James Dunn Fellowship

​​​The application for the 2019-2020 class of James H. Dunn, Jr. Memorial Fellows is now available.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, January 31, 2019, at midnight (11:59 p.m. CST). Documents from outside sources, such as transcripts and letters of recommendation, will be accepted until close of business on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

The following documents are required for your application to be considered:​

  1. Completed application
  2. Personal cover letter
  3. Résumé
  4. Policy essay
  5. Copy of applicant's official or unofficial academic transcript
  6. Minimum two (2) letters of recommendation: one from an academic source and one from a professional source (please limit yourself to a maximum of 3 letters)

Applications that are submitted without all required materials or after t​he application deadline will not be considered.

Placement Preference

Please review the list of departments within the Governor's Office.  You will be asked to select three (3) preferences. There is no guarantee that you will be awarded one of your top three choices; however, your preferences do play a role in the decision-making process. NOTE: Chicago and Washington, D.C. placements are very limited.


Communications – The Communications Dunn Fellow's primary responsibility is to monitor news stories regarding the Governor and Illinois government. Other duties include assisting the press team with writing press releases, drafting social media posts, and making media calls.

Executive Appointments – The Executive Appointments office is responsible for full cycle implementation of the Governor’s appointments to Illinois boards, commissions, task forces and agencies. The Dunn Fellow is responsible for tracking the appointments process for all candidates and updating the Executive Appointments website. The Dunn Fellows will also liaise with all boards, commissions and agencies to ensure their specific needs are met. The Dunn Fellow will also attend meetings and hearings relevant to the office’s objectives and is responsible for annual reports on demographics and compliance issues mandated by state legislation.

Federal Affairs – The Office of Federal Affairs in Washington, D.C. coordinates all Office of the Governor's interactions with members of Congress, the federal executive branch, and other governors' offices and associations. The Federal Affairs Dunn Fellow works with congressional offices, researches federal grant opportunities, and evaluates the impact that proposed rules, regulations, and legislation will have on the State of Illinois and its people. 

General Counsel – The Office of the General Counsel advises the Governor and staff on legal issues in many substantive practice areas, including government contracts, litigation, legislative and administrative proposals, clemency, ethics and compliance, labor and employment, and other day-to-day legal questions. Because the Dunn Fellow for the General Counsel will work closely with attorneys in the General Counsel's office, recent law school graduates are preferred for this position. However, recent college graduates interested in attending law school will also be considered.

Government Transformation & Metrics – The Dunn Fellow for Transformation and Metrics conducts independent research on analytics, policies, and best practices to inform operational action. Fellows leverage this research and data analysis in interactions with government agencies to help augment the quality and efficiency of their operations. Fellows also assist in managing ongoing, analytical projects that capture continuous data/feedback.

Governor's Office of Constituent Affairs (GOCA) – Fellows in the GOCA office connect constituents to crucial state services and promote civic engagement across Illinois, while developing an expertise in state government programs and functions. The GOCA office is also responsible for all correspondence output on behalf of the Governor's Office, including official proclamations and letters from the Governor.

Legislative Affairs – The Legislative Affairs Dunn Fellowship will equip the fellow with and provide them the opportunity to learn how to read and analyze complex legislation, take part in the crafting of the Governor's policies, engage with executive agencies and their legislative liaisons, attend committee hearings, and provide information to the Legislative Affairs team on the events surrounding a legislative day.

Office of Management Budget (GOMB) – A Dunn Fellow in the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) fills the role of a budget analyst. Primary responsibilities include examining and analyzing budget requests from state agencies, making recommendations and providing technical assistance on budget levels for agencies and programs, and assisting in the negotiation of issues related to the budget. Fellows interact with legislative and Governor's Office staff, agency representatives, constituents, and GOMB senior staff to help prepare the introduced budget each year for the State.

Policy: Economic Development – The Dunn fellow for Economic Development Policy interacts with various departments and regulatory agencies, takes part in crafting the governor's economic policies, serves as a resource to the governor's economic development policy advisor, conducts relevant research, and participates in the bill review process.

Policy: Education – The Education Policy Dunn Fellowship enables participants to better understand how education policy guides political and operational decision making in state government.  Education policy fellows participate in the legislative process as part of the Governor's Office, developing research, critical thinking, and enhanced interpersonal communication skills by working with senior staff in public policy and legislative areas of state government.

Policy: Health, Human Services, and Public Safety – The Policy Dunn Fellow in the Public Safety and Human Services division conducts relevant research into Human Services and Public Safety related topics to enhance the knowledge of the Policy team, takes part in the crafting of policies related to these areas, composes state comparisons, attends Public Safety and Human Services legislative committee hearings, acts as a liaison for the Governor's Office to Human Services commissions, tours divisions under Public Safety, participates in the bill review process to prepare for legislative session, and serves as a resource to the Policy Advisors for Human Services and Public Safety.

Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs – The Dunn Fellow for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs will serve two departments and have separate duties in each department. For Public Engagement, the Dunn Fellow assists in managing event invitations received by the Governor's Office, plus event planning and attendance. For Intergovernmental Affairs, the Dunn Fellow assists in managing the master municipal contact list, monitors and keeps track of news and social media related to local governance across the state and the Chicagoland area, and completes tasks and projects that assist with intergovernmental affairs office strategy.


Please be advised that the application web page will time out in 30 minutes, and unsubmitted responses will not be saved.

 Dunn Fellowship Application

Personal Information

Undergraduate Degree

Graduate Degree (if applicable)

Personal & Professional History

Placement Preference

Please review the list of positions on the Dunn Fellowship Website and list your three (3) most preferred selections below. There is no guarantee that you will be awarded one of your top three choices, however, your preferences do play a role in the decision-making process. Please note Chicago and D.C. placements are limited.

Required Materials