The National Organization of Portuguese-Americans (NOPA) has launched the first ever Portuguese American Fellowship program available to “highly motivated individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree or are graduate students in a relevant field with one to two years of experience,” the announced said.
For Dr. George Perry, NOPA’s President of the Board, “The fellowship program builds on NOPA’s commitment to contribute to the Portuguese-American experience in a variety of venues and advance our people in the national spotlight,” by focusing on higher education opportunities for young Portuguese Americans with the goal to enriched the educational, cultural, political empowerment of the community.
According to NOPA’s announcement, the new one year, non-paid fellowships program has the purpose to developing the next generation of community leaders through training in four critical areas of need which include the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Fellowship to develop the next generation of nonprofit leaders to pursue greater leadership roles within their professions and communities; the Government Relations Fellowship to provide high-potential individuals with the opportunity to further develop their leadership style and policy and analytical skills; the Journalism Fellowship for candidates who have innovative ideas to improve the practice or understanding of journalism; and the Social Science Research Fellowship to prepare students to support the advancement of research and understanding in the major fields of the social sciences. The fellows’ work experience will serve to impact the Portuguese American community and be enhanced by discussion sessions with national leaders who will serve as mentors.
For Francisco Semião, NOPA’s founding director, “The Portuguese American Fellowship Program is the first program of its type focused on empowering the Portuguese American community through providing our young professionals with opportunities to showcase their talent on a national platform. This program has the potential of producing great projects to help advance the Portuguese American agenda and make it more visible through cultivating future executive leaders; and published articles, policy briefs; and legislative advocacy at the federal and state levels.”
Based in Washington, DC, NOPA is a national non-profit and non-partisan organization with the mission to empower United States citizens and residents of Portuguese descent through advocacy, civic engagement, community development, education, and grassroots support. NOPA also serves to facilitate a positive relationship between Portugal and the United States.
NOPA’s president, Dr. George Perry, is the grandson of Portuguese immigrants with roosts in the Azores. He is a professor of biology and Dean of the College of Sciences at the University of Texas at San Antonio who has dedicated his research to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Perry is also on the advising broad of the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra in Portugal.
Applications are open starting June 16 and will be accepted until July 15. Finalists will be interviews via phone starting July 22 through July 31. Classes are scheduled to begin on September 2, 2014.