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Allegheny County Scholars in Local Government looking for the Next Generation of Leaders

Scholarship. Leadership. Service.

The Scholars in Local Government Program is looking for the best and the brightest to enter into rewarding and impactful careers in public service. The Scholars program allows talented individuals to bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to local government – Scholars apply their skills and creativity to real-world problems and use their leadership abilities to influence policy and practice in Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services, an agency hailed as a national model for innovative and effective government.


The Scholars in Local Government Program is a highly competitive career-development initiative designed to attract graduates of masters- and doctoral-level programs of social work, public policy, public administration, law, business, and related fields to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Scholars come from diverse backgrounds and join the Department for one-year appointments, during which they complete high-profile projects and analyze difficult problems. Specific projects are tailored to the individual skill sets and interests of the scholars. In addition to on-the-job training, scholars are given unique opportunities to meet with high-level government officials, foundation executives, and nonprofit and private sector leaders, as well as to participate in educational and professional development opportunities. Scholars who complete their commitment, receive a favorable evaluation, and want to continue working for the County will be given special consideration for full-time employment.

Am I eligible?

Recent graduates of masters- and doctoral-level programs of social work, public policy, public administration, law, business, and related fields graduating within 18 months of the application deadline are eligible for the Scholars Program. Although there is no Allegheny County residency requirement, candidates must be willing to move to the Pittsburgh region by the summer of their Scholars year. Candidates are from diverse backgrounds and are selected on the basis of academic and professional experience, demonstrated leadership potential, commitment to public service, communication skills, and creativity.

Application Deadline

Application materials, described below, must be submitted and postmarked no later than December 6, 2013. A committee of reviewers from the Department of Human Services and partner organizations will evaluate all applications and invite suitable applicants to interview in Pittsburgh in January 2014. At this session, applicants will be evaluated based on an individual interview and analytic exercise. Candidates will be informed of their status by late February 2014. Scholars begin work in the summer of 2014. 

How do I apply?

To be considered for the Scholars program, applicants must provide:

  • A fully completed word.gif application form,
  • A professional résumé,
  • A copy of each application essay, as outlined in the application form,
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from an academic institution and one from an employer), and
  • An official transcript from every post-secondary educational institution attended

Application materials for the Scholars in Local Government program may be submitted by mail or email. All transcripts must be official, so if the university does not have technology to send them securely via email, transcripts must be sent by mail (copies scanned by applicants are not official). Letters of recommendation may be sent in a sealed envelope with the recommenders signature across the seal, or may be submitted via email directly by the recommender. All materials should be emailed to scholars@alleghenycounty.us or mailed to the address below.


 pdf.gif Answers to frequently asked questions. Or, call 412-350-3960 or email scholars@alleghenycounty.us.

Ms. Kelly Wilkinson
Attn: Scholars in Local Government application
Allegheny County Department of Human Services
One Smithfield St., 4th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Meet the 2014 Scholar: Hilary Scherer, MSW

Hilary Scherer grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, before attending Gettysburg College and receiving her B.A. in Sociology in 2007.  After graduation she returned to the DC area and spent five years working in the Public Health Department at NORC at the University of Chicago—an independent not-for-profit organization which conducts social science research in the public’s interest.  During her tenure at NORC, Hilary worked across a myriad of topics, with projects including: supporting the development and implementation of Healthy People 2020, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Service initiative which sets 10-year health objects for the nation; investigating the impacts and sustainability of community coalitions after their federal funding has expired; and evaluating healthcare workforce development programs to assess their implementation in tribal communities.  These and other projects provided Hilary with experience connecting research, policy, and practice, while also developing skills around project management, data collection and analysis, report development, and communication and coordination. 

Seeking a shift from public health to broader human and community wellness, and an opportunity to more deeply engage with a locality, Hilary enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work, studying Community Organizing and Social Administration.  During the two-year Masters program, Hilary was able to enrich her knowledge and theoretic base, while also gaining practical experience in communities.  Through internships with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and Oakland Planning and Development Corporation’s School 2 Career program, Hilary coordinated and supported a partnership between a community health center and area schools that provided elementary students with health information and services; supported clientele from diverse backgrounds in finding and preparing for employment; developed tracking tools to support the administration of after-school programming; and engaged high school students in community service discussions and activities. 

Since moving to Pittsburgh, Hilary has loved learning about and exploring the neighborhoods that make up the city. She recognizes the vibrant, dynamic stories that make up Allegheny County’s communities and is excited to be in a position to support the growth of the region and its people. 

Meet the 2013 Scholar: Marina Duane, MID

Marina Duane currently works at the Office of Behavioral Health on Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care.  She is also involved in a variety of projects across DHS joining cross-functional teams as well as providing programmatic support to specific offices.

Marina has eight years of combined work experience in both the private and public sectors. A native of Ukraine, Marina worked at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on a Civil Society Development Project where she worked with local NGOs, negotiated with governmental authorities and maintained relationships with the international donor community. Her past experience also includes implementing grass-root community projects and empowering youth to community activism in Ukraine.

In April 2013, Marina received Master’s in International Development from Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. During her time in GSPIA, Marina supplemented her research interests with being actively engaged outside of the classroom.  In summer 2012, Marina received a grant to study policy making and organizational structure of the European Union. While in Brussels Marina researched the Schengen Crisis following the Arab Spring, participated in the formal debate on the European Bonds, and engaged in a dialogue with EU policy makers on the current opportunities to advance European integration.

As a participant of the Leadership Portfolio Program through the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, Marina joined the Board of Heritage Community Initiatives, on which she continues to serve now. Through the program, Marina became involved in Pittsburgh community and grew to appreciate the work of its vibrant non-profit and public sectors.  During the second term in GSPIA, Marina completed a year-long internship at the Human Services Center contributing to the organization’s efforts to serve people in the Mon Valley area. 

Marina remains active in the Pittsburgh community and enjoys advocating for the needs of vulnerable groups. She enjoys working in a team environment to achieve common goals and learn from people of diverse backgrounds.

Organizations Scholars have joined following their program year 
  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services
  • Bethany Hospice
  • Carnegie Science Center
  • Three Rivers Center for Independent Living
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

pdf.gif Scholars in Local Government brochure
pdf.gif Answers to frequently asked questions
word.gif Scholar's application form