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Nevins Fellows

This program provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to complete internships at organizations that promote democracy.

About the Program

The Nevins Fellows program allows students to complete
paid internships at organizations that bring peopleHero9 together to solve common problems.

Students begin by taking a Democratic Leadership class that introduces them to a different side of democracy—one that focuses not on campaigns and elections, but on bringing people together to work on common problems. Students learn about organizations doing this kind of work, and develop the skills necessary to facilitate conversations about community issues.

At the end of the course, students who are interested in completing a fellowship complete an application for a fellowship. McCourtney Institute staff select the 12 students who best demonstrate the skills and maturity necessary to meet the challenges of the fellowship program.

The Student Experience

Whether they are in big cities or small towns, Nevins Fellows have the opportunity to directly impact the Victoria Phelpscommunities in which they work. The experiences plant the seed for a future working in advocacy groups and allow fellows to have experiences outside of their comfort zones.

Nevins Fellow Victoria Phelps interned at the Participatory Budgeting Project in Brooklyn, New York. While there, she created tools that the organization uses to bring the participatory budgeting process to cities around the country.

"I wanted the opportunity to meet people who lead different lives from me and whose experiences informed their opinions," Victoria says.

"I made the assumption that no one really cares about democracy, but to see people who work long hours at minimum wage jobs take the time to come in and have conversations about these things at night was so inspiring."


The program is supported by David Nevins, founder and president of Nevins Real Estate Management in State College. Nevins holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from Penn State and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He also is one of the leaders of No Labels, a national bipartisan movement of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents dedicated to problem solving across party lines.

Thanks to the financial support from Nevins, the McCourtney Institute is able to cover all costs associated with the fellowship up to $5,000. This includes travel to and from the sponsoring organization’s location, room and lodging.

Nevins Fellows Videos

We asked Nevins Fellows Emma Rohan and Victoria Phelps what democracy means to them and how their views were impacted by the fellowship experience:

Contact Us

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy
327 Pond Lab
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-0100