Equity Centered Leadership Project

Autry Fellowship

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The Autry Fellowship program for 2024-2025 has been paused as part of MDC’s internal project evaluation process. Please check back in Fall 2024 for the 2025-2026 application.

Project Overview

The Autry Fellowship Program builds networks of emerging leaders who will address social issues related to equity in the South. Each year, MDC recruits a talented and passionate recent college graduate for a one-year Fellowship that provides opportunities to work alongside MDC staff on a range of projects addressing pressing issues of equity in the South.

The Autry Fellowship Program celebrates the life of 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:

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 path to promoting equity.

The Fellowship is a co-designed program with each Fellow jointly developing their program work and development 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.


Fellowship Roles

MDC accomplishes its work through a variety of projects. In a typical year, an Autry Fellow will be part of two to three project teams that will be aligned with 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.

In addition to participating in MDC’s programmatic 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.

  • Capstone Project: The Autry Fellow may work with their supervisor to design a capstone project 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.
  • Professional Development: Additionally, Autry Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in leadership and professional development activities, including access to 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.



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 7/1 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 written and oral presentation skills.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel.
  • Experience with project management platforms (Slack, Asana), and Microsoft Office 365, is a plus.



  • Salary beginning at $42,000 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 Autry Fellowship program for 2024-2025 has been paused as part of MDC’s internal project evaluation process. Please check back in Fall 2024 for the 2025-2026 application.

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

A panel comprising members of MDC’s staff, the 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 to six weeks of the application closing date and choose the Fellow immediately following an interview day.

Read about former Autry Fellows.

If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact Senior Program Director, Kerri Forrest.

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Contact the Project Team

Kerri Forrest, Senior Program Director

Email Kerri Forrest