The Governor’s Fellows Program is a prestigious opportunity for rising seniors and recent graduates to get a firsthand look at the executive branch in action. Qualified applicants must be rising college seniors, graduating seniors, or graduate students

Xavier Williams with Governor Youngkin
Jesse Williams with other fellows in the governor's mansion
Jesse Settle with Governor Youngkin

The Governor’s Fellows Program is a prestigious opportunity for rising seniors and recent graduates to get a firsthand look at the executive branch in action. Since 1982, fellows have worked alongside the Governor’s Cabinet and staff, learning about state government and assisting in essential work for the Commonwealth.

During their time in service to the Commonwealth, Governor’s fellows have the opportunity to learn from special guest speakers who are leaders in state government and beyond. Fellows also experience state government on the road, visiting state government agencies and historic sites that have shaped our past and are improving our future.

Qualified applicants must be rising college seniors, graduating seniors, or graduate students. All Virginia college and university students are eligible to apply. Virginia residents who attend out-of-state colleges and universities are also eligible. Both public and private college and university students are encouraged to apply.

The selection of fellows is based solely on merit. The Fellows Program does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status.

The deadline to apply for the Governor’s Fellows Program is Monday, March 4, 2024. Interviews will begin on March 11, 2024. Applicants will be advised on decisions beginning on April 12, 2024. The program runs from June 3, 2024 through August 2, 2024.

To apply, visit the Governor’s Fellows Program website and send the required recommendation letters to the address below:

Governor’s Fellows Program
Post Office Box 2454
Richmond, Virginia 23219

For more information, contact the Madison Center, or email:

Xavier Williams

Governor's Fellow '22

What made you apply for the Governor's Fellows Program?

"I have always been interested in local and state government. As a music education major, my passion is improving our education system so that all students can succeed and be equipped with tools necessary to reach their full potential. I wanted to be a part of the Governor’s Fellows Program to learn more about how the state government impacts education and see an inside look of the overall operations that keep our state running effectively."

What was your biggest takeaway from the program?

"The direct impact of this fellowship experience is that I truly felt like I was a valued member of the team. The Education secretariat consistently checked to make sure I understood the information I was working on and provided me opportunities to give feedback as a student who lives and breathes college life daily. One of my fondest memories in the office was the first official day in the fellowship. I arrived to work 10 minutes early so I could be prepared for whatever opportunities would be presented. To my surprise, the Secretary was walking in shortly after me and asked if I would join her for a meeting with Veterans and Defense Affairs Meeting focused on education. Ten minutes later, the Deputy Secretary asked me to come with her to the General Assembly to prepare for the special session. I initially thought I would prepare briefing documents, make phone calls, and schedule meetings, but this fellowship was more than that."

Jesse Settle

Governor's Fellow '22

 What did you do during your time with the Governor's Fellows Program?

"As a 2022 Governor's Fellow, I worked within the Youngkin administration in the newly established Office of Transformation, and most of my work consisted of policy change and transformational efforts to improve the inefficiencies of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. I also went on 'field trips' across the Commonwealth to various locations such as the Moton Museum & Fort Monroe to learn about civil rights movements in Virginia, the Port of Virginia to learn about supply chain logistics, and the Science Museum of Virginia to learn about grant funding from the state. All of the fellows were able to participate in 'brown bag' lunches to meet with all of the Secretaries, Chief of Staff, and the Governor and First Lady of Virginia, which was an opportunity to ask candid questions and build connections with leadership.  I also witnessed the signing of the Virginia biennial budget, the passage of two bills outside the Virginia Executive Mansion, and referendums on certain policies regarding marijuana policies."

Has your experience with the program changed any of your future ambitions, and if so, how?

"Because of the 2022 Governor's Fellows Program, I was able to build connections within the Youngkin administration and have now accepted an offer to work as a policy analyst to work in the Office of Regulatory Management. I graduated from my undergraduate program with a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Arts with a minor in Criminal Justice, and in December, I graduated with a Master of Public Administration degree. The reason I mention this is because I believe life presents itself with opportunities that may be completely opposite of what you ever could have imagined, and often, those opportunities can change your life dramatically for the better. The Fellows program helped me develop confidence in myself, my ability to utilize my knowledge of public service theory, and how to build meaningful connections in a public sector setting."

Back to Top