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Emerging Congressional Staff Leaders Program

Program Description

Founded in 2000, the Stennis Center for Public Service’s Emerging Congressional Staff Leaders Program pairs Senior Stennis Fellows with young Capitol Hill staffers who have demonstrated leadership potential. This bipartisan, bicameral initiative combines individual and group activities in a year-long effort to help participants learn about career advancement, legislative procedures, and leadership skills and fosters a deeper commitment to public service. The centerpiece of the program is one-on-one mentoring with senior staff.

Each Emerging Leader is paired with a Senior Stennis Fellow as a mentor, generally based on party and chamber, for regular meetings. There are also periodic group discussions on career and leadership issues of interest to the Emerging Leaders.

Collectively, the program provides a unique opportunity to enhance the knowledge and skills young staff need to succeed in the congressional environment and to expand their network of relationships. More than 200 staffers have participated to date, and many continue to serve on congressional staff or have gone on to become Senior Stennis Fellows. 

Emerging Congressional Staff Leaders Program

Program Eligibility Requirements


At least one year (preferably two) and no more than five years of service on Capitol Hill


Demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in congressional public service


A permanent, full-time position (i.e., no intern, temporary or part-time employees)


Recognition from supervisors and peers to have the advancement and leadership potential required for success in the congressional environment

Sample Program Timeline


(First year of Congressional session)



(Second year of Congressional session)




Senior Stennis Fellows make recommendations and application process begins

Applications due

Applicants selected and paired with mentor

Welcome reception

Four roundtable sessions

Concluding event

Emerging Leaders will meet one-on-one with their mentor at least once a month.

Approximately 15 to 20 Emerging Leaders are selected each Congress.

One Research Boulevard, Ste. 104, 

Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 325-8409

201 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Ste. C-7, 

Washington, D.C. 20002 

(202) 546-1837