Two Kenyon Alums engaged in prestigious Coro Fellows Program

The Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, founded in 1942, is a nine-month postgraduate leadership training program that introduces students interested in public service to all aspects of the public-affairs arena.

Fox is learning firsthand about how government, politics, business, media, and labor overlap. Following a "focus week" devoted to news, she was sent to Sacramento to work on the re-election campaign of Governor Gray Davis. "To be working at that level and in a large state like California was incredibly interesting," she says. "California, after all, has the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world! It was all very confidential, with tight security."

Other program modules include business, labor, state government, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations. "Philanthropy was an area that was surprising to me," says Fox. "There is so much variety of opinion about the way philanthropy should be done."

Sriprasert's experiences in Pittsburgh both resemble and differ from those of Fox. For his political-campaign segment, Sriprasert worked on the losing gubernatorial campaign of Republican Mike Fisher, Pennsylvania's attorney general. "It was very interesting to see how things look when you are on the losing side," notes Sriprasert.

A consortium of thirty-two construction unions called Builder's Guild was the site of Sriprasert's labor rotation. Pittsburgh is a city with traditionally very strong unions, and his assignment involved comparing the number of projects awarded to union as opposed to nonunion contractors.

"One would think that the nonunion firms, with their lower costs, would win out every time," says Sriprasert. "But, in fact, the unions are held in high esteem in this area and are noted for the quality of their work. They may get fewer jobs overall but they get the higher value projects--things like the new convention center and two new stadiums."

One of the highlights of Sriprasert's experiences with Coro was a week-long trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, members of the Rand Corporation think tank, and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. The week included tours of the Pentagon and the White House, as well as a CNN Crossfire screening.

A significant benefit of the Coro program in Pittsburgh is that participants are automatically offered admission to the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University with a full-tuition waiver. Sriprasert plans to take advantage of this benefit, either next year or after exploring other fellowship opportunities.