The Rosenthal Fellowship

11fellowsgroupThe 2012 Rosenthal class poses for a photo at the annual reception hosted by fellowship chair Rick Gilmore.

Established in 1977, the Harold W. Rosenthal Fellowship was created to expose young scholars of international relations to the inner workings of the U.S. Federal Government and Capitol Hill. The Fellowship honors the memory of Harold Rosenthal, a young Senate staff member who was a victim of international terrorism.  As a tribute to his memory, service, and commitment to the profession of international affairs, a select group of graduate students from APSIA schools are chosen to become Rosenthal Fellows each year.

I. Features of the Program

II. Nomination Process

III. Timeline

IV. Selection of Fellows 

Rosenthal 021Fellows attend a roundatable on careers in the federal government.

I. Features of the Program

The Rosenthal Fellowship offers qualified students the opportunity to spend a summer in Washington, D.C. pursuing professional fellowship positions with a Member of Congress or in the U.S. Federal Government. Fellows receive fellowship placements and, in some cases, financial stipends to support their summer in Washington. Rosenthal Fellows also join the ranks of a growing and vibrant alumni network, whose members stretch the globe. 

While in Washington, fellows are encouraged to attend the Rosenthal Roundtable Series. These lectures and panels provide students with the chance to discuss international issues with key decision-makers and government representatives.  In addition to the opportunity to share knowledge and debate, the discussions offer networking experience for students with policymakers and Rosenthal Alumni.  

Rosenthal Fellows also receive preferred consideration for the European Union Visitors Program.

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II. Nomination Process 

APSIA member schools may nominate up to three candidates from their institution who meet the eligibility criteria for the program. Members’ methodologies for selecting student nominees and internal submission deadline are left to the discretion of each APSIA member school. Students should contact their career office for more information related to their school’s internal deadline and requirements.

(1) Eligibility:

At the time of the submission of nomination documents, candidates must fulfill all of the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be a full-time student at an APSIA full member school both at the time of nomination and during the fellowship. Students must return to school for at least the fall semester following their internship.
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to public service.
  3. Possess a strong academic record.
  4. Express a keen interest in international relations.
  5. Agree to accept their Rosenthal-provided internship slot and write a memo to the Fellowship Committee at the end of the summer describing their experiences if selected as a fellow.
  6. Be a U.S. citizen or qualify for a J-1 visa through their internship placement, school, or other method. Note: APSIA and the Rosenthal Fellowship are unable to sponsor visas. 

Students who have already secured a summer internship placement with a U.S. federal agency or a member of Congress are still eligible to apply for the Rosenthal Fellowship.  However, applicants who have funding through their internship, school, or other scholarship are ineligible for Rosenthal stipends.

(2) Nomination Documents:

The following nomination documents, including items supplied by the student nominee, must be sent electronically by the member school to the APSIA Executive Office by December 1 each year 

  1. Nomination Cover Letter signed by the Dean.  Only one letter is required for multiple nominees.
  2. Application form per nominee 
  3. Curriculum Vitae/Resume per nominee
  4. A signed letter of recommendation per nominee on letterhead stationery from a professor or former work supervisor. The letter should provide input on the candidate’s character, as well as their aptitude for future success. Letters that speak specifically to the student’s suitability for this program are encouraged.
  5. Academic transcript from current university per nominee (unofficial accepted)
  6. Academic transcript(s) from universities previously attended per nominee (unofficial accepted)
  7. Writing sample (2 pages maximum) on a topic in international affairs per nominee
  8. Each student must also submit fall graduate transcripts (unofficial accepted) to the APSIA Executive Office as soon as they become available.  We understand that this date will vary from school to school, but we ask that they be submitted no later than January 31 of each yearSchools with later grade release dates should notify APSIA when nomination documents are submitted.

View sample application packet

Each student’s application packet must be submitted as an individual pdf. Applications not conforming to the style guide will be returned. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. 

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III. Timeline

The Rosenthal Fellowship Committee, in consultation with APSIA, reviews all nomination documents to select semifinalists based on their:

  • Commitment to public service,
  • Education and interest in international relations,
  • Experience, and
  • Dedication to those values and professional standards set by Harold Rosenthal and the outstanding legacy of Rosenthal Fellowship alumni.  

The APSIA Executive Office will notify candidates whether they have been selected as semifinalists by January 31 of each year.  Selected candidates must confirm their continued interest in the Rosenthal Fellowship with APSIA by email within three business days in order to remain semifinalists.  

Semifinalists then participate in the following interviews:

(Round 1)  Interview with the Rosenthal Selection Committee– Required of all semifinalists

  • Most interviews held on the first Monday of March each year in Washington, DC.
  • Each interview lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.
  • Semifinalists are strongly encouraged to interview with the Committee in-person.  However, remote interviews may be available under certain circumstances.  The Rosenthal Fellowship does not provide travel stipends to Washington, DC for interviews. 

Based on round one interviews, Rosenthal Fellowship Committee members select finalists for the Fellowship program.  If selected as a finalist, candidates seeking an internship placement then:

(Round 2)  Interview with internship placement offices – Required of Rosenthal finalists without pre-existing internship placements

  • Held on the first Tuesday of March each year in Washington DC at the U.S. Federal Agency or Congressional Office with which finalist may intern.
  • Each interview lasts 30-60 minutes
  • Finalists may have the option to interview remotely at the discretion of the placement office. 
  • Finalists are encouraged to register with USAJobs, so that they can be reviewed more efficiently by those offices who require it.

The Committee determines interview and placement assignments based on the positions available, office requirements, and the Committee’s assessment of semifinalists.  For a list of previous placements, please visit the Rosenthal website

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IV. Selection of Fellows

Finally, internship placement offices, in coordination with the Rosenthal Fellowship Committee, select the Rosenthal Fellows for that year.

After both rounds of interviews have concluded, APSIA will notify finalists of their status as soon as possible.  Notification will depend on how quickly the Rosenthal Fellowship and placement offices finalize their selections.

A select number of qualified Fellows will be eligible to receive a stipend from the Rosenthal Fellowship.  The number of stipends changes from year to year. Students will learn whether or not they will receive funding concurrent with their fellowship offer.

By accepting a Rosenthal Fellowship, finalists also agree to accept their Rosenthal-provided internship placement and to write a memo to the Fellowship Committee at the end of the summer describing their experiences.

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