Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

International Rescue Committee (Seattle)’s Citizenship Program Fellow (2015)


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) serves refugees and communities victimized by oppression or violent conflict worldwide. Founded in 1933, the IRC is committed to freedom, human dignity and self-reliance. This commitment is expressed in emergency relief, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement assistance, and advocacy. The IRC in Seattle provides the services and support needed to assist refugees, asylees and victims of human trafficking to rebuild their lives and become independent and involved members of the community.

The IRC in Seattle provides a number of services to refugees, asylum recipients, survivors of human trafficking, and special immigrant visa holders, including:

  • Resettlement assistance including housing assistance and referrals to service providers;
  • Job readiness and placement assistance;
  • Cultural adjustment programming, including cultural orientation and social support groups for women;
  • Community orientation for adults and children;
  • Immigration services and assistance with adjustment of status;
  • Case management services; and
  • Volunteer opportunities for both refugees and other community members.


Fellowship Position

The IRC in Seattle seeks to improve and strengthen its citizenship preparation programming, and a Carlson Civic Fellow would be an ideal fit for this project. Refugees are eligible for citizenship through naturalization 5 years after their arrival in the United States, and IRC in Seattle maintains that more refugees would apply for citizenship if they felt confident that they could pass the naturalization test. The IRC in Seattle would ask the Civic Fellow to evaluate other citizenship preparation courses offered both within King County and across the country and consult with IRC staff on which best practices could be implemented. Using this information, the Civic Fellow would pilot the project under the supervision of the Community Integration Programs Coordinator and the immigration team.

The Fellow will:

  • Evaluate and compare different citizenship preparation programs and provide overview to IRC staff (January);
  • Develop a citizenship preparation program pilot plan, which may include the supervision of other volunteers if the Civic Fellow believes it is appropriate (February);
  • Pilot the citizenship pilot project (late February – March);
  • Evaluate pilot and develop sustainability plan for continuing pilot project (April – May);
  • Assist with grant research and writing for citizenship preparation in coordination with IRC staff (throughout project period).


To fulfill this role, an individual must demonstrate the following:

  • Strong organization skills;
  • Strong interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills;
  • Patience and willingness to try new ideas with no guarantee of success;
  • Willingness to learn from mistakes;
  • Clear communication style, both written and verbal; and
  • Interested in learning about other cultures.