Become an Emerson Fellow

During the 11-month fellowship, Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows develop a deep understanding of effective solutions to hunger and poverty, and their own roles in achieving Zero Hunger in the United States. Following orientation and field training in Washington, D.C., Emerson Fellows spend five months with community-based organizations throughout the United States. In mid-February fellows return to Washington for a second placement with organizations and government agencies focused on national anti-hunger and anti-poverty policy. Throughout the fellowship, fellows hone essential skills and form a strong professional cohort through in-person trainings, retreats, and professional development sessions.

The Field-to-Policy Bridge

Fellows' placements expose them to a variety of approaches to ending hunger at both the local, state, and federal level. Fellows' work can include research, evaluation, organizing, advocacy, outreach, and public education. Fellows present their findings from their field work in February and contribute original material to our database of resources and publications.

Liz Clasen-Kelly headshot
I have a great love for frontline service, but I also have this drive to connect this frontline service to systems change. The Hunger Fellowship was the first program that gave me the lens to say, these are two things to hold in balance. I really appreciate that exposure to the two—it gave me a sense that it would be possible to combine these things in the world. Liz Clasen-Kelly, Executive Director, Men's Shelter of Charlotte (Emerson Fellow, '00-'01)

Read more about Liz in our 25th Anniversary Alum Report

Addressing Root Causes

We cannot fully eradicate hunger without first addressing the underlying conditions that drive it. Fellows work at their field and policy placements to address the root causes of hunger and poverty, including racism, sexism, ableism, and class discrimination.

Jessica Luna headshot
I really appreciate the anti-racist lens that the Hunger Center’s work continues to take as it moves forward. I find that really powerful and unique, and I don’t know any other programs out there doing this kind of work Jessica Luna, Lead Program Analyst, SNAP Program Development Division, USDA (Emerson Fellow, '10-'11)

Read more about Jessica

Learning Together

Each class of Emerson Fellows forms a powerful learning cohort, coming together at regular intervals during the fellowship for trainings, retreats, and professional development sessions. All trainings incorporate the Hunger Center’s Leadership Capabilities model, and enhance fellows’ ability to become effective agents for change.

David Blount headshot
Personally, it was the affirmation and validation that I needed for my own voice....Knowing that my voice is valuable, and that I do have something to contribute, that was a huge realization for me that came out of my fellowship experience. David Blount, Emerson Fellow, '14-'15

Read more about David in our 25th Anniversary Alum Report


Interested in learning more about the fellowship? Watch our webinar where we discuss the work of the Congressional Hunger Center, provide an overview of the fellowship and how to apply to become a Hunger Fellow, and answer applicant questions.

Join Us

Ready to join our network of leaders in the movement to end hunger in the U.S.?

Applications to join the 2021-2022 class of Emerson Hunger Fellows are now closed. We will begin accepting applications for the 2022-2023 class in fall 2021.

Read our guide for fellowship applicants to learn more about the fellowship, including selection criteria, application timeline, benefits, and much more.

And make sure to sign up for our newsletter to get all the latest news about the fellowship and the Hunger Center.