Young Leaders Share Their Experience at 2024 D.C. Fellowship

January 12, 2024
DC Fellowship 2024 | First Liberty Insider

by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

First Liberty’s Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy (CRCD) recently held its eighth annual D.C. Fellowship.

Every year, we select a group of young, bright leaders for an immersive, all-expenses paid trip to our nation’s capital. Over the course of this five-day program, they hear from and get to interact one-on-one with some of the country’s top scholars and legal minds. This hands-on experience equips, motivates and shows them practical ways to use their talents in service to our Republic. It teaches them how to use this knowledge to advocate for religious liberty, particularly in the sphere of government and public policy.

Many of the students who participate say the Fellowship is life-changing. They leave inspired and filled with a sense of hope. For some, the program ignites a spark that changes their career path.

But don’t take my word for it. Several D.C. Fellows share what their experience was like this year:

DC Fellowship 2024 | First Liberty Insider

“The DC Fellowship was an amazing opportunity academically, professionally, and spiritually. I had the privilege of listening to and interacting with professionals from a variety of disciplines, each with useful advice on how to represent Christ in the workplace. It was a pleasure getting to know the other students and take in the history and beauty of DC together.” – Elijah H.

DC Fellowship 2024 | First Liberty Insider

“The D.C. Fellowship was hugely impactful and informative as I think about future vocational opportunities that align with my gifting, passions and values. We fellows had the opportunity to hear from professionals throughout the political world, including prominent figures at think-tanks, journalists, policy advisors, and former Congressman Bill Redmond. This was an incredible opportunity to make connections, not only with the high-profile speakers, but with similarly minded students from other universities all while sharing in the majesty of Washington D.C.” – Christian P.

DC Fellowship 2024 | First Liberty Insider

“My experience at the D.C. Fellowship was truly incredible. I was surrounded by a group of remarkable peers from colleges all across the country. I had the privilege to meet and listen to individuals with intentional, God-driven missions in life. The program helped me understand how I can further religious liberty in my professional career and use my gifts to serve the purpose of God.” – Allison H.

DC Fellowship 2024 | First Liberty Insider

“My experience in the D.C. Fellowship motivated and equipped me with practical means to use my God-given passions to effectively serve our country in the public sphere. It was great to be able to connect with like-minded peers and discuss how we can operate and make decisions in a political atmosphere while still exemplifying our Christian faith. I am so grateful for the opportunity that First Liberty gave me and am looking forward to implementing these skills into my professional career going forward.” – Elizabeth E.

DC Fellowship 2024 | First Liberty Insider

“The DC Fellowship was an experience I won’t forget. Spending 5 days in Washington, DC connecting with and learning from professionals in public service was extremely helpful for me and my future career. My pursuit of public service is to enhance the minds of our nation’s future through teaching high school government after I graduate. This experience allowed me to sharpen and refine my understanding of different jobs and functions of our federal government.” – Edward M.

DC Fellowship 2024 | First Liberty Insider

“The D.C. Fellowship taught me valuable lessons about the current state of American government and our Constitutional liberties, all the while inspiring me to pursue a Christian calling. My perspective on my personal career transformed from mere passion about political issues to empowerment in the knowledge that God will use my career to change our society in furtherance of His kingdom. Visiting monuments, museums and the Capitol brought American history to life. Having conversations with mentors and the other like-minded students created a uniquely special learning environment.” – Ally K.

The top-notch educational initiatives offered through the CRCD are crucial initiatives. This is how we can ensure America’s future lawyers, teachers, CEOs, politicians, and influencers have an opportunity to learn first-hand the value of religious freedom and be equipped to defend it. Developing a new generation of bold religious-freedom advocates is how First Liberty will continue winning in the courtroom and in our culture.

Thanks to your support, programs like the D.C. Fellowship are paying off in a huge way. In 2023, more than 50 students from nearly 40 different institutions graduated from CRCD fellowships and programs. And since the launch of the CRCD in 2020, more than 200 students have benefited.

The next generation will soon lead our country and will carry the great responsibility of preserving religious liberty for all. Like never before, they must be prepared to fight for our First Freedom.

As First Liberty’s President and CEO Kelly Shackelford explains, “Educating and training the next generation about religious liberty is among the most important investments for our country.”

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