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City Fellowships Prep Students for Public Service

Program Features Orange County City Managers as Mentors

Oct. 7, 2013

Had it not been for Cal State Fullerton’s City Management Fellowship Program, Luke Smude would not be working today as an intern in the Anaheim city manager’s office.
 
One of five graduate students who inaugurated the program last year, Smude ’13 (M.P.A.) credits it “100 percent” for his internship.

“It was a great opportunity for me not only to get hands-on experience working in municipal government, but also launching my professional network. Having gone through the program, I see how it helped me become visible and comfortable in the municipal government setting,” Smude said.

Now in its second year, the program has captured the attention of donors — C.J. Segerstrom & Sons and CARE Ambulance Service Inc. — who have contributed a total of $5,000 to sponsor two of this year’s four fellows.
 
Each fellow receives a $1,000 scholarship and is paired with an Orange County city manager who serves as a mentor throughout the academic year. Students learn firsthand “how tough decisions are made by public-sector executives, to ask questions, and to experience the good and the bad of the noble field of public service,” said Shelly Arsneault, professor of political science and fellowship founder and coordinator.
 
This year’s fellows, all in the master of public administration program, and the city managers they are paired with are:

  • Joseph Angeles and Dana Point City Manager Doug Chotkevys
  • Jonathan Poole and Mission Viejo City Manager Dennis Wilberg
  • Rudy Rosas and Rancho Santa Margarita City Manager Jennifer Cervantes
  • Thomas J. Toman and CSUF alumnus and Costa Mesa’s CEO Thomas R. Hatch ’90, ’95 (B.A. political science, M.P.A.).

Hatch signed up as a program mentor “to give back," explaining that while CSUF prepared him well for his career, “I wish I could have been in a program like this as a student. It would’ve been even more enlightening and helpful.”
 
“When we heard Cal State Fullerton was focusing on developing young professionals in public service, it made sense to invest,” said CSUF alumnus Justin McCusker ’05 (M.P.A.), C.J. Segerstron & Sons’ director of community and government relations.
 
Christopher J. Reese, the University's director of community relations, said the program's impact upon students “is huge . . . because it allows students to see what the public can’t see. They get to observe up close how city managers deal with daily issues that affect municipalities.”
 
For more information about the fellowship, contact Arsneault, 657-278-2456.

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