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Management Track


presidential medal

American University has 29 finalists for the 2023 Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF)—the federal government’s premiere pipeline for moving graduates with advanced degrees into leadership positions. For the second consecutive year, AU ranks fifth in the nation for finalists for the prestigious two-year program, besting Columbia, Yale, and UC Berkeley. 
The School of International Service led the way for AU with 14 finalists. A dozen are from the School of Public Affairs, two are from the Washington College of Law, and one is from the College of Arts and Sciences. 
“PMF is such a great on-ramp to federal service. I’m thrilled that so many SIS graduates are finalists—but not surprised,” Dean Shannon Hader says. “They carry the value of leadership through service to humanity, and they’ve received trainings and pursued experiences in the best tradition of our SIS alumni. I’m convinced that even as they learn the ropes of federal service, they will also be immediately effecting positive change in the teams that they land—be it foreign policy, global governance, peace, human rights, or international development. I can’t wait to see what they all do next.”
Finalists will have 12 months to land an appointment with a federal agency, which brings with it training, mentorship, and the opportunity to embark on a challenging and satisfying career in public service. “It allows them to get under the tent,” says Robert SanGeorge, lead advisor for AU’s PMF candidates. “Once they do their two years, they can begin to move around to other agencies.”
SanGeorge, a career advisor in SPA, began working with PMF applicants in 2012 and has since built out an intensive preparatory program that kicks off every year in July. “It’s important for me to know the test to the nth degree so I can put out materials for our students and answer their very nuanced questions.” The process also includes resume reviews and multiple rounds of practice interviews.
This year 850 current students and recent graduates from 249 higher education institutions around the globe were selected as finalists from a pool of more than 10,000 applicants. AU converted 69 percent of its semi-finalists into finalists. And while the spirit of service runs through all of AU’s PMF finalists, SIS and SPA have historically made the strongest showings. 
“We are very proud of our 12 PMF finalists this year,” SPA dean Vicky Wilkins says. “They will continue the tradition of SPA graduates who, by committing to public service, take lessons from our classrooms and apply them to address critical challenges facing our nation. My hope is these students work to build a better society by improving how our government works for the people.”