkeley undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and majors to government careers through internship opportunities, while providing mentorship and inspiring them to pursue careers in government. 

Schaeffer Fellows gain an understanding of how the government sector functions and how policy decisions are made, and learn specific skills that are needed to enter into and be successful in government careers. Internships provide students with varied opportunities to interact with government executives and staff, while allowing them to build professional and peer networks. Students often develop lasting relationships with their internship mentors and obtain employment through their internship experiences.   

Internship opportunities with local, state, and federal agencies during summer 2017 include: 

  • Office of Congressman Ruiz, Washington D.C.
  • Office of Congressman Ruiz, Coachella Valley, CA
  • City of Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA
  • Office of Mayor Robert Garcia, Long Beach, CA
  • Office of Assemblyman Garcia, Coachella, CA
  • Department of Health Care Services, Sacramento, CA
  • Alameda Public Health Department, Oakland, CA
  • Office of Assemblyman Adam Gray, Merced, CA
  • Contra Costa Health Service, East Bay, CA
  • Santa Clara County Health and Hospital System Administration - Whole Person Care Team, San Jose, CA

Students in the program will:

  • Receive a stipend to complete a 10-week, full-time, supervised internship during the summer. 
  • Be in a structured program and need to submit a final deliverable.
  • Be invited to attend networking events or dinners with key stakeholders in the policy and government sector.

Application to the program

Stay tuned for details on how to apply for the 2018 Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows Program.

Get to Know the Schaeffer Fellows

The current cohort of the Schaeffer Fellows began the program in June 2017 and represents a rich diversity of undergraduate student backgrounds and experiences. They will graduate from the program in August 2017. Learn more about current and past Schaeffer Fellows here.  

The Schaeffer Fellows Experience

2016 Schaeffer Fellows
A group of the inaugural 2016 Fellows with Leonard D. Schaeffer at the Graduation Luncheon, August 2016.

Learn more about how the inaugural 2016 Fellows' summer experiences exploring government career opportunities made an impact.

"The fellowship provides an opportunity to explore my interests in a real-world application with a supportive team along the way."—Nelie Sithong

“Before this fellowship, I stereotyped the majority of local government workers as apathetic and contributing to the slow nature of government work. This notion could not have been more false. Never did I meet anyone apathetic toward their work. Passionate and caring people work in local government and work hard to do the best possible for communities. Channeling this same passion will be a driving force for me in deciding my career path.”
—Miguel Flores

“I have loved learning from and collaborating with experts whose intellect and care for their work and our state are unmatched. My mentor taught me how important it is to develop interdisciplinary and interdepartmental connections in order to complete work to the highest caliber. Our time together was not only a learning opportunity, but inspirational.”—Anna Costello

“I learned that as long as health disparities continue to exist, work needs to continue to be done at the systemic level, and I see myself playing a role in doing so in the future.”—David Hu

“The program was incredible—I learned so much in D.C. this summer! Overall, being a part of this program was the best possible way I could have spent a summer. I am so grateful to have been a part of it.”—Elise Aliotti

“It was an extremely memorable and valuable experience. This summer I was able to get a brief glimpse of the gears of the policymaking machine in Sacramento. I was excited by the opportunity to effect change and understand the mechanism by which change is affected on a structural level. The Fellowship combines public policy and public health, and the piece in common is the "public" piece. It opened up a whole new conversation about how the broader population is affected by, and engages with, decision-making in the public sector.”—Smitha Gundavajhala 

Questions? Please contact:

Jesús Alfaro
Fellowship Coordinator
Center for Public Health Practice & Leadership
jalfaro@berkeley.edu