2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellows complete capstones & visit Washington, D.C.

2023-2024 TMACF Header

(Frederick, MD) -- Since August, the 2023-2024 cohort of 13 Transform Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellows from throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. has been engaged in monthly guest speaker sessions, small group conversations, and other activities to increase their knowledge, understanding, and skills related to leadership and sustainable community development. The culmination of the program was an end-of-fellowship retreat hosted in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 3 to celebrate the cohort's hard work on fellows' individual capstone projects.

During the year, fellows grappled with important questions related to critical challenges and opportunities focused on the "four-legged stool" of sustainable development: society, the economy, the environment, and governance. During meetings with guest speakers - which included community organizers, scholars, and government officials - the fellows learned that sustainable, long-term solutions to the important issues of our time can only be developed when leaders think about the four themes of sustainability together. In essence, complex problems require complex solutions.

Throughout the spring semester, each fellow proposed and executed a capstone project connected to an area of interest to them - be it personal, professional, or academic - and an area of need on their campus or in the community. Using the sustainability framework introduced during the fellowship, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the fellows created projects that approach problems through a sustainability lens. You can click here to read the 2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellowship Capstone Project Yearbook (or scroll to the bottom of this page), which includes detailed information about each of the fellows and their projects.

On May 3, the fellows met with Kenneth Downs from the office of United States Senator Chris Van Hollen to learn more about how federal legislators make important decisions and often rely on their staff and constituents to provide insight about issues and areas of concern in their states and districts. Each fellow then shared information about their capstone project and shared what they would want Senator Van Hollen to know about the problem they addressed.

Kenneth Downs of Senator Chris Van Hollen meets with 2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellows
Kenneth Downs of Senator Chris Van Hollen meets with 2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellows
2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellows at TMA staff at office of Senator Chris Van Hollen in D.C.
2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellows at TMA staff at office of Senator Chris Van Hollen in D.C.

The group then travelled to the Capitol Building for lunch and a tour before ending the day at the National Portrait Gallery where they explored the gallery's exhibits focused on national leaders, justice, and culture.

"Working with our civic fellows is my favorite part working at TMA," said Associate Director Anthony Wagner. "I was truly impressed and proud beyond measure of the fellows as they shared why the issues they care about are important and what can be done to address them while sitting in the office of a United States Senator."

The retreat marked the end of the 2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellowship year. Fellows who are graduating received an honor cord to wear at their commencement and all fellows received a letter of completion, which was forwarded on to their college and university presidents. This was the second year of the program, which was launched in 2022-2023. The next cohort of student fellows will be announced in summer 2024.

2023-2024 TMA Civic Fellowship Program - Capstone Project Yearbook