One year after graduation, Jack Spittell and Ella Yeargin are rising professionals at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
In 2011, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management selected Spittell and Yeargin to participate in the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. This competitive leadership development program offers fellows the opportunity to serve in an entry-level position at a federal agency for two years, with rotations to provide breadth and depth of experience. In addition, they participate in training with fellows from other agencies to broaden their networks and further develop their leadership and management skills.
“Every day, I am working on different pieces,” says Yeargin, now a fellow with the Food & Drug Administration’s center for tobacco products, and on track to becoming a Freedom of Information Act expert. She served a rotation working on national drug control policy at the White House. “It has been a complete change from representing my own individual clients in law school to working on large scale policies that create best practices for the federal government and can also influence state-level policies and programs,” she says. “It has opened my eyes and expanded my thinking of what it means to use my law degree and be a lawyer.” Yeargin describes herself as a chameleon, constantly engaging her skills as a writer, researcher and advocate for various audiences in different mediums and situations.
Spittell is a fellow with the Department of Energy Office of the Chief Financial Officer. “I hit the ground running,” he recounts. “The agency was already in the thick of the budget finalization and roll-out process when I started. Working with a senior analyst enabled me to contribute immediately as I learned the lexicon of energy and appropriations law. While I am not in a courtroom, I have been able to put my classroom training into action on a daily basis, whether in policy meetings or attending hearings on Capitol Hill.” Spittell says he has contributed to agency decisions through his skills in analysis, writing, advocacy and liaising, all of which he sharpened at DePaul.
How does the future look? “Since becoming a fellow, I have been able to network with fellows in various agencies, while networking within DOE and the private sector,” says Spittell. “I am developing my own expertise in energy, with the long-term possibility of joining the Senior Executive Service.”
Yeargin corroborates this, “Already I have seen how PMF is a successful retention tool for recruiting really bright people into the federal government. PMF alumni have been generous in sharing their experience and expertise and I can see how this cohort can help advance my career.”