Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program

The Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program is a leadership and talent development initiative aimed at building a robust pipeline of high-achieving African Americans engaged in education reform in America. 


Components of the Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship

Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Selection Process and Timeline

Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Selection Process and Timeline

What happens after you submit your application?

See the 2020 Timeline Here



Paid Summer Internship – The paid summer internship exposes Fellows to professional careers at leading K-12 education organizations and schools focused in areas such as advocacy, policy, research, education, and teaching. Fellows are expected to work 30-40 hours per week and assume full staff responsibilities during their internship. They are deployed as interns to organizations and schools located in such cities as the District of Columbia, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Chicago, Memphis, and Nashville. Examples of internship host organizations include Achievement First, National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, Paul Public Charter School, Indianapolis Public Schools, Tennessee Department of Education, KIPP Capital Teaching Residency, Memphis Teacher Residency, Thomas B. Fordham Research Institute, Uncommon Schools and many more. During their internships, Fellows acquire new skills, gain an understanding of the professional needs of education organizations, and make meaningful contributions.

UNCF Student Leadership Conference (SLC) – Students accepted into the Fellowship are required to attend and participate in 3 – 4 days of leadership and professional development training prior to starting their internships. Held annually in Washington, D.C., SLC provides students an opportunity to learn skill sets that are needed to be successful interns and early career professionals. Conference attendees will enhance their critical thinking skills; learn strategies to support effective verbal and written communication; build their knowledge of collective impact and collaborative work styles, improve their networking skills, and practice problem solving via real-world scenarios.

Education Reform Case Competition – The case competition is a required component designed to strengthen Fellows’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Fellows are placed in groups of 4 – 5 members that collaborate virtually to complete their team assignment. Fellows will complete their assigned activities for the case competition during evening and weekend hours, so it does not interfere with their internship responsibilities. The case competition focuses on developing solutions to address a specific K-12 education issue in an assigned city, state or local school community. Teams will incorporate their knowledge of the current educational landscape through research and analysis and their individual assessment of the resources and policies needed to improve education. The Education Case Competition serves to foster innovation, collaboration, and creativity amongst Fellows.

What happens after you submit your application?

See the 2020 Timeline

Alumni and Closing Conference – At the end of the paid internship Fellows travel back to Washington, D.C. and are joined by alumni of the fellowship to conclude their summer experience. This conference is required and provides an opportunity for Fellows and alumni to network with industry leaders and change agents in the education field. Fellows will reflect on their summer experience, create a success plan that leverages the skills they have acquired, learn about post-graduate fellowships and graduate school, and meet with job recruiters.

Senior Year Experience – To further Fellows’ professional development post their summer experience, a year-long program has been developed to provide additional supports and resources. During their senior year of college, Fellows who successfully complete the internship will have access to an online community with mentoring, career coaching, graduate school and fellowship application assistance, and job search assistance. Participants may also be eligible for book vouchers and/or small stipends.

Career Coaching – As part of the professional development provided to each intern, UNCF will include the interns in its partnership with CareerCore, a student coaching and professional career development firm. UNCF has successfully contracted with CareerCore for several years to provide robust professional development and career coaching for our student interns. Interns will be assigned a professional coach, whom they will meet in-person during the student leadership conference and then work with virtually over the course of their summer internship experience.

Alumni Community and Networking Opportunities – This Fellowship program aims to support alumni even after they have completed their undergraduate degree with the goal of (1) assisting alumni in securing entry-level career positions in educational organizations and (2) cultivating alumni exposure to networking opportunities with education leaders. All alumni will have access to an online community that will feature job opportunities, career-related resources and materials, and virtual mentoring. Additionally, alumni will be offered select opportunities to participate in national conferences sponsored by leading education organizations, as well as local events, where they can share their experience with the community and inspire future Walton-UNCF Fellows. Select alumni will be invited to join the Alumni Council.

UNCF will cover summer housing and travel. Summer travel includes travel to Student Leadership Conference, Host City, Alumni and Closing Conference, and Home City. Fellows are responsible for daily transportation to and from their internship and daily meals while in Host City.

General Eligibility Requirements:

  • At least a 3.0 grade point average on a  4.0 scale
  • Must be African American
  • U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
  • Must be enrolled at an HBCU
  • Must be classified as a junior
  • Open to all majors with interest in education reform
  • Have demonstrated leadership experience within college campus and/or community
  • A complete application must include one letter of recommendation from a school administrator or faculty member

For additional information, please e-mail waltonfellowship@uncf.org

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