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Marxe School of Public and International Affairs Alumni Awarded New York State Excelsior Service Fellowships

Robert Beiderman, headshot, smiling in a red and blue plaid shirtAdaobi Oguagha, headshot, smiling, in a black and blue patterened blouse with necklace

From left: Robert Beiderman and Adaobi Oguagha

Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs announced that two of its Master in Public Administration (MPA) graduates from the class of 2018 have been selected to participate in the competitive Excelsior Service Fellowship Program.

The program, launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2013, brings “highly talented recent graduates of law, graduate and professional schools into state government service. Excelsior Fellows bring diverse backgrounds and new perspectives to a host of policy and operational positions in New York State government.”

The fellowship begins in September and runs two years within the New York State’s Executive Chamber, a government agency, or authority. 

“Marxe alumni have been involved in the program since its establishment; they continue to exemplify what it means to be an Excelsior Fellow,” David Birdsell, Dean of Baruch’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs said. “These fellowships were designed to attract people of great talent to leadership roles in government and that is exactly what we strive for at Marxe.”

According to Dean Birdsell, the Excelsior Fellows work full-time alongside senior members of the administration and play a policy-influencing role in New York State with the opportunity to work on the most pressing issues of the day.

To date, more than 25 graduates of the Marxe School’s MPA program have been accepted into the program since its launch five years ago and have worked at such top-tier state agencies as Empire State Development, The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), and the state’s Executive Chamber.

Meet the 2018 Excelsior Service Fellows

Robert Beiderman, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Communities and Local Government division

“As a former actor, this fellowship is the perfect bridge that will allow me to continue learning while beginning a career in public service. I really like how NYSERDA pursues clean energy from a practical and financial standpoint, and I look forward to getting a better idea of how they interact with other state and local agencies to promote clean energy.

My goal right now is to soak up as much information as possible, and I'm confident that Baruch's professors, most of whom have worked in public service for many years, have prepared me to excel in this new challenge.”

Adaobi Oguagha, NYS Executive Chamber Governor's Education Team and Women LEAD

”Upon acceptance into the Excelsior Service Fellowship, the Excelsior committee approached me regarding a new program called Women LEAD. It would work in conjunction with the Excelsior Service Fellowship and include mentorship from a high-level female state official along with a Certificate in Women and Public Policy from the University at Albany.

I have a tremendous passion for public service, specifically in the area of education, and I'm looking forward to advancing and implementing many of the initiatives that the Governor has begun. For example, the expansion of early education in high-need school districts and tackling the issue of food insecurity among college students by creating food pantries on SUNY and CUNY campuses. I hope my work during this fellowship allows me to impact and serve the students of New York State.”

Competitive Selection Process

The selection process involved faculty and administrator nominations, an application in which the students had to articulate their interests and qualifications via a statement of purpose, and an interview during which a committee assessed their interests, qualifications, drive, and potential for success via a variety of traditional, behavioral, and scenario-based questions.  The process is highly competitive and approximately 60 fellows are chosen each year.

In addition to Baruch College, participating schools include Albany Law School, Cornell Law School, the New York University’s School of Law and its Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, among others.  

For more information about the MPA program at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, go here.  



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