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Colby-Sawyer College Launches Presidential Fellowship Program that Kickstarts Young Alumni's Professional Lives

This fall, Colby-Sawyer College established the Colby-Sawyer Presidential Fellowship (CSPF) program to provide recent graduates with gateway positions to their careers through roles within the college's administration. Fellows gain work experience, develop professional skills, provide quality contributions to the work of the college, and gain an understanding of how the college plans, implements initiatives and operates.

After an extensive interview process this summer, four alumni were selected as the inaugural Fellows: Melissa Nop '14 of Santa Rosa, Calif.; Jenisha Shrestha '14 of Katmandu, Nepal; Daniel Pendergast '12 of Canton, Mass.; and Stephen Thorpe '14 of Chicago, Ill. Over the nine-month fellowship they will be supervised and mentored within their sponsoring departments and will receive increasingly complex professional work. Their work will support the college's mission, history and tradition, as well as its strategic plans and themes. “Our Presidential Fellows' passion, energy and ideas will provide an invaluable service to Colby-Sawyer,” says Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Planning Lisa Tedeschi. “Fellows are working every day to advance the mission of their alma mater in ways both big and small.”

In addition to their work, the Fellows will participate in monthly seminars led by campus leaders that will provide them with a comprehensive understanding of higher education. Seminars will teach the Fellows professional skills, while concentrating on their contributions to the Colby-Sawyer mission and strategic plan and encouraging them to pursue inter-departmental collaboration.

Nop graduated with a B.S. in public health in May, and returned to Colby-Sawyer this fall for a fellowship with the President's Office. She will assist Tedeschi in managing President Galligan's calendar and will help Events Manager Katherine Mitchell with college events. “I plan to bring a warm and compassionate energy to the President's office and to all who visit campus,” says Nop. “I want to gain professional skills that will benefit me through the rest of my career and allow me to give back to the Colby-Sawyer community.”

In her fellowship with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of Sustainability Jen White '90, Shrestha, an environmental studies major, will provide guidance and advice on sustainability to senior officers and the college community. “In addition to contributing to specific initiatives at the college, such as local food and renewable energy, Jenisha will also take on a managerial role as the coordinator of our student Eco-Reps team,” says Professor White. “These eight students help support our recycling programs and conduct outreach and programming related to sustainability.”

Though much of the work that Shrestha and her colleagues do serves an immediate need, their work will also help shape the future of the college and the CSPF program. At the end of each semester, Fellows are responsible for creating a report that summarizes their experiences. Reports will contain recommendations for their sponsoring department and the program, as well as nominations of students they believe would excel in the subsequent year's program.

For Pendergast, who earned a B.A. in communications, the fellowship allows him to apply his post-graduation experience working with adolescents in order to make a significant impact on something that held great meaning for him during his years as a Colby-Sawyer student. As the first Men's Basketball Presidential Fellow, Pedergast's primary role is as assistant coach of the men's basketball team, a good match for the former four-year player and 2011-12 team captain. “I plan to use my prior experiences, both professionally and as a student, to make Colby-Sawyer a better place,” says Pendergast.

Also working in the Athletics Department is Thorpe, a Progressive Scholar and record-setting, nationally-ranked men's basketball player who earned a B.S. in sport management. He will work alongside Athletic Director and Women's Basketball Coach George Martin as assistant coach of Women's Basketball. “The most exciting part about this opportunity is to learn from a successful and experienced coach at the collegiate level,” says Thorpe. “Following the fellowship, I would like to earn a master's degree in sport management and coach at the high school, or possibly college, level.”

The Fellows are provided a modest salary, health and dental benefits, and housing, but it is the personal growth, professional preparation and enhanced career opportunities that they believe to be the real benefits. “My experiences at Colby-Sawyer helped me discover my passion and have shaped who I am today,” says Shrestha.

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000