October 11, 2012

Grant to help women interested in government

by Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A three-year grant program established at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will create opportunities for women interested in government and public service.

A partnership between the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and the SIU Foundation with the Celia M. Howard Fellowship Fund will allow a student to gain real-world experience in public service, government and public policy. This will provide the student with a significant advantage in landing a permanent position after graduating from the University.

The Cecilia M. Howard Fellow will serve as a graduate assistant at the Simon Institute, receiving mentorship from senior staff. Among those providing guidance will be Linda Baker, a SIU Carbondale professor, who held key managerial positions for three Illinois governors, including three years as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, the largest state agency.

The Howard Fellowship will provide an annual grant of $20,000 for three years beginning in 2013, to fund the fellowship at the Paul Simon Institute.

"This partnership is especially meaningful as the Institute has spent the past year focused on encouraging college-aged women to be more active in politics and government," said Matt Baughman, Institute associate director. "We are grateful to the Howard Fellowship Fund for its support of our students and for the trust it places in the Simon Institute."

Candidates for the Howard Fellow can come from any major, but must demonstrate a serious commitment to working in government to be considered. A preference will be given to female students. In addition, the selected student must be a U.S. citizen, domiciled in the State of Illinois, and have lived there for a minimum of two years, have received a bachelor's degree and maintain an overall "B" grade point average or better.

The Fellowship will also provide the student with an opportunity to interact with international, national and state government and political leaders who visit the University as guests of the Simon Institute. Additionally, they will participate in research projects, work on policy issues related to their field of study and help identify speakers for the annual Jeanne Hurley Simon Lecture Series. The Simon Institute will allow flexibility to design the opportunity to best fit the Howard Fellow each year, including an option for the student to work with a state agency or constitutional officer.

"For more than 50 years, the Celia M. Howard Fellowship has worked to assist Illinois women in obtaining educational opportunities and training in the fields of government and diplomacy. We are excited for the opportunity to partner with the Simon Institute in achieving these goals," says Fayrene Wright, Chair of the Celia M. Howard Fellowship Fund Committee.

The Celia Howard Fellowship program was established in 1948 by the Illinois Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. Celia M. Howard (1876-1950) was respected for her distinguished service, including 40 years in the U.S. District Court in Chicago. A graduate of John Marshall Law School, Howard was admitted to practice before the Illinois Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the U.S. Court. She was also known for a sincere devotion to humanitarian and civic work, particularly the American Red Cross.