Jamie Fox Forum of Public Service looking for college students (and mentors) for Fox Fellows program

Brigid Callahan Harrison, professor of political science and law at Montclair State University. – File photo

Leaders of the Jamie Fox Forum of Public Service, a program launched by Montclair State University in February to cultivate the next generation of public servants in the state, want to clear up one misconception: The program does not require you to be a student at Montclair State.

So said Brigid Callahan Harrison, the esteemed professor of political science and law at the school.

“We need to get the word out to people from all colleges and universities,” she said. “Anyone who will be a senior at any four-year college or university in the state can apply for mentorship.

“While a few of the mentoring events will be held on Montclair State University’s campus, the lion’s share of the work can be done online or Skyping or meeting in Trenton or a mentor’s office and shadowing them.”

In fact, there’s only one real requirement, she said.

“The most important criteria is that people are committed to a career in public service and that they want to work for the government,” she said.

Harrison stressed candidates can come from all areas of studies and all walks of life. In fact, creating a diverse pool of people who will be called Fox Fellows is a goal.

“In keeping with Jamie’s priorities and his legacy, we have to recognize effective and committed public servants come from all walks of life,” she said. “In particular, I think Jamie would have liked to have a program that is open to a wide diversity of New Jerseyans, specifically people who may not have parents or friends or neighbors who may be able to introduce them to someone who get them an internship or a job interview.

“We recognize that many students committed to public service might demonstrate this interest in a variety of ways, and we’re not just looking for the class president, but also applicants who have worked during college, or engaged in a course of study that shows their interest in working in government. We are interested in a wide variety and diversity of candidates with varying backgrounds.”

The program will provide students with access to training and mentoring and other opportunities. In developing those students, the program will leverage the time and talents of public sector professionals across the state.

Harrison encourages any professional — whether in government or not — to reach out to students who have shown an interest in public service.

She also is hoping more professionals will volunteer to be mentors to the Fox Fellows.

“Public service involves getting the public involved,” she said. “That’s why we are reaching out. We want to create a deep and diverse pool of mentees and mentors.

“That’s how we can best honor Jamie’s lifelong commitment to public service.”

The application deadline is June 15.

Click here for more information and an online application.

For questions regarding becoming a mentor, please contact Brigid Callahan Harrison at harrisonb@mail.montclair.edu.