Professional Development Stipend

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Scoville Fellows have the opportunity to use a $1,000 professional development stipend to attend conferences and meetings in the United States, travel overseas to attend events or conduct research, take a language or policy course, or otherwise enhance their understanding of international peace and security issues. Below are some examples and anecdotes of how former fellows put the fund to use.

Conferences in the United States

“I used my professional stipend to attend the 2018 Nuclear Deterrence Summit in Arlington, VA. The stipend paid for my conference participation and transportation. This conference afforded me the opportunity to meet with experts and leaders in both the public and private sectors of the nuclear complex. With the recent release of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review and an active debate about its content currently taking place in the arms control community – I was able to hear a diverse breadth of perspectives on nuclear deterrence. Additionally, the timing of the conference gave me the strategic opportunity to network as I am beginning my job search post-fellowship. This conference allowed me to deeply explore topics in nuclear deterrence from international threats, to cyber security, to budget priorities and strategies of the Nuclear Posture Review. It not only challenged my thinking and views but allowed me a rare opportunity to share my personal views and research with a different crowd and generation in the nuclear complex field.”  Kate Hewitt ’17, Brookings Institution

“During my fellowship, I used my professional stipend to attend a symposium on the margins of the 2015 NPT Review Conference hosted by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. This money paid for my train tickets to and from New York City, and one night in a hotel near the United Nations, where the symposium was taking place. This symposium was relevant to my fellowship work due to its focus on nonproliferation and the many challenges associated with the NPT right now—namely, the belief on the part of many non-nuclear weapons states that nuclear weapons states are not following through on Article VI commitments, the potential creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East, and the long-term health of the global nonproliferation regime. This was an excellent opportunity to not only engage deeply in this subject matter, but also to engage with peers and experts in this field from around the country. Plus, the Review Conference only happens once every five years—so having the opportunity to be present at this one made me feel like I was a small part of history!” – Allie Van Dine ’14, Nuclear Threat Initiative

“Because of my interest in the connection between energy and national security, I attended a conference in North Carolina called The Energy and Security Dilemma: A Strategic Nexus. It was an opportunity to network with other professionals in the field and learn a bit more about this issue area that I was interested in pursuing. It was a great experience, and one I definitely would not have had without the professional development funds from the Fellowship.” – Sarah Williams Savoy ’10, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Conferences or Research Overseas

“My professional development stipend provided me with a rare journalistic opportunity by covering my travel to Paris and Nice, France to report on young millennial far-right voters for NBC News. After Trump won the presidential election, many news organizations reported on the rise of nationalism in the western world. By speaking with young far-right voters in France, I learned about the everyday impact of the national security topics I had covered as a fellow at the Center for Public Integrity including terrorism and armed conflict. I also attended a meeting of the so-called alt-right in France and met people whose frustration and intolerance mirrored similar groups in the United States. Scoville funded my travel to and from France, and published my article and photographs. After spending nine months studying international affairs as a fellow, it was an incredible and important lesson to meet with those who oppose Washington and who aspire to disrupt the international system. I gained important insight into our international political future.” – Lauren Chadwick ’16, Center for Public Integrity

“Three weeks after my placement at Nuclear Threat Initiative, I was able to leverage my professional development funds to cost-share travel expenses to Moscow. NTI co-hosted a major conference in Moscow to advance U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation. The event provided a forum for U.S. and Russian leaders in nuclear matters to identify a menu of actionable projects in mutual interest. Because I was able to travel to the event, I was able to work closely with participants to help shape the agenda and proceedings of the conference. In addition to organizing conference activities, I also had the opportunity to support the head of the U.S. delegation, Senator Sam Nunn. I was lucky enough to join the Senator as he was received by John Tefft, the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, at the Ambassador’s residence at Spaso House.”  – Charles Powell ’16, Nuclear Threat Initiative

“Once I finalized the topic of my research project—how Israel would prepare for the nuclear agreement with Iran—I decided to use my professional development stipend to go on a nine-day research trip to Israel. With the help of Senior Fellows at Brookings, I was able to schedule meetings to discuss my research topic with several individuals at a leading Israeli think tank, civil servants in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the former Director General of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and the former Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and several others. I hope to publish my findings in a journal, either in Israel or in the U.S., before the end of my fellowship.” – Leore Ben-Chorin ’15, Brookings Institution

“The Scoville professional development fund enabled me to go to Kathmandu for two weeks at the tail-end of my fellowship. While in Nepal, I met with leading think tank and university scholars, emerging analysts, retired generals, diplomats, and politicians. At the time, Nepal was in the midst of a constitutional crisis, suffering from the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake, with mass political protests on the brink of breaking out again. I interviewed a range of individuals and included their perspectives in my analysis of the situation in an article for The National Interest. Getting to go back and spend more time on the ground in the region I research was invaluable and greatly enriched the Scoville Fellowship experience for me.” – Hannah Haegeland ’15, Stimson Center

“I used my Scoville stipend to pay for expenses incurred in my trip to Israel/Palestine. Specifically, it was used for my flight and some of my hotel costs. During the trip, I visited Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel and met with government officials, NGO leaders, and locals. The purpose was to gain a better sense of what was happening on the ground and to bring back that information to lawmakers along with policy recommendations. Issues include the effects of the blockade on Gaza, the plight of Syrian refugees and their relation to ISIS, and the destruction of Palestinian homes in the West Bank. I’m so glad that I was able to take advantage of the stipend to enrich my fellowship experience and work to further my impact on Middle East policy in DC.” – Wardah Khalid ’15, Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund

“I used the professional development fund to travel to the UK and directly study the defense implications of the Scottish independence referendum. The fund allowed me to meet with political leaders, think tank experts, and follow the campaigns on the ground during the last days of the campaign. The entire trip augmented the articles and op-eds I had published about the issue—all thanks to the Scoville Fellowship.” – James McKeon ’14, Stimson Center

While a Scoville Fellow at the Brookings Institution I used the Professional Development Fund to help fund my travels to Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan. In Seoul I was a rapporteur at the Asan Plenum and I conducted interviews with scholars and government officials in both countries for my project on advanced conventional weapons in the U.S.-Japan alliance. The trip provided with a nuanced regional perspective on my research that made it much more meaningful.” – Ariana Rowberry ’13, Brookings Institution

 Language and Policy Courses

“Scoville’s professional development stipend allowed me to receive specialized training that I would not have been able to access otherwise. I used the stipend to take a course at the United States Institute of Peace, receiving a certificate in Conflict Analysis. It was a technical training in violence prevention and violent conflict transformation, which was incredibly helpful to better understand while assisting with FCNL’s report on mass atrocity prevention. Further, the training combined the approaches of the State Department, USAID, and other high-profile NGOs, which means I will be able to apply the lessons of the training in my work for the foreseeable future.” Julia Watson ’16, Friends Committee on National Legislation Education Fund

“I used the Scoville Fellowship’s supplementary funding to take an Urdu language class with the MESALI Language Institute of DC. The class was an overall great experience and has been an invaluable tool for enhancing my Urdu and Hindi language skills, augmenting my time in India, and contributing to my ability to effectively analyze South Asian security dynamics. I really valued the opportunity to take a language class as a fellow, and it’s an opportunity I likely would have been unable to undertake without the supplemental funding provided by the Scoville Fellowship.” – Cody Poplin ’13, ReThink Media

“I used the stipend to take Arabic classes at the Middle East Institute, as I was working on national security issues in the Middle East and North Africa.” – Homa Hassan ’13, National Security Initiative

“The stipend helped fund my participation in the weeklong Nuclear Safeguards course offered by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS), as well as to attend a conference on US-China relations organized by CSIS Pacific Forum. The MIIS course was led by experts from US scientific laboratories and from the IAEA, and provided me with deeper technical foundations for my research on nuclear security issues at Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). The conference on US-China relations helped me develop a keener sense of the most pressing issues in the relationship, which was very helpful as I was helping NTI organize a conference on US-China nuclear issues a few months later.” – Philippe de Koning ’11, Nuclear Threat Initiative

During my time as a Scoville fellow, I used the fund to attend courses at the US Institute of Peace. I was able to obtain certificates in Trauma Awareness, Social Reconstruction and Human Security, Conflict Analysis and Negotiation and Conflict Management.  I learned skills in these courses that I have taken with me into my professional life. This has helped my work with survivors of trauma and mental health, as well as facilitator.” – Catherine (Skroch) Thompson ’11, Center for National Policy 


“The professional development stipend is definitely a value-add for the Scoville Fellowship. Since my main research area is the North Korean nuclear program, I chose to use the stipend for a subscription to a niche news publication on North Korea, NK News. On a daily basis, NK News covers the issues I follow and goes more in depth with the domestic politics in North Korea. Access to this paid news service has made it easier for me to stay abreast of my primary issue area, and has also given me greater insight into North Korean society in a way that is simply is not replicated by other publications.” – Elizabeth Philipp ‘15, Arms Control Association

Combination of Conferences and Language Courses 

I used my professional development stipend to attend events and courses that I otherwise would not have been able to afford. My first use was to attend the 2015 Peace and Security retreat, where advocates and experts from the defense policy community came together to discuss the newest research and messaging on Pentagon spending issues with the goal of making defense spending more transparent and effective. I used the retreat to familiarize myself with the organizations and experts working in that space and the messaging and advocacy tools they use to be most effective. I then used my stipend to attend the biennial Nuclear Policy Conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment. This event was a great opportunity to learn from a wide variety of expert panels and to network with the “who’s who” of the nuclear policy field. Without the stipend, there is no way I would have been able to afford the $200+ registration fee. Lastly, I used the remainder of my stipend to attend a weeklong “Violent Conflict Mediation” course at the US Institute of Peace. The course highlighted best practices for conflict analysis, conducting negotiations, and mediating intractable conflicts. I applied the lessons learned to my work covering the Iran nuclear negotiations.” – Greg Terryn ’14, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

I used my fellowship stipend on a Farsi class at the Middle East Institute in DC. The Farsi class was a highlight of my fellowship — it’s impossible to learn a country’s language without learning about its culture, and I felt the class added a lot of depth to my research on U.S.-Iran negotiations (in addition to helping me better pronounce the names of Iranian diplomats!). I used the remainder of the stipend to go to a conference at Columbia Journalism School that was focused on social good and new media. This was great because I was doing a lot of social media-related work at my organization, as well as helping the Scoville Fellowship a bit with its new media outreach. I enjoyed the opportunity to focus on process (how you reach people) rather than substance (what you’re saying when you reach them) and to learn about effective media strategies that other NGOs not in the arms control sphere have employed. One thing that was great about both of these experiences was just the exposure to people doing work in adjacent but not identical fields—i.e. people at the World Bank who are coming up with new social media strategies, people working in consulting who were taking Farsi for professional reasons, and so on. It was really useful at a time when I was thinking a lot about my career and what options are out there, and I really appreciate that the stipend helped make this happen!” – Usha Sahay ’12, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

“I used the fund for Arabic classes and travel to the American Middle East Network Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS) Conference as a delegate.” – Que Mykte’ Newbill ’12, Stimson Center