• Here's a PDF of the Application Overview to work on until you are ready to fill out the online application.
  • And here's the online application for the 2022-2023 Autry Fellowship (due Wednesday, January 5, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EST) 
  • Read about former Autry Fellows
From left, former Autry Fellows Rishi Jaswaney, Elsa Mota, Anna Shelton-Ormond, and Joshua Mbanusi.

MDC recruits a talented and passionate recent college graduate each year to work one full year as a paid staff member at MDC. The Autry Fellow works on a range of projects addressing pressing issues of equity in the South.

Applications are posted in early October and due in mid-January.

The ideal Autry Fellow is deeply committed to advancing social equity and access and is eager to support the mission of MDC—equipping Southern leaders, institutions, and communities to improve economic mobility and advance equity.

MDC believes that each Autry Fellow has something unique and fresh to bring to MDC’s work. In turn, MDC provides Autry Fellows with an experience that will enhance their understanding of social change and help further them on their individual path to promoting equity.

The Autry Fellowship celebrates the life and perpetuates the work of the late George B. Autry, founding president of MDC. He led MDC for 32 years with a passion for improving opportunities for people and places struggling to keep pace with economic and social change.

The Autry Fellowship Experience

Autry Fellows come to MDC with unique backgrounds: their individual strengths, aspirations, and perspectives. We believe fellowship years should be as unique as the Fellows themselves. This means that each Fellow jointly determines his or her own work and goals in consultation with an MDC supervisor. Regardless of variations in the day-to-day experiences of Autry Fellows, all have a shared purpose: growing as leaders while learning MDC’s strategies for promoting economic and social justice.


MDC accomplishes its work through a variety of projects. In a typical year, an Autry Fellow will be part of three to five project teams that will be catered to the fellow’s interests. Fellows serve in roles that both expose them to new skills and ideas and provide them with an opportunity to showcase and sharpen their existing strengths.

  • MDC Areas of Work: Projects focus on education, employment, economic security, and strategic philanthropy.
  • Project Teams: All projects are carried out by small groups of MDC staff and often include collaboration with funders, community organizations, and other MDC partners.
  • Common Functions: Past projects have included research, data collection, policy scans, proposal and report writing, facilitating community partnerships, and communications—any of which the Fellow may support or lead.

Autry-specific roles & benefits

In addition to participating in MDC’s general work, the Autry Fellow also fulfills some unique roles. This Autry-specific work, or “Autry Time,” accounts for up to half of a Fellow’s time at MDC.

  • Fellowship Recruitment: Each Autry leads the search for the next Fellow. This gives Fellows a management role and, more importantly, helps sustain the bond between fellowship alums.
  • Relationship Management: Autry Fellows may use part of their time to attend meetings and events hosted by organizations and individuals that are in MDC’s broader network, but may not be directly involved in an MDC project during the Fellow’s year. In this way, Fellows learn more about Durham, North Carolina, and the South.
  • Personal Development: Autry Fellows may work with their supervisor to design a project or goal that allows the Fellow to develop professionally while pursuing an issue or line of work that contributes to MDC’s programs, internal operations, and community. Additionally, Autry Fellows will have leadership and professional development opportunities that coincide with MDC learning activities and will participate in learning sessions alongside the Emerging Leaders Fellowship.


Applicants must be either in their final year of undergraduate studies or no more than two years past their graduation date from any four-year college or university, and must be eligible to work in the United States without sponsorship. Applicants must be able to commit to beginning one full year of work between 6/1 and 8/1.


  • Commitment to equity issues in the South and eagerness to learn about the unique features of this region.
  • Meaningful direct experience with marginalized communities that are struggling.
  • Prior work, study or personal engagement in fields relevant to MDC's areas of work.
  • Ability to communicate and work with people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • Commitment to MDC's mission.
  • Demonstrated leadership potential.
  • Excellent communication, writing and oral presentation skills.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel.


  • Salary beginning at $36,000 and adjusted based on work experience
  • 15 days of paid vacation leave
  • Subsidized accrued health insurance; dental and vision offered at affordable rates
  • Competitive retirement plan with generous employer match
  • Wellness program subsidizing gym and fitness memberships

*Significant post-academic work experience will be taken into consideration when determining compensation. This does not include internships held during undergraduate years.

Application Process

The application process is competitive and involves two rounds: an initial application and finalist interviews.

A panel comprising members of MDC’s staff, Board of Directors and the Autry family reviews applications and awards the fellowship. References will be asked of finalists who are invited to interview for the fellowship.

MDC staff will notify all candidates of their initial status within four weeks of the application closing date and choose the Fellow immediately following an interview day in late February/early March. The Fellowship will begin in the summer of 2017, with the start date to be negotiated.


Contact 2021-2022 Autry Fellow Sofia Molina at AutryFellowship@mdcinc.org or 919.797.2903