History of the Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellowship

MichaelTirre.pngThe Frasure-Kruzel-Drew (FKD) Memorial Fellowship was established in 1999, originally to raise awareness among the American people about landmine contamination around the world and U.S. government efforts to address the problem. The program is funded and hosted by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA), formerly the Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs (HDP). Since then, the fellowship expanded into other conventional weapons destruction (CWD) activities, including small arms/light weapons (SA/LW) stockpile destruction and security. The fellowship was named in memory of Ambassador Robert C. Frasure, Dr. Joseph J. Kruzel and Colonel Samuel Nelson Drew who lost their lives in an August 1995 automobile accident in Bosnia and Herzegovina while on a diplomatic mission to negotiate peace. The fellowship was created in their honor to perpetuate their legacies of diplomacy, education, and public service. From 1999–2021, the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) was the founding administrator and recruitment organization for the FKD Fellowship.

Laura BarelaPM/WRA manages the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction program, which includes an array of assistance activities that enhance U.S. national security, protect civilian populations from the dangers posed by conventional arms, assist victims of conflict, and facilitate economic development. CWD encompasses SA/LW destruction and stockpile management programs, as well as humanitarian mine action assistance. Through these activities, PM/WRA works around the world to deliver programs and services aimed at reducing the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war, and funds the clearance of landmines and other explosive remnants of war in communities recovering from conflict. The United States remains the world’s largest international donor to CWD, providing more than $4 billion in assistance to over 100 countries since 1993.

FKD Fellow Alumni (1999–2021)

Since 1999, CISR recruited and administered the fellowship for 35 fellows. The length of the program and number of fellows has changed as the program evolved in size and scope. Former fellows have gone on to work for international NGOs, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Defense, the United Nations, academic institutions and more.

  • Erin Snider (Fall 1999)
  • Noah Klemm (Spring 2000)
  • Katie McDonough (Summer 2000)
  • Kela Morehead (Fall 2000)
  • Kurt Chesko (Spring 2001)
  • Stacy Smith (Summer 2001)
  • Keith Feigenbaum (2001–2002)
  • Sarah Kindig (Summer 2002)
  • Jenny Lange (2002–2003)
  • Whitney Tolliver (Summer 2003)
  • Hayden Roberts (2003–2004)
  • Julie Mullen (Summer 2004)
  • Jennifer Lachman (Summer–Fall 2005)
  • Craig Finkelstein (Spring 2006)
  • Elise Becker (2006–2007)
  • Derek Kish (2007–2008)
  • Anthony Morin (2008–2009)
  • Emma Smith Atkinson (2009–2010)
  • Kate McFarland (2010–2011)
  • Katherine Smith (2011–2012)
  • Lindsay Aldrich (2012–2013)
  • Christopher Murguia (2013–2014)
  • Kathryn Stolp (2013–14)
  • Eric Keefer (2014–2016)
  • Brenna (Feigleson) Matlock (2014–2015)
  • Elizabeth (Wilson) Kitchin (2015–2017)
  • Michael Tirre (2016–2018)
  • Victoria (Price) Matkins (2017–2018)
  • Samantha Golden (2018–2019)
  • Laura Barela (2018–2020)
  • Daniel Gurley (2019–2021)
  • Eric Lim (2019–2020)
  • Caitlin Bonner (2020–2022)
  • Amy Haupt (2020–2022)
  • William Gifford (2020–2022)
FKD Fellowship Experiences

Daniel Gurley (2019–2021)

Daniel GurleyWhen I first started as a Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement within the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) in July 2019, I could not imagine the challenges and experiences I would encounter. Although I had worked with the Department of State offices through virtual internships, there were so many aspects of the Department and the federal government as a whole that I did not fully understand. Having a very limited understanding of the federal budget and proposal evaluation as well as no experience with grants management, I jumped head first into the PM/WRA team eager to learn from my new colleagues.

Even as a fellow, I was entrusted to be the point of contact on quite a few projects. As part of the Resource Management team, I compiled all metrics data from our programs on a quarterly basis and forwarded that data for use in a Strategic Impact Assessment Framework (SIAF) portal. Through coordination calls with the SIAF team and organizing feedback from the office, I was able to ensure the portal best matched PM/WRA needs. On the Program Management team, I acted as the Assistant Program Manager for the Middle East and Emergency Response portfolio. From leading meetings with implementing partners to managing and disseminating weekly reports on small arms and light weapons diversion, I was able to grow my confidence in managing programs on behalf of the U.S. Government.

My time with the fellowship was the best professional development experience I have ever had. Although I spent a significant portion of my fellowship teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I still learned important skills from my colleagues and gained the professional confidence needed in the workforce. The skills I acquired and the connections I made through this experience are truly invaluable, and all thanks to the Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellowship program.

Victoria (Price) Matkins (2017–2018)

Victoria Matkins
As a Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow at the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement within the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA), I gained critical experience in the federal government, built a professional network and established a foothold in the Washington, D.C., area. During my first year, I assisted the Resource Management team to responsibly process millions of dollars in U.S. funding to further foreign assistance objectives. I learned and participated in the federal fiscal lifecycle from congressional appropriations to the grants which support implementing partners that enact PM/WRA’s mission.

The fellowship presented me with the rare opportunity to be both a colleague and mentee. At the encouragement of my supervisors, I attended trainings, had coffee with mentors and learned from observing my coworkers. In a trip to Tajikistan, I supported a PM/WRA Grants Officer with a Grants Management Review to ensure implementing partners were operating with sound fiscal principles and internal controls. For a conference on donor perspectives in mine action, I traveled to Geneva and met with counterparts from the governments of Belgium, Canada, Sweden, the United Nations, and more to discuss emerging best practices and priorities in the sector. Later in my fellowship experience, I also supported the Western Hemisphere, European and Eurasian portfolios to manage the programmatic implementation of humanitarian demining, and physical security and stockpile management projects. Being involved on this side of management gave me invaluable insight to the movement of federal funding to support national security goals and priorities.

Through the FKD fellowship, I connected my knowledge gained from James Madison University’s Public Administration graduate program to the practice of everyday professionalism and international literacy in the public sector. Before transitioning into my Program Management year of the two-year fellowship, I applied for and received the position as Resource Management Analyst at PM/WRA. I am grateful for the communication skills, confidence, and professional practices I learned during my time as a fellow, and I will recall upon this experience as the foundation for each future career opportunity I pursue.

Michael Tirre (2016–2018)

Michale TirreWhen I applied to be a Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow, I only vaguely understood humanitarian mine action and certainly had never heard the term “physical security and stockpile management.” I had never used grants management software, examined a budget, evaluated a proposal or thought about how to change a multi-million dollar program to align with broader U.S. government strategies. Despite this, my colleagues at the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs steadily invested in my professional development and entrusted me with significant responsibility, teaching me to do these tasks and much more.

The fellowship challenged me at every turn. Even as I was still getting used to “State-speak”—fondly used to describe the peculiar email language within the State Department—I was helping obligate millions of dollars in funding, responding to taskers from the Office of the Inspector General and completing reports for Congress. After my time in Resource Management, I went straight into Year 2 of the fellowship: the Programs team. As an assistant program manager for Europe and Africa, I helped design and monitor 21 country and regional programs. I responded to a plethora of emails, repeatedly asked for help, and drafted briefing materials and papers to represent conventional weapons destruction efforts to Department leadership, the American public, and foreign governments. Over the two years, I also traveled to Albania, Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Kosovo, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland and Zimbabwe, plus trips within the U.S. to Fort Lee (Virginia), San Francisco and Seattle.

In addition to exposing me to various issues, the fellowship grew my confidence and positioned me to perform well in a variety of professional settings. I’ve learned the regulations for federal awards and the budget cycle, and acquired analytical tools to examine proposals. I’ve gained respect for State Department personnel—both in Washington and in our embassies abroad —who work late hours, operate in a team mindset and brainstorm creative ways to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives. Most importantly, my experience as a fellow has shown me what it means to be a public servant and work toward building peace, which for me, echoes the legacies of Ambassador Frasure, Dr. Kruzel and Colonel Drew.

Liz (Wilson) Kitchin (2015–2017)

Liz WilsonWhen I graduated from James Madison University with a Master in Public Administration in 2015, I had no idea that the next year and a half of my life would bring the excitement, challenges and unique experiences I had as the Frasure-Kruzel-Drew (FKD) Memorial Fellow. During the fellowship, I supported the overall mission of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) and knew that my work contributed to improving lives around the world. I was drawn to the tangible impact that PM/WRA-supported programs made all the way from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Burkina Faso. My time as an FKD Fellow has truly been an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

The number of opportunities I had while in PM/WRA has helped shape me into the young professional I am today. During the fellowship, I traveled to Belgium, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sweden, and Switzerland, and each trip was different from the others. For example, I was responsible for ensuring that U.S. Department of State-funded conventional weapons destruction programs ran effectively in Senegal. In order to do so, I met with an international NGO and visited a landmine removal site in the Casamance. On another trip, I represented the U.S. Government at a Sahel Donor Coordination Conference at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. The responsibilities and experiences I had while in the fellowship went beyond what I had anticipated, and I learned so much throughout the entire process.

Beyond the unique travel opportunities the FKD Memorial Fellowship provides, the professional development skills you gain through working in an office that manages more than $150 million a year in foreign assistance are unparalleled. I learned about the various funding mechanisms the federal government uses, how they work and how to effectively oversee two regional portfolios—all the while learning how to facilitate meetings and discussions in a professional environment. The skills you gain as the Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow can be applied to any position in a federal, nonprofit, foundation, or university setting, and it is an incredible position whether you are graduating from undergrad or graduate school. I am so thankful for this opportunity and hope to carry the skills I have gained during the fellowship on to my next adventure.
Chris Murguia (2013–2014)

 Chris MurguiaI was the 2013–2014 Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow at the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political Military Affairs (PM/WRA). I first learned about this one-of-a-kind fellowship opportunity while working as an editorial assistant at James Madison University’s Center for International Stabilization and Recovery. I decided to apply to the fellowship because it offered the opportunity to work on complex and exciting foreign policy issues regarding conventional weapons destruction (CWD), including humanitarian mine action and small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) destruction. Moreover, as a recent college graduate interested in international relations, I knew that working at the U.S. Department of State would provide a professional development opportunity like no other. 

Upon entering the fellowship, I was placed in PM/WRA’s Resource Management (RM) division. The RM division is responsible for planning and developing the office’s budgets, managing its finances, and, in fiscal year 2013, awarding approximately $142 million in grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to support CWD projects across the globe. During my time with RM, I received an in-depth education about the federal budget process, federal grants management, grants processing and financial management.

In addition to serving in the RM division, I also assisted the PM/WRA Program Management division. Specifically, I was tasked with assisting the program managers for our Africa and Western Hemisphere Affairs portfolios. The highlight of my time in the Program Management division was when I participated in a program review visit to Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras. During the trip, I observed demining operations in Colombia, a weapons depot construction project in El Salvador and SA/LW destruction in Honduras. This trip allowed me to witness firsthand the lifesaving work that PM/WRA’s implementing partners conduct.

My time as a fellow was one of the best professional development experiences I have had, and I am proud to call myself a former Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow. Although my time as a fellow has ended, I have been lucky enough to continue working in PM/WRA as a Program Analyst. I encourage all who are interested in working at the U.S. Department of State or in CWD to apply for this great fellowship opportunity.

As of July 2021, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is facilitating the FKD Memorial Fellowship. Please contact JHU directly for information about upcoming opportunities.

Fellowship in Blogs and Articles

Mine Action in Angola: FKD Memorial Fellowship
FKD fellow visits Angola to assess demining operations

Michael Tirre
June 11, 2018

Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial fellow travels to Dushanbe, Tajikistan
The FKD fellowship offers international mine action experience

Victoria (Price) Matkins
Oct. 12, 2018

A Unique Opportunity
JMU graduates benefit from CISR's longstanding relationship with Department of State

Emma Smith Atkinson, Chris Murguia, Eric Keefer, Brenna Matlock, Daniel Gurley, Amy Haupt
March 22, 2021 

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