James Dunn Fellowship

​​​The application for the 2021-2022 class of James H. Dunn, Jr. Memorial Fellows is now available.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Februrary 12, 2021, at midnight (11:59 p.m. CST). All documents from outside sources, such as transcripts and letters of recommendation, will be accepted until Friday, Februrary 12, 2021, at midnight (11:59 p.m. CST) as well.

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.

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.


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, legislation and administrative rules, clemency, ethics and compliance, labor and employment, Freedom of Information Act requests, and other day-to-day legal questions. General Counsel Dunn Fellows work closely with the legal team on many of these substantive areas. Job duties include assisting with drafting and editing correspondence and other legal documents, processing Freedom of Information Act requests, tracking audit and ethics reports, researching legal issues, and working on special projects.


Policy – The policy fellow will be a member of the Policy Team in the Governor’s Office. The policy fellow will work with the team to advance policy initiatives that improve the lives of Illinoisans, assist in researching and developing plans around existing and new policy areas, and provide general support to the team. The fellow will also assist the policy team during its bill review process and gain exposure to the legislative affairs team as the two teams collaborate to advance the administration’s legislative agenda.


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.


Deputy Governor Sol Flores  – The Dunn Fellow for Deputy Governor Flores and her team will work directly on Health and Human Services and participate in the development and implementation of the Governor’s policy agenda.  The Dunn Fellow supports the Deputy Governor’s oversight of state agencies including: the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Public Health and Department of Children and Family Services among others. The Dunn Fellow also organizes the Deputy Governor’s portfolio of state board and commission appointments, as well as providing administrative assistance whenever necessary.


Deputy Governor Jesse RuizThe Education Dunn Fellow will assist the Deputy Governor, and the entire education team, by conducting research and drafting reports regarding education team policy initiatives across the early childhood-to-higher education spectrum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The Fellow will also provide support for day-to-day operations of the team, including but not limited to, monitoring and reporting on current events and news articles relating to education, organizing and supporting meetings with external stakeholders, and tracking team tasks and operations.


Deputy Governor Christian Mitchell – A Dunn Fellow working for Deputy Governor Mitchell will support the team's work, which pertains primarily to energy, environment, public safety, infrastructure, and criminal justice.  Responsibilities will include researching and briefing the team on relevant policies and topics and engaging with the agencies overseen by Deputy Governor Mitchell. Fellows will gain experience in all facets of executive governance through interacting with Governor's Office and agency staff and participating in the crafting and implementation of the Governor's policies.


Office of Management and 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.


Senior Advisor on Cannabis to the Governor – The Dunn Fellow for the Senior Advisor will participate in multiple projects and initiatives in the Governor’s Office. As a member of the team they will be responsible for writing reports, conducting research and aiding in the scheduling process.

External Affiars  – The External Affairs team serves as liaisons between the Governor’s Office and its many external stakeholders. Examples include local units of government, labor unions, community organizations, and other civic organizations. The External Affairs Dunn Fellow will provide support for day-to-day operations of the External Affairs Team. Specific duties include assisting with administrative tasks, supporting the logistical planning and execution of meetings & events, and contributing to the drafting of internal briefing memos. 

Boards and Commission  –  Spanning the breadth of state government, the Governor is responsible for appointing qualified individuals to over 300 state boards and commissions in addition to cabinet appointments, high-level positions, and over 1,000 personnel spots within state government. The Executive Appointments Team oversees these appointments, working to coordinate each step in the process. The Dunn Fellow will assist in outreach efforts, identifying candidates, vetting, and research. Additionally, the  Dunn Fellow will assist in tracking and publishing data required by the Executive Appointments Act, maintaining accurate and up to date information on the Boards and Commissions website, liaising with Deputy Governor teams in the office, creating materials for the Governor’s personal review at weekly meetings and other responsibilities as assigned.

Office of Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton – Dunn Fellows placed in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor are tasked with developing statewide policy recommendations on a range of topics impacting Illinoisans’ quality of life; supporting building relationships with key external stakeholders such as state legislators, agency leads, and national and local community leaders; and collaborating with staff to ensure the Office meets ethics and compliance standards. These tasks require Dunn Fellows to work directly with the Policy Director, General Counsel, Legislative Liaison, other department leads in the office.


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