Lolade Folami was recently selected as a finalist for the 2016 Presidential Management Fellows Program. Folami joins the 552 finalists selected from over 6,000 applicants to secure a position with a federal government agency as a Fellow.
For Folami, pushing the status quo was a driving factor behind her decision to apply for the highly competitive program, which is designed to select and develop future leaders in government and provides elite access to government jobs. Fellows have one year to find a position within the federal government.
“The main reason I applied to be a fellow is because I wanted an edge. I’ve always been interested in understanding the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of government. I’m not comfortable with doing things simply because it’s the way things have always been done,” Folami says.
Folami has been working for the wage and investment division of the Internal Revenue Service. She is exploring Presidential Management Fellow positions within the IRS as well as the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration.
Folami, a first-generation American citizen from Houston, Texas, had moved to Atlanta after receiving her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Lagos in Nigeria. She came to the Andrew Young School on the advice of her older brother.
“My brother was studying information technology. When I talked with him about a master’s degree, he said it was a no-brainer, that his first choice was Georgia State. After doing my own research, I decided the Andrew Young School was the best fit for me,” she says.
She was able to work full-time for the IRS while completing classes for her master’s in public administration. Folami says her classes at Georgia State prepared her well for the tasks of working in a government agency.
“The homework and assignments we did during the master’s program prepared us for the work we’d actually be doing in the field. For example, in government agencies you’re going to have to know how to write memos. I learned how to get my point across in the best way, and that’s a skill I will use for the rest of my career,” Folami says.
Her classroom experience followed her all the way to the Presidential Management Fellow application process.
“During my application, I kept hearing my professor’s voice in my head,” Folami says.
Folami’s long-term goal is to work in the area of government accountability. She would like to help individuals understand how changes in policy programs are important and helpful to themselves and others.
“The only way to make change is to be a part of it,” she says.