The Stennis Fellows Program is a practical, bipartisan leadership development experience for senior-level staff of the United States Congress. Established in the 103rd Congress (1993-1994), the Stennis Fellows Program brings together chiefs of staff, committee staff directors, legislative directors, and others to explore ways to improve the effectiveness of those who work on Capitol Hill.
A new class of 24 to 28 Stennis Fellows is selected competitively from each Congress. Each class is balanced with nearly equal numbers from both political parties and both chambers. The Stennis Fellows of the 114th Congress met on October 8-10, 2015 to explore more effective usage of dialogue as a leadership tool on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan and bicameral group of Congressional staff leaders explored the theme of “Reaching Agreement: Making Congress Work for American Democracy” as they worked together in a series of roundtable sessions and retreats. The Stennis Fellows of the 114th Congress held their inaugural session on July 13, 2015 and concluded their fellowship on September 6, 2016.
The program invites nationally and internationally renowned experts to meet with the Stennis Fellows and stimulate their thinking. While learning from these outside authorities is a unique opportunity, the primary benefit of the program is the learning and relationship building that takes place among the Stennis Fellows themselves.
By working together to set their own learning agenda and deliberating with each other throughout the fellowship, the Stennis Fellows form strong bonds of friendship. These new relationships benefit the institution of Congress by more fully opening the lines of communication between Republicans and Democrats as well as between House staff and Senate staff. The trust established in the fellowship carries over in a positive way to the legislative process itself.
If you have questions regarding the program, please call Mary Dewald at (202) 546-1837 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By Don Wolfensberger
Roll Call Contributing Writer
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
If you ask tourists what surprises them most about this town, you often get a response to the effect: “I had no idea our government was being run by a bunch of 20-year-olds.”
But their tone is usually one of begrudging awe and admiration rather than fear and foreboding. That’s because most are reacting to the bright, energetic young people they encounter in their Representatives’ offices as receptionists, schedulers, caseworkers and legislative aides. Very few tourists venture anywhere near executive branch office buildings populated by older, career civil servants.
I thought of this a few weeks ago when I attended a dinner sponsored by the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership. In attendance were 80 current and former Capitol Hill staffers to honor one of their own with the first William E. Cresswell Congressional Staff Leadership Award. The award was named after Eph Cresswell, who served for more than 30 years as chief of staff to Sen. John Stennis (D-Miss.). Cresswell was present for the occasion.