Program opens door to potential career paths at government agencies

Monday, April 3, 2023
Aerial view of Thompson Hall

Three UNH students have been selected as finalists for the 2023 Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, opening the door to possible two-year, full-time federal positions.

The PMF program “offers advanced degree holders a pathway to a permanent career appointment at a federal agency.” Finalists have one year to apply for and secure specific positions as fellows. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 87% of recent fellows accepted a permanent or term position upon completion of the two-year program.

The UNH finalists are Annelise Waling ’23G, Allison Herreid ’23G and Sarah Widlansky ’23G. Waling, Herreid and Widlansky are among 850 finalists chosen from a pool of more than 10,000 individuals from around the world who applied to the PMF program.

Herreid had accepted a tentative job offer as a research scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prior to hearing about her PMF selection and is currently working to determine if it’s possible to convert that job into a PMF position. Widlansky had already accepted a non-PMF position as a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the time of the finalist announcement and began in that role last month.

Annelise Waling
Waling (courtesy)

Waling, from Aiken, South Carolina, is pursuing an MS degree in hydrology within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. She is aiming to secure a position with the Forest Service and Environmental Protection Agency.

“I have always known that I don’t just want ‘a job,’ I want to do something that makes a difference in the world,” Waling says. “I think the PMF will help me find my way into the government in order to bridge the gap between government policies and science.”

Waling says she is most excited about the opportunity to take part in the series of leadership development opportunities that the PMF offers over the two-year program. Given that her background has been focused primarily in science, she is eager to learn more “about government regulations and policies to gain a more well-rounded education and better understand how science and government can work together.”

Allison Herreid
Herreid (courtesy)

Herreid, a graduate student in UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture pursuing a Ph.D. in natural resources and Earth systems science, said she was drawn to the PMF because of its reputation for providing exceptional leadership and professional development opportunities to its finalists.

“I am thrilled to have been selected as a finalist and to have the opportunity to explore diverse career paths within the federal government and to contribute my skills and expertise to advancing the public good,” Herreid says. “I am looking forward to further developing my leadership abilities, deepening my understanding of working for the federal government and growing both personally and professionally as I begin my position with the USDA after completing my Ph.D.”

Sarah Widlansky
Widlansky (courtesy)

Widlansky, from West Palm Beach, Florida, had applied for the PFM program as a way to hopefully land a job with the U.S. Geological Survey, so she was ecstatic when the opportunity presented itself even without the program. But she was still able to take some valuable knowledge from the process.

“Applying and interviewing for the PMF program really helped me understand what qualities are valued in government work and think about ways I can bring those qualities into my day-to-day work,” Widlansky says.

And the people the PMF will allow her to meet could prove even more valuable as she begins her professional journey.

“I’d really like to use this opportunity as a finalist to network and meet people from different USGS offices and other federal agencies,” Widlansky says.

This is the 45th year of the PMF program. The finalists represent approximately 98 different degree programs across 249 academic institutions worldwide.

Interested in pursuing a Presidential Management Fellowship? Learn more about this and other opportunities available through the Office of National Fellowships.

Scott Ripley | UNH Marketing | | 603-862-1855