First five 'Scholars in the Nation's Service' announced

Government service program sees more support

Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs has selected the first five "Scholars in the Nation’s Service," chosen from a pool of talented candidates competing for entry into the new program created to encourage more of the nation's top students to pursue careers in the U.S. federal government.

In addition, the school announced several new alumni supporters of the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative (SINSI), which launched at Princeton in 2006.

The first five Scholars in the Nation's Service were drawn from Princeton undergraduates. They will spend their final three semesters in college completing their majors, taking selected courses in public policy, learning about career opportunities in the federal government, and spending the summer after their junior year in a federal government internship.

After graduation the students will be known as Charles and Marie Robertson Government Service Scholars and will serve for two years in the federal government. They will then return to the Woodrow Wilson School to enroll in the two-year master in public affairs (MPA) program.

"We are thrilled with the caliber of the first five Scholars in the Nation's Service," said Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School. "They represent the very best of Princeton students, demonstrating a remarkable range of talents and experiences and a common passion for public service. We are providing an opportunity for them to put their skills and energy at the service of the federal government, giving them a leg up on what we hope will be a longer-term career or part of a career. At the same time, we are recruiting talent that the federal government badly needs."

All Princeton juniors who are U.S. citizens were eligible to apply to SINSI. Recipients were selected based on outstanding academic performance, a proven track record of accomplishment and a demonstrated commitment to public service. The first five scholars are:

  • Kimberly Bonner, a molecular biology major who seeks to apply her scientific background to policy matters in fields ranging from malaria eradication to energy infrastructures. She will spend this summer at the U.S. State Department working in the Office of International Health and Biodefense, located in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
  • Jordan Reimer, a politics major with certificates in Near Eastern and Judaic studies, currently honing his Arabic skills at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. This summer he will work at the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the Office of Iranian Affairs.
  • Ishani Sud, a chemical engineering major who designed a low-cost solar oven in Kenya and is interested in a range of international development issues including health, technology and security. She will intern this summer with the U.S. Naval Forces-Japan, headquartered in Yokosuka.
  • Lilian Timmermann, a Woodrow Wilson School major with a certificate in East Asian studies, who started an organization to tutor immigrants in English and financial literacy and hopes to use her Mandarin and Spanish skills in the nation’s service. This summer she will be assigned to the State Department’s Western Hemisphere Affairs Andean Office, covering Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.
  • Eugene Yi, a Woodrow Wilson School major who speaks Korean and Chinese (Mandarin), who founded a translation effort that has drawn attention from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and is interested in intelligence and other international affairs issues. He will intern this summer at the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs as well as the Office of Asian and Pacific Security Affairs at the Department of Defense.

The recipients were notified in February of their successful candidacies and were honored at a private dinner hosted by the Woodrow Wilson School in March.

Princeton formally launched the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative in February 2006. In February 2007 the Woodrow Wilson School expanded the existing program by an additional five four-year scholarships for any U.S. citizens who apply for enrollment in the school's MPA program.

The purposes of the scholarship program, modeled after the Rhodes and Marshall scholars, are twofold. The first is to raise the prestige of government service among an entire generation of college students and to encourage these students to enter government service. The second is to provide exceptional students with opportunities to experience government service first-hand and to gain the skills and contacts they will need to succeed in government service. The Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative will help draw the very best students into the school and into government service.

The Woodrow Wilson School and the Partnership for Public Service, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing public service, will work with the selected scholars to match their skills with substantive work in the federal government. In particular, in keeping with the mission of the Robertson Foundation, scholars will be encouraged to pursue careers in those areas of the federal government that are concerned with international relations and affairs.

Special activities for the scholars during the remainder of their undergraduate studies are made possible through funds created by individual donors, the newest of which are the Frank C. Carlucci '52 Scholars in the Nation's Service Fund and the Howard J. Krongard '61 Scholars in the Nation's Service Fund.

A 1952 graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School, Frank Carlucci is chairman emeritus of the Carlyle Group and served as U.S. secretary of defense and national security adviser in the Reagan administration.

Howard Krongard earned his A.B. from Princeton and received a law degree from Harvard. He is currently inspector general of the U.S. Department of State and previously served as general counsel of Deloitte & Touche and with the international law firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

James Shinn, who earned his A.B. in 1973 and his Ph.D. in 2001 from the Woodrow Wilson School, also has provided additional seed funding to support the expansion of the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative. Shinn is principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs at the Department of Defense; previously he was the national intelligence officer for East Asia at the Central Intelligence Agency and, before that, senior fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Initial donors to the program include the following Woodrow Wilson School alumni and their families: Andrea Bernstein '80, a senior vice president of Oxygen Media, and Tom A. Bernstein, co-founder and president of Chelsea Piers LP; Frederick Hitz '61, the first president-appointed inspector general of the Central Intelligence Agency; Gilbert Omenn '61, a health policy expert and professor of medicine and genetics at the University of Michigan; and Martha A. Darling MPA '70, a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences and a White House fellow under U.S. Treasury Secretary and 1956 Princeton graduate alumnus W. Michael Blumenthal.

Testimonials about the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative from school alumni and former government officials are available online .