The National League of Cities Menino Fellowship

The NLC Menino Fellowship provides one Boston University undergraduate student with the opportunity to explore an interest in public service, city-level programs and policies, and municipal leadership on behalf of children, youth, and families through an on-campus Directed Study and semester-long paid internship in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the National League of Cities.

Fellow Experience – Fall Semester:

  • Enroll in a Directed Study, under the supervision of IOC Director and Political Science Professor Graham Wilson [See below for additional details].
  • Attend NLC’s annual conference, a convening of municipal leaders from across the country held in November or December.

Fellow Experience – Spring Semester:

  • Enroll in the Washington D.C. Internship Program, administered via the Boston University Study Abroad office. [NOTE: The selected Fellow will apply separately to the Boston University Washington DC Internship Program by the November 2018 deadline.]
  • Intern full-time, four days a week at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the National League of Cities, focusing on one or more core program areas of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families while also gaining exposure to other aspects of NLC’s issue portfolio and ongoing operations. Students will receive a weekly stipend of $300-325 per week, depending on hours worked.


Applications for the 2018/2019 academic year are due to Patricia Cahill no later than midnight, Sunday, April 22, 2018.

Students are requested to submit a single PDF with the following documents to Patricia Cahill at

  • Cover letter outlining your interest in the Fellowship and commitment to making a positive impact at the local level
  • Current Resume
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Two references (at least one must be a professor). No letters, contact information only.
  • Directed Study[1] Proposal: This two-page proposal should outline an area of directed study you would like to pursue during the Fall Semester and any faculty members you hope to engage, including a clear focus on urban populations and an issue or topic that relates to at least one of the following: Urban Governance, City Politics, Education, Health Disparities, Family Economic Success, Violence Prevention, Youth Civic Engagement, Early Childhood, Juvenile Justice, City/State/Federal Relations or a topic of your own choosing that relates to creating more prosperous, inclusive cities. Please note that at this stage the topic is of greatest interest. The IOC will work with the selected Fellow on submittal to their school or college to ensure appropriate approvals and course credit. If you have already received approval for a relevant Directed Study for the Fall 2017 semester, we encourage you to apply using your approved proposal.

This recurring, competitive Fellowship was jointly established by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Boston University Initiative on Cities (IOC) to honor the legacy of former Boston Mayor Tom Menino. Mayor Menino was co-founder of the IOC and a lifelong advocate for children, youth, and families.

Elected five times as Mayor of Boston and five times at City Councilor, Thomas M. Menino dedicated his life and career to helping the people of Boston. His leadership and compassion reached well beyond the City he loved, in part through his strong partnership and leadership in the National League of Cities. He served as the Founding Chair of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families, where his early vision and continued support contributed to its success as an “action tank” for America’s cities, and twice hosted the NLC Congress of Cities, first in 2000 and again in 2012. Mayor Menino joined Boston University in January 2014 to co-found the Initiative on Cities.

The BU Initiative on Cities is an urban leadership and research center, headquartered on the Boston University Charles River Campus, designed to promote and advance the adaptive urban leadership strategies necessary to support cities as dynamic centers of economic growth and development in the 21st century.

The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents. NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families was established in 2000 to strengthen the capacity of municipal leaders to address the needs of children, youth, and families in their own communities.

[1] A Directed Study is a course in which a student pursues independent research under the guidance of a faculty member. Applications for Fall 2019 are due to the University by the Add/Drop deadline on September 17, 2018.