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Marvin Andrews Fellows plan municipal programs while working directly with city, county managers

Deadline for graduate students to apply for next 2-year program is March 3

Exterior view of the Los Angeles City Hall building.

Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by David Mark/Pixabay

January 19, 2023

Students who aspire to be in charge of a municipality can get direct experience working with actual city and town managers in a two-year paid internship program, the Marvin Andrews Fellowship in Urban Management, offered through the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University.

Applications close March 3 for the 2023–24 cohort. Interested graduate students can find information and applications here.

Since fall semester 2022, all eight “Marvins,” as they are known, have also been working closely with the fellowship’s first Harrell-Hutchinson Visiting Urban Professional, Robert O’Neill, former executive director of the International City Managers Association. During the spring, O’Neill will spend a week at ASU, lecturing to many classes, meeting with the Marvins and the fellowship’s alumni and speaking at the ACMA winter conference Jan. 25–27, said fellowship coordinator and Professor of Practice Cynthia Seelhammer.

Eight graduate students at a time participate in the fellowship. Four are chosen each spring for the first year of the two-year fellowship, which starts each fall semester, where they conduct research for various city governments. As they move into their second year, when they are directly placed in city or county managers’ offices, a new first-year cohort is selected for the following fall.

The second-year Marvins are starting their final semester and will graduate in May. Seelhammer said they have begun the second half of their city placements.

Chloe Baldwin is working with Peoria city officials. Baldwin said she is:

  • Creating GIS maps using U.S. Census Bureau data to map unemployment, public assistance, household income, internet access and more. “I presented these maps to neighborhood and human services leadership, and they have asked me to continually assist with mapping as needed,” she said.
  • Creating the city’s municipal budget book for fiscal year 2024 to be presented to the Peoria City Council in March. “I am updating all department pages, including performance measures and supplemental requests, and sitting in on department meetings regarding the fiscal year (2024) budget,” she said.

Brock Schroeder is working with Scottsdale city officials. He said he:

  • Just finished work on the City Council orientation book. He also worked on a project improving how community meetings are staged, “which has some fun pie graphs,” he said.
  • “I am currently working on creating a new application form for the Innovation Fund, assisting in developing an innovation toolkit for the sustainability plan and creating a quarterly track on short-term rentals,” Schroeder said.

LaTisha Gilmore is working with Chandler city officials. She said she:

  • Assisted with Chandler's 2022 For Our City Day, held in the Pepperwood neighborhood.
  • Is working on a placemaking project with stakeholders in the Galveston neighborhood.
  • Is working on an onboarding and offboarding project with the city’s human resources staff.

Madalaine McConville said she is working with Tempe city officials on:

  • Street and park renaming. “I was a staff liaison with our chief of staff, after she left to work for Secretary of State Adrian Fontes,” McConville said. “I have taken over the project on my own. I will be presenting the work of the committee and recommendations to the city council on Feb. 9.  Several Tempe parks and streets are being renamed at the city council’s direction after historical research determined that their namesakes were documented members of a local Ku Klux Klan chapter in the 1920s.”
  • Boards and commissions project implementation. McConville co-presented recommendations to the city council last year on how to improve boards, commissions and processes to help them feel more appreciated.

Meanwhile, the first-year Marvins have begun interviewing with cities to determine their city placements for next year, Seelhammer said.

Dillard Collier is the Marvin assigned as staff for the Valley Benchmark Communities program, working with 13 local cities to share performance measurement data. The other three first-year Marvins are conducting research and doing projects for cities, towns and counties. 

“We recently received about a dozen such requests,” Seelhammer said. “Armando Esparza summarizes these requests and works on them with the others, Aaron Wodka and Willard Hyuck. Willard recently completed a project looking into new federal funds for the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.”

Seelhammer said the fellowship is the premier program for training and education in local government management.

“It is made possible thanks to the generous support of funders, sponsor governments, the individual managers who mentor the graduate students and ASU,” she said. “Together we are ensuring the success of local democracy by preparing the young leaders.”

The fellowship began in 2006, when current and former Valley city managers approached ASU to create a tailored program for graduate students. The fellowship, named for respected former Phoenix City Manager Marvin Andrews, has been so successful at preparing students for local government management careers that cities and towns have started offering them jobs even before they complete their final semester, Seelhammer said.

More than 60 Marvins have graduated in the 17 years since the program began, and most remain working in local government, some already serving as city managers or assistant city managers.

Recent graduates who completed the fellowship now have jobs with the cities of Phoenix and Buckeye; the Arizona League of Cities and Towns in Arizona; local governments in California and South Dakota; and the International Code Council in Washington, D.C., according to Seelhammer.

The School of Public Affairs is part of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

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