Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program


The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program places students in prestigious semester-long internships in SF city and county agencies.

The fellowship is open to SF State students in any major and pays a $3,000 stipend.


Apply Now

  • Application Deadline: Friday, April 21, 2017 at 5 p.m.
  • Applications must be uploaded into the Academic Works website.
  • All finalists must be available to come to City Hall for an in-person interview May 11-12, 2017.
  • Applicants will hand in all materials including recommendation letters.






About the Fellowship

The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship program was launched in 2008. The fellowship provides SF State students who have faced barriers pursuing a college education with an opportunity to gain professional experience in the public sector while developing a lifelong commitment to public service. At the same time, the program provides San Francisco’s public agencies with a diverse, qualified and well-educated workforce.

Meet our Alumni

Click here to learn more about our alumni.

The Fellowship Experience

Photo: Willie Brown Fellowship Participants

The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship provides an experiential learning opportunity in San Francisco city government. Fellows work two days a week as interns in high levels of the executive branch, legislative branch, and city agencies under the direct supervision of a seasoned professional. Fellows shadow their supervisors in policy meetings and participate alongside staff members on various policy initiatives. Fellows typically work on semester-long projects identified and agreed upon in collaboration with their direct supervisor. Fellows also spend one evening a week in a professional development seminar reflecting on the work they are doing, enhancing their professional knowledge, and refining their skills.

In addition to invaluable experience and contacts, Fellows receive:

  • Hands-on experience within a city agency
  • $3,000 fellowship award
  • 3 units of academic credit
  • Professional networking opportunities


Fellows are placed in internships that support their professional goals and development. Past placements include, but are not limited to:

  • Board of Supervisors
  • City Administrator's Office
  • Budget and Treasury Department
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Commission on Status of Women
  • Department of Adult Probation
  • Department of Children, Youth and Families
  • Department of Education
  • Department of the Environment
  • Department of Housing
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of Public Works
  • Department of Transportation
  • District Attorney’s Office
  • Office of Violence Prevention
  • Planning Department
  • Public Utilities Commission 


Eligibility Requirements

To become a Willie Brown Jr. Fellow, you must:

  • Be enrolled at SF State full-time
  • Be in your senior year at time of fellowship placement
  • Have completed 90 units of credit by the time you start the Fellowship
  • Have minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Have an interest in a career in public service
  • Have faced challenges to pursuing a college degree (i.e. financial hardship, single parent, formally incarcerated, first generation student, homelessness)
  • Be available to intern 16 hours/week for 15 weeks
  • Be available to attend the 3-unit seminar on Wednesdays, 6-9 pm
  • Participate in Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship tracking and evaluation process

How to Apply

Applicants are required to log in to Academic Works to fill out the application and provide all of the documents required through the Academic Works site.

  • Complete application coversheet.
  • Provide most recent college transcript.                                          
  • Write personal narrative: This narrative should describe the applicant’s personal background and the specific challenges faced in pursuing a college education.                    
  • Write professional narrative: This narrative should describe the applicant’s interest in working in the public sector, fields of interest, leadership qualities and experiences, and the strengths and skills the applicant will bring to an internship experience.
  • The personal and professional narrative should be no longer than 1,000 words.
  • Provide two letters of recommendation; at least one from a professor at SF State.
  • Recommendation letters should be included in your application.
  • All documents should be submitted as one complete document on the Academic Works site. Separate components will not be accepted.


Quotes From Alumni

Photo: Matthew Low
“The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship helped me develop the professional skills and experiences I needed to begin a career in public service. Without the professional mentorship, seminar, and on-the-job experience, I would not have had the opportunity to become a permanent civil servant working to serve the people of San Francisco and make the city the best place it can be for present and future generations."

Matthew Low, Fall 2009
Fellowship Placement: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Photo: Curtis Penn
“The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship provided me with an opportunity to participate in public policy discussions and reentry programming that equipped me to better serve and impact San Francisco’s reentry population. I was able to assist the Reentry Division to engage in a risk and needs assessment for homeless, mental health and AB 109 probation clients. The networking opportunities opened doors that would otherwise have been closed to me.”

Curtis Penn, Spring 2015
Fellowship Placement: San Francisco Adult Probation Department

Photo: Samantha Roxas
“Today, I have meaningful experience in public service work, confidence and professional skills, and a network of professional mentors to guide me through this journey. I am prepared to further my education and become part of the new generation of leadership for San Francisco. The Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship has helped make that possible.”

Samantha Roxas, Spring 2011
Fellowship Placement: Office of San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu


A Word from Mayor Brown

As Mayor of San Francisco, I saw firsthand how the dedicated professionalism of outstanding public servants ensures that the residents of San Francisco receive critical services. Recognizing the need for a well-educated, diverse, committed, and prepared workforce inspired me to create the Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship Program at my alma mater, San Francisco State University, in 2008.

San Francisco State’s mission is to graduate students to serve our city, and the university’s unwavering commitment to social justice and civic engagement aligns perfectly with my vision of recruiting and including students of diverse racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds. These students, like so many of SF State’s graduates, will become the city’s next teachers, social workers, nurses, planners, policy analysts, and public officials.

My hope is that the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship will inspire and prepare SF State students from all majors to pursue a career in public service. Local and regional governments need the innovators, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and well-trained workers that SF State graduates.

Willie L. Brown, Jr.
SF State Alumnus (class of 1955)
Former California State Assembly Member
41st Mayor of San Francisco



Contact Information

Raquel Pinderhughes
Academic Director, Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement
San Francisco State University                                                
1600 Holloway Avenue, HSS 137 
San Francisco, CA 94123 
raquelrp@sfsu.edu; 415.338.7520 or 415.338.1178