Stewart Neifert has worked at Johns Hopkins University for nearly a decade as a senior research specialist and lab manager within the Institute for Cell Engineering at the School of Medicine. He has contributed to multiple peer-reviewed papers in the field of Parkinson's Disease research. But for the 2021-22 academic year, Neifert is doing something decidedly different.
As a member of the second cohort of Presidential Management Fellows, Neifert is spending the year working with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures on a variety of efforts: He's helping to build an innovation ecosystem in Baltimore and Maryland and helping to manage JHTV's Commercialization Academy while also focusing on faculty engagement in entrepreneurship and diversity in innovation at Hopkins.
"In the first quarter of the fellowship I have been able to work on high-priority projects with university leadership, significantly extend my network, and learn new skills which make me better-suited for leadership positions," said Neifert, who earned his master's degree in biotechnology in 2020 with a concentration in biotechnology enterprise. "I feel that the fellowship has provided me the opportunity to pivot into a new role which suits my interests and skills and has high growth potential."
Neifert's chance at a career change-up is a great benefit of the fellowship program, where he is one of 9 recent Hopkins graduates who in July started year-long, full-time jobs with a salary and benefits in various roles in university administration. The program—which launched in fall 2019 and is now recruiting for the 2022-23 cohort—offers career training, mentorship, and a front-row seat to learning about strategy and decision making at JHU. The idea behind the highly selective year-long fellowship is to give recent and soon-to-be Johns Hopkins graduates a chance to grow professionally and personally while gaining insights into the management of a large, complex, and dynamic institution.
"We created the Presidential Management Fellows program to allow new cohorts of recent graduates to deepen not only their connection to the university and to the city of Baltimore but also their understanding of how decisions at a complex education, research, and medical institution like ours are made," JHU President Ron Daniels says. "By working closely with Johns Hopkins staff and being embedded with senior leadership, these fellows are bringing invaluable insights to Hopkins at the same time that they're honing skills and gaining experience that will help them fulfill their highest professional aspirations."
Isabel Adler, a member of the Homewood class of 2021, is working in the Office of Economic Development, where she is supporting investment efforts in a variety of social programs while working on the expansion of the Johns Hopkins Health Education and Training Corps. The fellowship experience is allowing her to see Hopkins in a whole new way.
"Though I now work at the same university I attended, my roles as student and staff member are entirely unalike!" says Adler, who earned bachelor's degrees in both Writing Seminars and Spanish with a minor in social policy from the Krieger School. "Hopkins' reach, both in terms of research and community engagement, extends beyond what you can see as a student. My office manages many projects, so no two days are the same."
As the fellow in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Maningbè Keita Fakeye is working on projects including the Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion, the Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative, and the Faculty Diversity Initiative.
"As a student, I was mainly on the receiving end of the decision-making process, and now it's very meaningful that I'm able to participate at a more executive level in problem solving, innovation, and the overall stewardship of resources," says Fakeye, who earned her doctorate in health policy and management from the Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2021 and received her bachelor's degree in public health studies from the Krieger School in 2014. "My exposure to university administration, through this fellowship, is in itself a step toward structural equity. People who have similar socioeconomic characteristics as I do are often systematically marginalized, and it's important that I'm able to reflect this experience in my leadership role."
Individuals from undergraduate or graduate programs who completed their degrees in 2021 or will complete them by spring 2022 are encouraged to apply for next year's fellowship program. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 15 on the Johns Hopkins University careers website. Submit your application via this link on jobs.jhu.edu. More information is available on the Student Affairs website; questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.