Four USC Price graduates named Clinton-Orfalea-Brittingham fellows
By Cristy Lytal
USC Price School of Public Policy graduates Alexander Chan, Jeffrey Weiner, Anya Essiounina and Aaron Wolf will head to New York for a year as recipients of the Clinton-Orfalea-Brittingham Fellowships.
Since 2007, graduates from USC Price, the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Gould School of Law have served as fellows at the Clinton Foundation, which improves global health, strengthens economies, promotes health and wellness, and protects the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, governments, nongovernmental organizations and private citizens. This year, each fellow will receive a stipend from the Orfalea Foundation and the Brittingham Family Foundation, which support educational and youth-oriented programs.
Chan will begin work for the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) in August. A new initiative, CHMI encourages individuals, communities and organizations across the United States to make meaningful contributions to the health of others.
Chan earned his bachelor’s degree from USC Price before heading to the University of Michigan, where he completed a Master of Urban Planning degree. He worked for nearly six years as a city planner for the City of El Monte before returning to USC to complete two additional master’s degrees in public administration and communication management.
“I have the local government experience, but I don’t have the communication experience,” he said. “So the fellowship allows me to build a foundation in communicating policy, governance and civic engagement.”
During his time at the Clinton Foundation, Chan said he’ll keep in mind the valuable lessons learned at USC Price.
“The Price School has a very big focus on the importance of partnerships and relationship building in terms of how it affects policy,” he said. “And it will help me at the Clinton Foundation because that’s really how they approach their work. They do things through partnership — no one person or organization does anything on its own.”
Partnerships are also key to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), where Master of Public Policy graduate Weiner is currently working in the membership department. CGI encourages world leaders, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits and others to make specific and measurable Commitments to Action, ranging from creating the largest wind-power installation in the United States to building a sports stadium in Haiti.
Before attending graduate school, Weiner served as a management trainee for a warehousing company and spent a full year volunteering and teaching English in South America.
“The different projects that the Clinton Foundation does abroad are really attractive to me,” he said. “I’m really excited to be getting started.”
Building on the CGI model, Clinton Global Initiative University supports and mentors students who make their own Commitments to Action, and MPA graduate Essiounina is excited to begin her fellowship year there in July.
“I’ve always wanted to work for a foundation, and the Clinton Foundation has a great reach with nonprofits,” said Essiounina, who spent three years working in the linguistics department at the University of California, Los Angeles before attending graduate school at USC Price. “It will be a great experience to work for a foundation that has so much knowledge and impact as well. I can learn so much from them.”
Thanks to her coursework at USC Price, Essiounina feels prepared for the challenges ahead.
“I took a lot of nonprofit management classes, and the class that will most help me is the strategic planning class I just did,” she said. “It really helped me learn about and develop myself as a leader.”
Wolf, who earned an MPA degree, will apply his own leadership skills at the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) starting in August. CCI’s array of programs includes reducing carbon emissions, increasing energy efficiency through building retrofits, providing better access to clean energy technology, preserving and regrowing forests, and promoting island sustainability.
Having worked on Capitol Hill for three years prior to attending graduate school, Wolf hopes to someday help shape federal legislation.
“I would like to have a seat at the table when national energy and environmental policy decisions are being made,” he noted.