2016 Heinz Fellowship Committee Report
April 14, 2016


The six committee members, including Susan Berenson of ’86, Jay Coleman of ’86, Al Durfee, Rob Hanke, Peter Knudsen, and Tom Yamin met for lunch at the Graduate Club with all four awardees from last year.  The conversation at lunch began an awesome day.  Last year’s awardees described their summer experiences especially in regards to their future career possibilities as follows:

Amy Chang interned at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  In addition to preparing backgrounders for the Secretary and in one case for the Cabinet, Amy developed an appreciation for how a huge bureaucracy is needed for such a large organization to function effectively.

Ellie Dupler worked in the Office of Global Health Diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State.   Ellie helped prepare for a U.S and China conference on non-communicable diseases and assisted with organizing a course for Foreign Service Officers to integrate health topics into their diplomatic agendas.

Emmet Hedin spent his summer in the policy department of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.  One of Emmet’s experiences was working with private sector interests in drafting a policy regarding bass fishing. Quoting Emmet’s report about his summer, “I will not forget the support and smiles I received from the committee on the day of my interview, nor will I let their generosity stop with me.”

Mason Ji was a White House intern in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.  He implemented a community dialogue method that he had developed earlier that ended up with 100,000 citizens and government employees using it to communicate with each other.  He traveled to five community roundtable events across the country and plans to pursue a career in public service.  Mason was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship this spring.  Recently he organized a White House Asian American and Pacific Islanders Conference at Yale about increasing interest in politics and government.

After lunch and just before meeting this year’s applicants, the committee discussed how we would parcel out the $24,000 available.  There was the commonly shared understanding that this year’s applicants were the most deserving of any group that we had interviewed during our six year’s time on the committee.  We had selected nine to be interviewed from the twelve that had been pre-selected for us.  Eight followed through will interviews and one of those received funding elsewhere.  Knowing that we had an extremely difficult task ahead, we decided to ask each applicant what was the minimum support that they needed to still be able to pursue their summer plan with the hope that we could provide at least partial funding to all.  It turned out that we provided full funding to four of the applicants and partial funding to three as follows:

Philip Abraham applied for funds to work at the U.S. Department of State’s International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau.  Philip has been a Research Assistant for Professor Alexandre Debs studying why some states opt for proliferation and what factors can induce states to forego nuclear weapons.  Philip was granted $1,600.

Madeline Bauer plans to intern at the U.S. Department of State’s East Asian Bureau.  Madeline is a dual major in History and East Asian Studies and would like to pursue a career in government with a focus on China.  We granted Madeline $2,900.

Liam Arnade-Colwill is a resident of Hawai’i and would like to work in the home office of Senator Brian Schatz.  Liam is particularly interested in improving educational opportunities and addressing the poverty of the people of Hawai’i.  We awarded Liam $3,242.

Brendan Hellweg has received an internship at the HUD Office of Recapitalization to assist on policies to reduce the current $26 billion backlog to repair public housing.  Brendan is pursuing an interest that was first developed during high school in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  Brendan’s award is $3,400.

Cara Meyer is currently studying at Oxford, UK.  We interviewed her via Skype.  Cara will be working in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Nashville, TN working in the office that provides counsel regarding last minute stays of execution.  Cara worked last summer at a law firm in London and in the long term would like to try to eliminate the injustices and prejudices in our legal system.  We granted Cara $2,800.

Andi Peng has accepted an internship at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland to work on software engineering and development of the Hyperloop, the high speed propulsion technology proposed by Elon Musk.  Andi is a double major in Cognitive Science and Global Affairs and is the Head Teaching Assistant of Computer Science 50, the new and most popular undergraduate course at Yale.  We awarded Andi $5,000.

In addition, we awarded $4,590 to a student who will be doing highly classified work.

It is hard to fully communicate the sense of awe that our Committee had for both last year’s awardees and this year’s applicants.  All of the students expressed a passion about aiding some aspect of the human condition.  None seemed to be motivated by a desire to just to burnish their resumes.  We realize that we interview students who are exceptional, even at Yale, but this year especially, we concluded our five hour session with amazement at the excellence and commitment of all twelve of today’s students whom we met with.  It really was a privilege.

Peter Knudsen, Chairman
Class of 1960