The John William Ward Public Service Fellowship is a program that allows students who have completed their junior or senior year at Boston Latin School to work for a summer in the office of an elected or appointed public servant in state government, municipal government, the judicial system, or even the major press.
Students are selected based on community involvement, academic ability, application essays, and an interview process.
During the course of the summer, students have the opportunity to meet as a group with each of the host officials, and are given a unique view of public service that is shaped by the experiences and philosophies of those decision-makers whose ideals, inspirations, party affiliations, and legislative priorities are as diverse as the responsibilities and duties each official performs each day to make sure that our commonwealth and city work for its citizens.
The eighteen Fellows do more than simple office work, and are given the opportunity to make substantive contributions to the office to which they are assigned. Because of the diverse nature of the offices, each Fellow gets a unique look at serving the public. They may be writing letters to constituents in the Governor’s Office, or evaluating letters to the editor at The Boston Globe. They may be helping Assistant District Attorneys build a case in the Suffolk County D.A.’s Office, or helping to gather the precedent that helps a judge decide one in the Chambers of a Federal Judge. They may be observing the approval process for affordable housing at the Boston Planning & Development Agency, or helping to set up a ribbon-cutting for a new public housing facility in the Mayor’s Office. They may be helping with the administration of school construction programs at the School Building Authority, or reviewing the budgets of those programs with a City Councilor. They may be reviewing audit reports to ferret out governmental fraud in the Inspector General’s Office, or fielding calls from victims of stock scams in the Attorney General’s Office. They may be helping with research for the crafting of a bill in a State Representative’s office, tracking it as it makes its way through the various committees in the Office of the Speaker of the House, or learning about the reconciliation process in the office of a State Senator.
The Ward Fellowship provides students with a summer that opens their eyes to the possibilities – and promise — that await them in the world of public service. Many alumni have gone on to work in public service. From successfully running for local office to staffing the President of the United States, the Ward Fellowship experience is one that shapes the lives of its participants in profound ways.
John William Ward once said that what was needed in Massachusetts was “the confidence that we have the intelligence and the will to create good government . . . [which would] depend on engaged citizens to become informed and demand good government.” The Ward Fellowship seeks to give students the chance to become that kind of citizen, and so much more.