Howard University Awards Six Students with the 2019-20 Patricia Roberts Harris Public Affairs Fellowship

Howard University announced the selection of six students who will receive the Patricia Roberts Harris Public Affairs Fellowship (PRH). Administered by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, the fellowship seeks to prepare Howard University students for careers in public affairs in an increasingly global world. To date, more than 200 Howard University alumni have been Patricia Roberts Harris fellows.

“We are excited to relaunch the Patricia Roberts Harris Public Affairs fellowship program after a 12-year hiatus because it is a fitting tribute to one of our most distinguished alumni,” says Tonija Hope Navas, director of Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center. “This opportunity is important because it provides mentorship from prominent public affair professionals, and financial support to allow them to participate in internship opportunities that are typically not accessible.”

The cohort includes a mix of students, matriculating through Howard at the undergraduate and graduate levels, from various backgrounds with diverse majors of study. The six fellows are:

  • Hadiyah Cummings, a junior political science and criminology double major
  • Anyah Gilmore-Jones, a sophomore political science major
  • Jessica Grider, a junior media, journalism and film major
  • Dyrrell Moon, a junior political science and sociology double major
  • Virgil Parker, a junior media, journalism and film major
  • Lyndsie Whitehead, a doctoral student in the educational leadership and policy studies program

“Congratulations to the 2020 cohort for being recipients of this prestigious fellowship. I look forward to the growth our students will experience as PRH Fellows and the subsequent contributions they will make to create a more just and inclusive world,” says President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “I applaud the Bunche Center’s commitment to our Howard Forward 2024 strategic plan. Re-launching the PRH Fellowship after a 12-year hiatus with added elements designed to inspire new knowledge, enhance academic excellence, and facilitate service opportunities, is a fitting tribute to Ambassador Harris.”

The PRH Fellowship was established in 1987 to uphold the legacy of one of Howard’s most distinguished alumni, Ambassador Patricia Roberts Harris (1924–1985). A summa cum laude graduate of Howard’s College of Liberal Arts in 1945, Ambassador Harris was praised for her contributions to the public affairs profession, both domestically and internationally.

Ambassador Harris is legendary for achieving a series of industry firsts, including first female dean of Howard University’s School of Law (1969); first African American woman to hold a U.S. Ambassadorship with her appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg (1965-1967); and first African American woman to hold a cabinet position with her appointment as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1977-1979), and the first African American to hold the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, later renamed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1979-1981). Upon her passing, Ambassador Harris left a bequest to Howard University to aid Howard students in funding public affairs internship opportunities domestically and abroad.

As a first-generation college student, Grider says she admires how Ambassador Harris always made it a priority to give back to her community while working on her own career aspirations.

“Ambassador Harris’ work for the Human Rights Council and as a foreign officer is my dream. Like her, I am committed to act in great service for all people,” says Grider. “My goal is to work for a multi-lateral organization or NGO abroad. To have an opportunity where I can be able to be in an environment where I can learn and improve my skills, will allow me to enter even more spaces beneficial to my career.”

During their one-year fellowship, the cohort will be encouraged to become dynamic professionals in public affairs and engage in the three major programmatic components: mentorship, internship, and the Patricia Roberts Harris Annual Lecture in Public Affairs to be held in spring 2020. They will be aided with a minimum $2,500 stipend that’s applicable to their summer internship. The stipend amount is determined upon the fellow’s need during the summer internship, their class status (undergraduate or graduate), and internship location (domestic or international).

About The Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship The PRH Fellowship is made possible due to a bequest issued by Patricia R. Harris (1924 – 1985) to Howard University in 1987. She was considered one of Howard University’s most distinguished alumni. She graduated summa cum laude from Howard’s College of Liberal Arts in 1945. Harris was praised for her contributions to the public affairs field, both domestically and internationally.

Some of her most notable success are industry firsts, including: first female dean of Howard University’s School of Law (1969); first African American woman to hold a U.S. Ambassadorship with her appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg (1965-1967); first African American woman to hold a cabinet position with her appointment as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1977-1979); and the first African American person to hold the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, later named Health and Human Services (1979-1981).

Over 200 Howard University alumni have been fellows of the PRH Fellowship, including Judge Darrin Gayles of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida; Allison Brown, executive director of the Communities for Just Schools; and Mischa Thompson, Ph.D., of the Helenski Commission.

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