Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Rachel Lowenstein

"My master’s in public affairs has focused on evidence-based policy with a concentration in healthcare and education."

Rachel Lowenstein MPA ’17

Rachel Lowenstein Named Presidential Management Fellowship Finalist

Rachel Lowenstein, a master’s student in Public Affairs, is one of 417 finalists for the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF), selected from a pool of more than 6,300. With this honor, she will seek appointment as a Presidential Management Fellow in a federal agency. The leadership development program is intended to develop a cadre of potential government leaders. 

Why did you pursue this U.S. fellowship?
As with most who apply for the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF), I am motivated to use my skills and abilities to serve others. My master’s in public affairs has focused on evidence-based policy with a concentration in healthcare and education. I believe that integrating scientific methodology into government practices has the capacity to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of social programs. The PMF attracted me because of the unique opportunity it provides to work towards my goals while continuing to build on the skills and knowledge acquired while at the Watson Institute.

What are the potential appointments in federal agencies?
Potential appointments for PMFs range across the executive branch, as well as, the Library of Congress and the Congressional Research Office. Roles range from those related to specific skills learned in graduate education, such as those who studied law or engineering, or a more general application of areas studied with a mix of management or project administration. Due to the hiring freeze, which as I write this is awaiting official guidance, it is unknown what opportunities there will be for this year’s class. I am personally looking for an opportunity to use and continue my research and policy interests in social programs.

Please describe the PMF application process.
The PMF application process was completely recreated for this year. While in the past the process has involved three rounds of tests and interviews, this year consisted of one round, which included an application, three online-assessment tests, and one written essay. While considerably shorter than previous application procedures, it still stressed the main competencies listed as essential to the program, including leadership, organizational, quantitative, time-management, and communication skills. The PMF office told this year’s class that they evaluated us holistically, based on our applications, assessments, school accreditations, and other experience.

What does this opportunity mean to you?
I am honored to be selected as a PMF finalist. It is a challenging time for many of our social programs and while it is quite daunting to consider starting a career in the federal government at this time, I feel it is not only my honor, but my responsibility to work that much harder to serve our country and work on the social programs I have been studying here at Brown.