By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 – The White House Fellows Program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first- hand, high-level experience with the workings of the federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs,” according to a White House press release.
The program provides those selected with an opportunity to work within the U.S. government, and it is intended to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service.
Education and community service also are key components of the fellowship program. Each fellow must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully at senior levels in the federal government.
Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields, including government, business, media, medicine, education, diplomacy and the military.
Air Force Lt. Col. Rodney Lewis, a C-17A pilot and commander of the 4th Airlift Squadron, will spend his fellowship at the White House.
Lewis was directly responsible for the Defense Department’s only Prime Nuclear Airlift Force, which handles the nation's most sensitive cargo and provides tactically qualified C-17A crews who stand ready to airdrop combat troops and supplies anywhere in the world.
In 2010, Lewis was awarded the Air Force Association National Medal of Merit for his work supporting children with medical problems in the Pilot for a Day program. He is a native of Oklahoma City, Okla.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Theodore Johnson is an information warfare officer who recently served as a military professor at the U.S. Naval War College, where he taught cyberspace and information operations.
Johnson, who will spend his fellowship at the Energy Department, deployed in 2007 with Expeditionary Strike Group SEVEN in support of Operation Sea Angel II, the disaster relief response to Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. He hails from from Raleigh, N.C.
Army Maj. Jaron Wharton most recently served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he was a special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for policy where he served as a liaison to the president’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Wharton will serve his fellowship with the U.S. Agency for International Development. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academyand a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit think tank. , He is from Birmingham, Ala.
Lt. Clay Pell is a Coast Guard judge advocate general. Pell executes regular Coast Guard exchanges with China to improve military diplomacy, instructs courses on human rights and military justice, and has prosecuted crimes for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Prior to military service, Pell worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, and international law firms.
Pell helped lead a national campaign to increase funding for inexpensive, lifesaving medicines for children under five, and has supported Progreso Latino, the International Institute, and the China Working Group in their drive to instruct foreign languages in local schools and provide critical services to communities of new Americans.
Pell, who is fluent in Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic and studied law in China and Argentina, will undertake his fellowship at the White House. He is a native of Providence, R.I.
Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service, White House officials said in a released statement.