Indiana State University Newsroom

Masters of Public Administration grad awarded fellowship

July 13, 2011

Recent Indiana State University Master's of Public Administration graduate Charlynn Turner will get hands-on experience working with state government in Illinois before finding a career.

The Center Point, Ind. native has been awarded a James H. Dunn Memorial Fellowship to work in the offices of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for one year.

Turner said she found information regarding the fellowship while job searching online.

"I decided to apply because the opportunity sounded like a stepping stone for my career," she said. "It would provide an option if I could not obtain full-time employment otherwise due to the competitive job market."
Turner began discussing the opportunity with two of her professors. She was surprised to learn that one of the professors, Matthew Bergbower, is a former Dunn Fellow.

Bergbower, who completed his fellowship from 2009 to 2010, is an assistant professor of American politics and political methodology at ISU. He worked in the governor's Springfield office under the deputy chief of staff office and remembers keeping busy on a wide variety of tasks, including rural affairs policies, legislative matters, and the budget.

"I was always busy so I felt like I was really contributing," Bergbower said. "You feel good about what you are doing."

Bergbower talked with Turner about the interview process and how to market herself in the best way.

"Charlynn is a solid student and person," Bergbower said. "I knew she would do great with or without my help in applying for the position."

Nathan Myers, assistant professor of the MPA program at ISU, assisted Turner with an essay required to be submitted with her application.

"Charlynn had to write a short essay on a public policy topic relevant to Illinois," Myers said. "As a part of her capstone, she was already investigating information on the health and economic effects of smoking bans at the state level. I helped her find reliable information and revise the essay."

Myers agreed that the fellowship is a good fit for Turner.
"Charlynn is a highly motivated individual with a desire to engage in public service," Myers said. "The fellowship will provide an excellent opportunity for her to apply the knowledge she gained from the MPA program in a professional setting."

Turner was one of about 15 students chosen from a large pool of applicants nationwide.

Although placements have yet to be announced, Turner was able to choose three offices that she would enjoy working in most.

"My first pick was the deputy chief of staff office and then sequentially the management and budget office, and legislative affairs," she said. She recently learned that she got her first pick and will start her fellowship Aug. 1.

Turner has previous experience with government via an internship with former U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth in 2007.

"I'm looking forward to being a part of the lawmaking process again," she said. "I hope to gain hands on experience as well as make valuable contacts in each level of government. I've already heard several jokes from people because of the track record of Illinois governors. But, Pat Quinn is doing a great job and I feel as though I will not be working for a corrupt office."

Turner chose to complete her MPA at ISU instead of other schools because she was able to serve a graduate assistantship.

"I enjoyed the small atmosphere at ISU and all of the services I could take advantage of as a student," Turner said.

Photo: - Charlynn Turner (left), a Master's of Public Administration graduate at Indiana State University, was surprised to learn that one of her faculty members, Matthew Bergbower, is a past recipient of the James H. Dunn Memorial Fellowship she has received to work in the Illinois governor's office. (ISU/Holley Hiett-Myers)

Contact: Matthew Bergbower, assistant professor of political science, Indiana State University, 812-237-2518 or

Writer: Britany Dean, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773