Recently, the ICMA Chapter hosted two UNC MPA Alumnae Jenifer Della Valle (2014) and Mattie Sue Stevens (2013) to share their experiences as ICMA Local Government Management Fellows. Mattie Sue and Jen are two of UNC ICMA’s record-setting four fellows (no other school has had more than two at one time!). Jenifer Della Valle, ICMA Fellow for the Town of Hillsborough, serves as a Management Analyst and Assistant Public Information Officer. Mattie Sue Stevens is a joint ICMA Fellow between the City and County of Durham, NC.
The ICMA Fellowship is a career-development opportunity that places Fellows in full-time local government management-track positions. The competitive program serves as a great way for recent MPA graduates to earn local government experience and begin their careers. Last year, ICMA placed 35 Fellows within 21 communities. The Fellowship typically lasts two years and exposes Fellows to a variety of local government functions.
Durham Fellow Mattie Sue Stevens says her favorite aspect of being a Fellow is the breadth of experience she has been able to have. She has worked with staff in nearly every City and County department in some capacity, and been introduced to many different local government functions. She believes being able to participate in such a wide variety of projects has helped her identify areas she is interested in pursuing professionally, and it has given her some of the broad knowledge she will need as a leader someday.
For many in the ICMA Chapter it was their first opportunity to learn about the ICMA Fellowship and all that it has to offer. For many, it was interesting to hear not only about the Fellow’s experiences, but also their journey through the application process. Hillsborough Fellow Jenifer Della Valle shared with the group her experience determining which fellowship would be the best fit for her. ICMA Chapter President David Finley appreciated the shared insights. “It was awesome to hear from new professionals about how they navigated the job search process after their MPA degree. It was insightful thinking about the types of pros and cons when it comes to looking for a fellowship opportunity,” said Finley.
Mattie Sue offers words of inspiration to those who are contemplating pursuing an ICMA Fellowship. She believes, “If you’re convinced that you want to be in local government leadership, the Fellowship is a great first step—you can get a wide range of meaningful experience and begin building a network of contacts across the nation. If you’re interested in local government but not sure it’s the right fit for you, the Fellowship offers a low level of permanent commitment and a high level of opportunity for exploration. Either way, it can be a tremendously valuable experience!”
For more information on the ICMA Fellowship please visit: