Food Studies major named 2020 Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow

Phoebe Ambrose PortraitPhoebe Ambrose, a sophomore majoring in food studies in the Falk College and citizenship and civic engagement in the Maxwell School, has been named a 2020 Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow.

Ambrose was one of 14 fellows selected from among more than 900 applicants and is Syracuse University’s first Mount Vernon Fellow. The award provides Ambrose with the opportunity to participate in a six-week, fully funded institute at both George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and in Old Town Alexandria, both in Virginia. In addition to costs associated with institute tuition, travel, room, and board, Ambrose will receive a $3,000 stipend as part of the fellowship.

Owing to coronavirus mitigation efforts, the summer 2020 edition of the Mount Vernon institute has been deferred until further notice. When it is held, Ambrose will have the chance to enhance her leadership skills both in the classroom and through interactions with senior leaders in government, corporate and nonprofit positions. Additionally, the fellowship provides Ambrose with an opportunity to connect with other young leaders from across the United States in order to build a network devoted to changing the world. At the conclusion of the program, Ambrose will have the chance to design, implement and present results from a capstone project meant to benefit local communities.

Much of Ambrose’s undergraduate work has focused on community gardening. She has invested time as a volunteer at Brady Farm, a Syracuse community garden that provides organically grown food to local communities and runs urban ecology workshops. This past summer, Syracuse University began its own community garden, Pete’s Giving Garden, and Ambrose’s capstone project as a Mount Vernon Fellow will focus on increasing local community engagement with the garden.

Ambrose grew up on a farm and attended Manlius Pebble Hill School in nearby DeWitt. She plans to pursue a master’s degree before moving into the nonprofit sector, and hopes to found and run an organization focused on implementing community gardens in schools. Ambrose sees farming as an important way people can learn resilience, adaptability and self-sufficiency. A member of Alpha Gamma Delta, she is also an Invest in Syracuse Scholar and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program. Ambrose worked with the University’s Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) on her application for the fellowship.

The Mount Vernon Leadership Fellowship, in its sixth year, has built a reputation for identifying and attracting top talent. Previous recipients have gone on to win additional prestigious awards, including Fulbright, Schwarzman, Rangel and Trump Fellowships. You can read more about the fellowship at the Mount Vernon website. For more information about this and other scholarship and fellowship opportunities available, please contact the CFSA at

This story was originally written by Dominic Wilkens, a Ph.D. candidate in geography in the Maxwell School and published at