Meet the 2017 William Penn Fellows

By: Sharon Minnich, Secretary of Administration

December 29, 2016

Updated: September 5, 2017.

Earlier this year, Governor Wolf announced a new program called the William Penn Fellowship to help attract the best and the brightest minds to answer the call to public service.

Interest exceeded all expectations, with over 250 individuals with master’s-level and other advanced degrees applying to the program. The field was narrowed to 23 finalists who traveled to Harrisburg for a reception and in-person interviews, with 10 being selected to become William Penn Fellows.

The fellows will spend two years working on projects related to the Governor’s priorities of Jobs that Pay, Schools that Teach and Government that Works. At the conclusion of their fellowships, they will present the results of their work to the Governor and other senior officials.

We look forward to having this exemplary group of ambitious and civic-minded individuals working with us to improve government and the lives of Pennsylvanians.

It is my pleasure to introduce the 2017 William Penn Fellows:

Rachel Boss

Rachel graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) in April 2016 with her Master of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Latin American Social and Public Policy. She also studied abroad in Columbia, Ecuador and Thailand and is fluent in Spanish.

While studying at Pitt, Rachel worked as a graduate assistant with the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) and GSPIA. Her interests in good governance and urban issues also lead Rachel to serve with multiple non-profits focused on housing, employment and non-discrimination.

Sara Gilgora

Sarah earned her Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College in May 2016 with a concentration in policy practice and advocacy.

Most recently, Sara developed policy and provided oversight for programs related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act for the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation. As an intern at multiple support organizations, she gained valuable experience working with children and youth, as well as victims of crime, domestic violence and sexual assault. She is also an active volunteer.

Amanda Cappelletti

Amanda earned her Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Health from Temple University, where she was also a Law and Public Policy Scholar. Prior, she graduated cum laude from Chestnut Hill College with a bachelor of science degree in International Business, Language and Culture with a focus in Spanish. She has studied and worked in Spain and Italy.

While studying at Temple, Amanda worked as a fellow for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and interned for the Center for Health Law and Policy’s Surveillance Program, where she researched state health laws as well as local and municipal health ordinances and laws. She also worked an advocate for disability rights and an LGBT health and well-being advocate on policy and legal issues.

Emily Hendrickson

Emily earned her Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, and hopes to use her skills to research and develop policy for community health and environmental justice.

Emily completed concentration and foundation field placements at the Staunton Farm Foundation and Pittsburgh UNITED, Clean Rivers Campaign, respectively, where she took part in stakeholder engagement, grant application review, communications and policy research. She was also a research assistant at Pitt conducting experiments with infectious diseases.

Seth Jacobson

Seth earned his Master of Educational Leadership Development & Learning Technologies, specializing in Adult Education & Organization Development, from Drexel University, where he is currently a doctoral student.

Seth developed and instructed courses at Drexel and received multiple awards for research and leadership. He also helped lead the university’s Center for Civic Engagement and partnered with the University of Pennsylvania and AmeriCorps*VISTA to mentor neighborhood high school students.

Seth’s work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and at multiple conferences. He also has experience managing and editing academic journals.

Allen Landis

Allen completed his Master of Sustainable Engineering at Villanova University in May 2016 and is a platoon leader in the National Guard. As a student, Allen led multiple projects to improve sustainability and reduce environmental impact on the Villanova campus.

Soon after graduation, the City of Boston tapped Allen to assist with recommendations to meet its energy efficiency goals. In addition to military and government, he also has experience in property and facility management and engineering consulting.

Jordan Lewis

Jordan is a postdoctoral research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine, where she earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience. She recently studied the relationship between obesity, sleep apnea, and cardiometabolic disorders in adults and adolescents.

Jordan is also a science communicator who appears in national and international publications. She has authored over 130 articles, contributed to several books and spoken to students and researchers about how and why scientists should communicate with the public.

Megan Litz

Megan is currently working toward her Master of Public Health at the Penn State University College of Medicine. In 2016, she participated in the university’s Global Health Scholars Program at Taipei Medical University.

As an intern with the PA Department of Health, Megan developed a statewide profile of hepatitis C and public information about the disease and coordinated seminars across the state. Her professional experience also includes work as a lab technician and community health volunteer.

Elizabeth Shotwell

Elizabeth is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also has over a decade of experience as an educator in both classroom and online settings, working with students from elementary school to graduate level. She has given numerous academic presentations on topics related to online learning.

Elizabeth earned her Master of Alternative Education; Curriculum and Instruction at Lock Haven University. She is currently a social studies educator with a cyber charter school and adjunct faculty at Wilkes University and Luzerne County Community College.

Adam Walters

Adam completed his Master of Public Administration with certificate in Policy Analysis and Evaluation at Penn State University Harrisburg in 2016.

He is currently a project administrator with Downtown Inc working to improve the overall economic health of the City of York through enhancements in public space and safety. He also does grant writing, relationship building and administrative support. As an intern with Downtown Inc, he surveyed the city’s business district to gather GPS, image and other data.

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