Presidential Fellows

First-year students who demonstrated academic excellence and involvement throughout high school may be invited to apply for the four-year Presidential Fellows Program. Fellows can access unique learning and exploration opportunities, priority course registration, possible additional scholarship dollars, and more. Presidential Fellows form a close-knit, focused community within the larger Washington College community.

Unique Enrichment and Scholarship Opportunites

If you've demonstrated superior academic achievement and involvement during high school, you may be nominated during the admissions process to apply to be a Presidential Fellow. Nominations are delivered in your acceptance packet, and an essay and interview are the next steps. 

  • Presidential Fellows candidates have the opportunity to apply for additional scholarships, ranging from the highly-selective George Washington Signature Scholarship* — a full-tuition, four-year scholarship available to one student — to the selective Francis Waters Scholarship — an up to $5,000 tuition scholarship available to multiple students.
    • Every student who is interviewed for the Presidential Fellows Program will receive an annual scholarship of at least $3,000 — stackable with other merit or financial aid — even if you are not ultimately selected to be a Presidential Fellow. If chosen to be a Presidential Fellow, the scholarship for completing the interview will comprise part of the final Presidential Fellows award.

*The George Washington Signature Scholarship replaces other merit offers.

  • Access priority course registration for your first two years.
  • Enjoy the option of rooming with other Presidential Fellows who share similar study habits and social interests.
  • Enjoy a fall kick-off mixer and an end-of-year social.
  • Be recognized with a Presidential Fellows cord at graduation.
  • Take part in faculty-led enrichment learning events, organized into Themes, during your first year. 
  • Attend programs designed to help you take advantage of essential experiences including internships, externships, post-graduate and career-oriented opportunities.
  • Participate in the annual Presidential Fellows Leadership Summit, a dynamic, three-day retreat where Fellows engage with peers and professionals through workshops, social networking, and applied leadership initiatives. The Summit culminates with students showcasing their projects to President Sosulski.  

  • Network and build your resumé with activities sponsored by the College’s chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, the Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows, and the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society. These opportunities can help you qualify for distinguished national honors such as Fulbright Fellowships and Rhodes, Marshall, Goldwater, and Truman scholarships, as well as induction into the Washington College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Of the 29 WC students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2023, about two-thirds were Presidential Fellows.

Presidential Fellows 2024

The sweeping principle behind our Presidential Fellows Program: "Leadership is inquiry that drives action."  


Washington College Graduation

Four-year leadership program

The Presidential Fellows Program will facilitate your vision and planning for your unique leadership pathway during your time at Washington College and beyond. From your very first semester to your senior year, you’ll collaborate with faculty, staff, and a diverse range of student organizations, but perhaps most importantly, with other Presidential Fellows. A vital portion of leadership skills development will happen student-to-student.  By your senior year, you’ll assist a new cohort of Presidential Fellows to learn, lead, and grow. 


During your first year as a Presidential Fellow, you will take part in faculty-led events organized into Themes. These Themes allow you to more easily identify which opportunities you would like to explore to grow as a student and leader. The Themes are student-driven — faculty build the events based off of student survey responses.  

Business Management

Creating Value

At the heart of enterprise — public or private, small startup, or large corporation — is the creation of value. But this only happens because people fuel the process. Businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations share ideas, collaborate, and transform raw materials into valuable activities, goods, and services.

Presidential Fellows will explore how organizations create value in their communities. Students will visit businesses and nonprofits to talk with leaders and meet Washington College alumni who are building on their education to create value in their careers. Problems will be tackled to forge solutions that create value for our community.


Caddie Putnam Rankin, Business Management

Lansing Williams, Business Management

Political Science

The Great Questions

This Theme is inspired by two classic approaches to higher learning found at the University of Oxford: its Philosophy, Politics and Economics program, and its curriculum known as the "Greats,” featuring enduring works by thinkers who have enriched the human experience. Students explore enduring questions about the nature of happiness, knowledge, religion, freedom, politics, economics, and the good life.

The Theme also encourages students to exercise leadership by working toward the attainment of what classical thinkers called phronesis — the wisdom to enact the principles discovered in theoretical inquiry. Students often meet for conversation over shared meals. Additionally, they are invited to special events — including opportunities through the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture — are assisted in obtaining internships, and ultimately, have the option to enroll in a study-abroad program at the University of Oxford or in Prague and Vienna with a study tour of Auschwitz.


Joseph Prud’homme, Political Science

Peter Weigel, Philosophy and Religion

Environmental Science & Studies

Exploring the Environment

In this fully immersive Theme, students will explore the environment through activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, geocaching, and stargazing. Faculty leaders will help students gain a foundational understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of each unique environment visited. Human impacts on each environment will also be considered and serve as a unifying theme throughout the semester. Guest speakers will join in our environmental explorations to lend their knowledge and expertise on anthropogenic impacts to the natural world.


Robin Van Meter, Biology and Environmental Science & Studies

Rebecca Fox, Environmental Science & Studies

Brian Scott, Economics and Environmental Science & Studies

Jill Bible, Environmental Science & Studies


The Literary Life

Literature has been one of the most enduring tools used to both inspire and challenge leadership. In this Theme, Presidential Fellows who consider themselves inquisitive readers, aspiring editors, intrepid journalists, or creative writers, will engage with the long history of rich literary activity on and around Washington College’s campus.

Students will explore the connection between language and its ability and responsibility to effect change through conversations with nationally renowned authors and journalists, visits to archives, libraries, and museums, a summer trip to Yorkshire to study landscape and literature, and other such experiences.


Sufiya Abdur-Rahman, Creative Writing

Liz O’Connor, English

Courtney Rydel, English

Political Science

Social Justice

What will be your future as a citizen leader? The story of human history is, in many ways, the story of overcoming oppression and resolving inequities as we strive to establish greater equality within and between nations. Global leaders and citizens are challenged by persistent societal concerns such as poverty and famine, oppression on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, religion, class, and geographic location, and impunity and injustice.

Social justice is a marathon that requires passionate individuals with the training and experience to confront the challenges that await them. Students are provided with an academic understanding of social justice issues in the world and given the opportunity to DO social justice. Access to mentors and events will ensure students are ready to hit the ground running upon graduation.


Christine Wade, Political Science & International Studies

Rachel Durso, Sociology

Emily Steinmetz, Anthropology

Flavio Hickel, Political Science

Carrie Reiling, Political Science & International Studies