Upon taking office, Mayor Benjamin launched the Mayor's Fellow program that has welcomed over 300 students to date.  The program is open to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and provides an opportunity to actively participate in the municipal government and gain first-hand knowledge of how a high-energy local government office operates. The Mayor's Fellow program caters to students satisfying class credit, fulfilling internship requirements, or those simply wishing to gain experience working in public service, the community, and the governmental arena.


Responsibilities include assisting staff with research in various areas that may affect departments/agencies within the City of Columbia, helping with special projects and assisting with various office tasks. Fellows work closely with staff to identify best practices. City of Columbia’s office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Selected students will be asked to dedicate ten to twenty hours per week to the fellowship program. Professional attire is required for all Mayor's Fellows.
If you are interested in this program, please apply immediately. 

How to Apply 

Spring 2021 Applications are NOW OPEN through January 4th  

The attached application, along with a resume and references, should be completed and mailed or emailed to:

City of Columbia
Office of the Mayor
Attn: Mayor's Fellows Program
1737 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Email: [email protected] 

Phone: 803-545-4189
*In an effort to conserve paper, if you are able, please email the completed application.
Should you have any questions regarding the internship program or application, please contact Ariel Cathcart at 803-545-4189.

***Please note that this is an unpaid internship program.***

Meet the Fellows

Spring 2020 Fellows

Adriannah Greyson (Lexington, SC) is a senior Criminal Justice major who holds two associate degrees in Social Work and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Upon graduation, Adriannah hopes to become a CPS worker for DSS while pursuing a Master of Human Rights degree at the University of London’s online campus. With dreams of working for Interpol in human sex trafficking investigations or human advocacy with the United Nations, Adriannah views this fellowship as an opportunity to gain experience, knowledge, and tools to aid her in humanitarian work. During her free time, Adriannah enjoys family time with her husband and children. Hobbies include kickboxing, traveling, and remodeling projects.

Alexandria “Alex” Taylor (Columbia, SC) is a junior Public Health major with a Psychology minor at the University of South Carolina. At an early age she developed a passion for helping others attain holistic health and wellness. After serving in leadership positions in various school organizations and on the executive board of a S.C. based non-profit organization, Alex narrowed her focus on youth development. Alex’s career goal is to develop programs and policies that create communities that support the holistic health of local youth. Alex also hopes to start a non-profit of her own that can be considered a safe space for young people to be innovative, social, and healthy. She hopes that through the Mayor’s Fellows program she will gain knowledge on strategies used to create programs and policies that better her city in diverse ways. In her free time Alex enjoys surf skating, all things music and design, and hunting for new and local restaurants.

Ali Syed (Greenville, SC) is a senior Public Health major at the University of South Carolina. After graduating in May 2020, he plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at UofSC. Ali has been involved in many on and off-campus volunteering programs including Service Saturdays, Good Samaritan clinic, and the Humane Society. He looks forward to expanding his knowledge on local government and policies that affect the communities in Columbia with the Mayor’s Fellows Program. He is very grateful to Mayor Benjamin for starting this program because it prepares young people for government positions by teaching them useful skills. Using this knowledge, Ali plans to become a community health specialist who promotes health by working closely with families and local businesses. In his free time, Ali likes listening to music, playing video games, and spending time with friends.

Deanna Smith (Greenwood, SC) is a sophomore Psychology major and Public Relations minor at the University of South Carolina. After graduation, Deanna plans to attend graduate school and work towards a doctorate in Psychology. She hopes to raise awareness for mental health and the impact it has on a community level. As a fellow, Deanna hopes to learn more about the inner process of local government and how she can give back to the community. In her free time she participates in an independent indoor percussion group where she plays cymbals.

Harrison Otto (Boyertown, PA) is a senior Political Science major and English minor at the University of South Carolina. After graduation, he hopes to either attend law school or pursue a Master's degree in Public Policy. During his time at USC, Harrison has served as President for College Libertarians, and has helped organize various political demonstrations on campus. He is eager to serve as a Mayor's Fellow, and seeks to gain some experience working in local government and public administration before graduate school. In his spare time, Harrison enjoys reading and spending time with his dog, Zoey.

Luke Graves (Cabin John, MD) is a senior Political Science and History student at the University of South Carolina. While at USC, Luke has found a passion for public service and social advocacy. In the past three years, Luke has worked extensively with local organizations and student groups to combat sexual assault and intimate partner violence in his community. After graduating, Luke hopes to continue working with local non-profits while pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, allowing him to further his commitment to public service. Luke has worked with the South Carolina state government in multiple capacities and hopes that his experience as a Mayor’s Fellow will allow him to see the more localized impact that municipal government has on its citizens.

Rebecca Dunn (Columbia, SC) is a high school senior currently in the process of completing an Associate of Arts at Midlands Technical College. She is the Vice President of her school’s chapter of Students in Action (SIA) and also serves as a volunteer ACT tutor. After graduating from high school, she plans to continue her education at a 4-year institution majoring in Economics. Rebecca is interested in a career as an entrepreneur. She hopes that being a Mayor’s Fellow will allow her to gain experience solving real-world problems and cultivate essential leadership skills.