LAWRENCE – A graduate student who earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas this May has been named a 2012 Presidential Management Fellow. Fewer than 1 percent of applicants are selected to take part in this prestigious program that matches outstanding graduate students with federal leadership opportunities and employment.
Brian Handshy will serve as the special assistant to the Federal Housing Commissioner in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington. The two-year appointment includes full salary and benefits, formal classroom training and opportunities after program completion. Handshy plans to use his experience as a Presidential Management Fellow as a learning tool to better understand the government from the inside.
"It was humbling and exciting to be selected," Handshy said. "I proactively chose KU for its top-ranked public affairs and administration program. My university education really prepared me to speak the language of public affairs, which enabled me to have this opportunity."
The School of Public Affairs and Administration at KU is ranked as the top graduate school for City Management and Urban Policy, fifth for Public Management Administration and ninth overall according to the 2013 U.S. News and World Report review of graduate programs in public affairs in the U.S.
Handshy, a 1997 Lawrence High School graduate, received his bachelor's degrees in business administration and electrical and mechanical studies from Fort Hays State University. He has participated in the Kansas Governor's Executive Fellowship Program since 2011. Handshy had a distinguished eight-year career in the U.S. Navy, serving in several roles. He left the Navy to pursue his graduate degree at KU.
The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program began in 1977 from a presidential executive order. Over time, it has become a highly competitive leadership program focused on developing future government leaders. The rigorous application process includes a nomination from the applicant's school, an online assessment and an in-person assessment to be selected as a finalist. Finalists then have one year to obtain an appointment with a federal agency.
The School of Public Affairs and Administration is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The College enrolls about two-thirds of KU students and encompasses more than 55 departments, programs, centers and the School of the Arts. Nearly half of the students at KU earn their bachelor's degrees from the College. Courses in the College cover hundreds of subjects including history, literature, chemistry, biology, art history, mathematics, anthropology, psychology, foreign language and political science.