Crafting Success: McCarthy Fellowship experience

Step into Giuseppe Cannavó’s 25′, Civil Engineering transformative journey as he unveils the life-altering experience of his McCarthy Fellowship program in the heart of San Francisco. From navigating the intricate corridors of public policy to crafting influential strategies with the Strategic Planning and Performance Team at the San Francisco Department of Public Works, Giuseppe’s story resonates with passion, dedication, and the undeniable power of mentorship.

It feels like just yesterday when I stumbled upon the McCarthy Fellowship program. Little did I know that this opportunity would become a pivotal stepping stone in my career, opening doors to a semester-long internship that not only broadened my understanding of the public agencies but also paved the way for landing a job in the exciting city of San Francisco.

My advice? Apply regardless of your academic or professional background. Here’s the truth: public policy is connected to every aspect of our lives. This program equips you with skills and insights that transcend disciplines, preparing you for a future where understanding public policies is essential. Concerned about the time commitment? It’s natural to feel hesitant about dedicating fifteen hours a week to an internship during the school semester, but let me assure you, this experience is more than just fulfilling a credit requirement. It’s a defining milestone for your career trajectory.

Working within a public agency isn’t just a job—it’s an invitation to a network spanning across 35+ public agencies in San Francisco. The connections you make and the experiences you gain are foundational for your future. Moreover, the support is remarkable. Both the school faculty and your fellow supervisor aren’t just there to oversee your work; they become a guiding figure—a friend, a reference, and someone who understands the balancing act between work and school. Their mentorship goes beyond the professional realm; they help you navigate and accommodate your career interests.

As a Civil Engineer student, I was a McCarthy Fellow with the Strategic Planning and Performance Team at the San Francisco Department of Public Works, my journey was nothing short of inspirational. It allowed me to explore the complexities of public policy on infrastructure, uncovering its profound socio-economic implications and the role public agencies play in shaping our communities. My work was around assessing Capital improvement projects. From developing Key Performance Indicators for street cleanliness data to researching benchmarking studies and management practices. Every project aligned with my career goals and offered critical insights for the department’s performance.

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Professor Kathleen Coll and Angie for their support and guidance throughout this journey. Credits to Christopher Koh, my supervisor, under his guidance I grasped the essence of effective leadership. His emphasis on transparency and integrity showed the need for ethical governance in challenging situations. I’m pleased to share that I’ve been extended an offer to join the Port of San Francisco’s engineering division as a permit technician. This opportunity stands as a testament to the remarkable networking opportunities that the McCarthy fellowship has offered me.


Learn more about becoming a McCarthy Fellow Here


Bay Areacareercivil engineeringcommunity engagementinternshipLeo T. McCarthyMcCarthy Fellow in San FranciscoMcCarthy FellowsMentoringpublic agencypublic policyPublic ServiceSan Francisco Department of Public Works

Athena Davis • December 23, 2023

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