Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts


Whether they are in big cities or small towns, Nevins Fellows have the opportunity to directly impact the communities 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.”

Nevins Fellow Christopher Carver, a senior majoring in Education and Public Policy, completed his internship at the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and said the experience changed the way he thinks about political polarization and the need for bipartisan solutions.

“There are a lot of problems this country faces that people on both sides of our political spectrum agree on, but do not realize,” Carver said. “I believe engaging with individuals a person does not think they will agree with allows for that clarity to reveal itself. Through the process of taking steps towards consensus on issues, compassion and trust are also built.”

2021 Fellows

Congratulations to the following students, who will be completing Nevins Fellows internships this summer:

Internship Organization
Connor Kelley
National Civic League
Elizabeth MacBride
Heathmere Center for Cultural Engagement
Cameron McColgan
Healthy Democracy
Wynter Moore
Dispute Resolution Institute
Nicole Myers
Civic Genius
Mikayla Reed
Unite America
Carita Reid
City of Austin
Dan Risser
Participatory Budgeting Project
Monet Smith
Public Agenda

Democratic Leadership Course

CAS/PL SC 209: Democratic Leadership

Fall 2021, 1 credit,
Instructor: Lori Bedell, associate teaching professor of communication arts and sciences
Thursdays, 12:05-2:05 p.m.
350 Health and Human Development Building

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

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 the summer. 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.