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Public Policy Fellowship Program


The Public Policy Fellowship Program was established by the Cuyahoga County Executive in 2011 to cultivate the next generation of public sector leaders in Northeast Ohio. Through the Program, which operates during the summer, entrepreneurial and highly motivated undergraduate and graduate level students gain a broad overview of county government through practical experience in a variety of policy areas. Fellows are provided with opportunities to:
  • Make personal and professional connections with the County Executive and senior staff; County Council members and senior legislative staff; other Fellows; and outside agencies partnering with the County on various program initiatives
  • Participate in site visits to various county facilities
  • Develop new ideas for projects and policies
  • Draft policy proposals to address emerging issues
  • Learn and test new skills
  • Attend press conferences, County Council hearings, staff meetings, and strategic planning sessions
  • Plan and present a “Fellowship Seminar”

Program Goals

  • Provide a practical experience in Cuyahoga County government
  • Inspire effective and ethical public leadership for Northeast Ohio
  • Invigorate County projects by injecting fresh eyes and new perspectives

2015 Participating County Agencies

Program Features

  • Public Policy Fellows are paid a stipend for their participation in the program.
  • Fellows are assigned an agency site supervisor based upon their placement and work assignment. Additional assistance, feedback and monitoring will be provided by the Public Policy Fellowship Program Coordinator, who is a staff member designated by the Executive.
  • Each participant is provided a workspace with information technology and access to other materials and resources, as appropriate.
  • Evaluations are conducted at the end of the program.
  • Fellows author a final report of their general experience and the specifics of their project. The report enriches the Fellow’s professional portfolio and provides direction for future county projects. Reports are presented during a Fellowship Seminar scheduled during the final week of the program.


The application period for the Public Policy Fellowship Program is currently closed. Updated information about next summer’s application process may be provided as early as November. Please begin to visit the website again at that time, and check back frequently.

For general inquiries, contact Marcell Spencer in the County’s Department of Human Resources at or (216) 698-6865.

Summer 2015 Fellows

Department of Regional Collaboration

David Ford is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. Ford joins the Cuyahoga County Public Policy Fellows Program after serving four years in the United States Army as a Human Intelligence Collector. His policy interests lie in the areas of transportation, infrastructure, concentrated poverty and affordable housing. Ford is an MBA candidate at Baldwin Wallace University and a graduate of the New York City Urban Fellows Program. He holds a BA in Political Science from Ohio University. During his time as a Public Policy Fellow, Ford will focus on critical issues that affect cities within the Cleveland metropolitan community, conduct detailed analysis and advance solutions that yield progress.

Department of Sustainability

After graduating from St. Ignatius High School in 2010, Christopher Knoth attended Boston College, graduating in 2014 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Faith, Peace and Justice. He is currently completing a one-year Master’s program at Durham University in England and will receive his MSc in Sustainability, Culture and Development in September 2015, upon completion of his thesis on homelessness and development in Chicago. Chris is interested in economic and community development, and has domestic and international experience working with impoverished communities. He is grateful for the opportunity to cheer on the Cleveland Indians from home this summer, and to work for the Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability.

Department of Human Services – Office of Early Childhood

A graduate of Sandusky High School, Nneka is a student at Cleveland State University where she is pursuing a BA in Political Science. Nneka enjoys serving Cuyahoga County through her work with Greater Cleveland Volunteers, and also recently completed an internship with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. These experiences have strengthened her passion for domestic and international human rights issues. Through her undergraduate studies and her work as a Cuyahoga County Public Policy Fellow, Nneka expects to gain valuable insight into County government’s role as an efficient and effective service provider for all people. Her long term goal is to influence public policy and government in various spectrums, and to serve as a voice for those who are not heard.

Department of Human Services – Division of Job and Family Services

After graduating from The University of Akron with degrees in Marketing and Sales Management, Caroline Weir spent a couple years working for the private sector in North Carolina. In 2010, she returned home to Ohio and transferred her sales background to philanthropy. Having spent the last several years working for health and human service nonprofit organizations in Greater Cleveland, Caroline developed a growing interest in the roles of policy and government relations in nonprofit management. Caroline is once again a student at UA, pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration.

Past Fellows