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Students

Whether they are in big cities or small towns, Nevins Fellows have the opportunity to directly impact the Victoria_Nevinscommunities in which they work. The experiences plant the seed for a future working in advocacy groups and allow fellows to have experiences outside of their comfort zones.

Nevins Fellow Victoria Phelps interned at the Participatory Budgeting Project in Brooklyn, New York. While there, she created tools that the organization uses to bring the participatory budgeting process to cities around the country.

"I wanted the opportunity to meet people who lead different lives from me and whose experiences informed their opinions," Victoria says. "I made the assumption that no one really cares about democracy, but to see people who work long hours at minimum wage jobs take the time to come in and have conversations about these things at night was so inspiring."

Fall 2018 

Penn State students who are interested in participating in the program should register for the Democratic Leadership course:

PLSC 209/CAS 209
Thursday, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
September 27-October 25
311 Boucke

This one-credit course provides a background for this approach to democratic leadership, and it also prepares students for the Nevins Fellows paid internship program in Summer 2019. Those who complete this course will have first priority when awarding these internships each year. McCourtney Institute staff will select 10-12 students from the course to receive an internship.

The course includes workshops that introduce students to effective civic leaders in government or the non-profit sector, as well as seminars that cover democracy, dialogue, and deliberation more broadly.  

The course will meet at these times:
  • Thursday, September 27, 3-5 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 4, 3-5 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 18, 3-5 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 25, 3-5 p.m. 
  • SundayOctober 7, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • SundayOctober 21, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
If you wish to enroll, contact John Gastil at with a note saying why you want to take the course.