Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program

Is it for you?

The program seeks to create effective leaders who will understand and develop innovative solutions to the problems and root causes of hunger and poverty through political means. For the first five months of the eleven-month program, fellows are placed in community-based organizations throughout the country. The remainder of the term is spent in nonprofits or government agencies in Washington, D.C. where fellows use the practical experience that they gained to develop policy at a national level to fight problems of hunger and poverty. Throughout the fellowship, fellows hone their skills and build a strong cohort through in-person trainings, retreats, and professional development sessions. The Congressional Hunger Center will provide Emerson Fellows with a total financial package in the range of $38,000 to $43,000 over the duration of the fellowship.

What are the key dates?

JHU Campus Deadline (submit first drafts of one-page résumé and application essays): December 7, 2020 at 9am ET

Official deadline: January 11, 2021

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the Emerson Fellows Program must have:

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent legal residency.
  • a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.

Additional selection criteria:

  • Commitment to ending hunger and poverty in the US.
  • Commitment to racial equity and social justice.
  • Flexibility and ability to adjust to new situations.
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and skills.
  • Lived experience with hunger and poverty.
  • Creativity and initiative in problem solving.
  • Enthusiasm for learning from experts in the field, and searching for new models in anti-hunger and anti-poverty work.
  • Experience working in low-income communities.
  • Excitement about peer learning in a tight-knit community of Fellows.

How do you work with the NFP?

JHU nomination is not required for the Emerson, though applicants are encouraged to work with the JHU Center for Social Concern and Dr. Barry, who is available to advise them and read drafts of their essays. Applicants submit their own materials to the Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program.

The timeline gives an overview of the application process. Your first step is to contact Dr. Barry by emailing her or attending her office hours. In preparation, have a closer look below for more resources to learn about the Emerson.

November Contact Dr. Barry
early December Submit first drafts of résumé and application essays to Dr. Barry
December – January Work on application materials
mid-January Meet the Emerson official deadline

Are you competitive?

About 18-22 fellowships are awarded each year. Selection decisions are based on the following materials:

  • Online Application
  • Résumé: Limited to one page
  • Personal Statement: In one essay, the applicant should answer this series of questions: What values, principles, and identities (race, class, gender, etc.) have led to your interest in the Emerson Hunger Fellows Program? What particular qualities, knowledge, experiences, and skills will you contribute to your field and policy placements? How do you expect this fellowship to contribute to your professional goals?
  • Two short essays:
    • How have your life experiences and community work influenced your perspective on issues of hunger and poverty in the United States?
    • What role do you believe the government plays or should play in addressing complex social problems such as hunger, poverty, and systemic racism?

Letter of recommendation: One letter of recommendation is required, from someone familiar with your skills and abilities (preferably a supervisor as opposed to a faculty member). Your recommender should emphasize your written and oral communication skills, demonstrated leadership qualities or experience, and professional skills, if applicable. Your recommender submits her or his letter directly to the program via the recommendation submission page on the Emerson website. 

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website

Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program

Hear from JHU Recipients

HUB article about Olivia Chan and Ally Hardebeck, 2020-2021 Emerson Fellows

HUB article about Courtney Colwell, 2018-2019 Emerson Fellow

Read Sample Essays

Previous applications are available starting in November in the “NFP Spring Awards Portfolio.” To view it, inquire at the Study Abroad Office in Levering Hall 4B during regular walk-in hours (2:00-3:30pm, M-F). You must remain in the Study Abroad Office while viewing the portfolio and may not digitally reproduce any included materials.