National League of Cities Menino Fellowship

The National League of Cities (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 a directed study and semester-long paid internship in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the National League of Cities.

Applications for the 2022–2023 Fellowship are now closed and under review.

Read about the experiences of past NLC Fellows.


    2022–2023 Fellowship

    The Fellowship consists of two parts, a directed study during the fall semester and a semester-long paid internship with the National League of Cities in the spring semester.

    Fall Semester (Directed Study):[1]

    • Enroll in a Directed Study under the supervision of the Initiative on Cities’ incoming faculty director, Professor Loretta Lees.
      • The directed study will have 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.
    • Attend NLC’s 2022 City Summit annual conference, a convening of municipal leaders from across the country held November 17–19, 2022 in Kansas City, MO (conference travel is paid for by the IOC and is subject to BU travel restrictions). 

    Spring Semester (Internship):

    • Enroll in the Washington D.C. Internship Program, administered via the Boston University Study Abroad office.
      • Please note, the selected Fellow will apply separately to the BU Washington, D.C. Internship Program by the November 1, 2022 deadline.
    • Work full-time, 4 days per week at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the National League of Cities.
    • Pay will be $16.10/hour.
    • Fellow will focus on one or more core program areas of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) while also gaining exposure to other aspects of NLC’s issue portfolio and ongoing operations. The five issues areas under the YEF Institute include:
      • Early Childhood Success — supporting ways that city leaders can align early childhood systems (0-8 years), improve quality and access, ensure every child enters school ready to learn, and ultimately reach their full potential.
      • Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment — supporting city leaders in helping families and neighborhoods become more economically secure by connecting children and families to public benefits and helping families learn financial skills, save for emergencies, and build assets over their lifetime.
      • Education and Expanded Learning — supporting the numerous ways that city leaders can exercise leadership in partnership with the K–12 system to promote educational achievement, support public schools, increase high school graduation rates and expand college access and completion.
      • Health and Wellness — supporting local leaders in their efforts to improve the health and well-being of city residents, address key social determinants of health such as housing, land use, and economic development, and promote more effective local responses to mental health crises, substance use disorders and homelessness.
      • Youth and Young Adult Connections — supporting local leaders as they seek to reform juvenile and criminal justice systems, reconnect disconnected or opportunity youth to school and work, and expand equitable access to nature for children and families.

    Application & Eligibility:

    Full-time BU undergraduate students in good standing are eligible to apply.

    Applications for the 2022–2023 Fellowship are now closed and under review.


    Questions about the NLC Menino Fellowship should be directed to David Gross, IOC Program Manager & Administrator, at

    About the NLC Menino Fellowship

    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. You must enroll in a Directed Study by the University add/drop deadline. The IOC will provide support and guidance through this process for the awarded fellow.