Sabbatical Fellowship

Sabbatical Fellowship

The Sabbatical Fellowships is one the Foundation's longest-running programs. Learn More About our Current Fellow cohort and our Past Fellows

Featured Fellow

Sandy Jacobs received her first telescope in 1986 to search for Halley’s Comet in the night sky.  While the Challenger explosion tempered her early interest in space exploration, it reemerged when NASA’s New Horizons mission captured her own children’s imagination.  Sandy then led the development of the Department’s first space diplomacy slate of expert speakers and facilitated U.S. Speaker Programs at diplomatic missions around the world to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. 

During her Cox Fellowship, Sandy looks forward to exploring the work of public and private sector “space ambassadors,” using digital storytelling to augment the contributions of past, present, and future leaders of space exploration and commercialization.  She also looks forward to connecting with educators and university students interested in foreign affairs.

Sandy’s Foreign Service career, which includes assignments in India, Tajikistan, Estonia, Washington, and Uzbekistan, has focused on bridging the gap between public diplomacy and policy advocacy – especially in exchange programs, cybersecurity, and human rights.  She began her career at Citigroup as a Leadership Development Associate and later Assistant Vice President, then answered a personal call to public service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine and a Program and Training Officer at Peace Corps HQ.

Meet Our 2023-2024 Fellows

Jennifer Barnes Kerns

Jennifer Barnes Kerns grew up on her family’s allotment land in Ada, Oklahoma, the headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation.  Since she was a child, tribal sovereignty and tribal diplomacy have fascinated her.  This year, she will study historical and modern tribal government relations with federal, state, and local governments as well as inter-tribal government relations.  She will begin training as a language carrier through participation in a Chikasha Anompa immersion course and she will raise awareness of foreign service career opportunities in Native American communities.  Per capita, Native Americans enlist and serve with the Department of Defense more than any other minority group, yet this population remains the most underrepresented in the foreign affairs community.  Jennifer hopes to change that and bring more diversity to the Department of State. She has previously served in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Mexico, and South Korea, with a career devoted to promoting human rights and protecting U.S. citizens overseas.  Before joining the Department of State, she served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Chickasaw Nation.

Johanna Villalobos

Johanna Villalobos is committed to pursuing innovation, building resilient and diverse teams, and fostering a positive workplace. She aspires to lead by example and empower others to lead from any position. Department of State employees report feeling burned out due to unmanageable workloads, limited opportunities for growth, and a lack of accountability. Effective leadership that creates the conditions for teams to manage their professional and personal well-being is more crucial than ever before. Through the Cox Fellowship, Johanna will explore the relationship between happiness and leadership. Happy people are more productive and innovative. They are better leaders, they inspire others, and they affect real and lasting change. During her fellowship, Johanna looks forward to analyzing organizations globally renowned for success and productivity to gain insight into how they utilize happiness practices to retain talent and manage healthy and productive teams. She will work with social scientists and corporate experts to explore the real-world application of happiness and leadership principles. Simultaneously, Johanna will examine the Department from within through science-based research, industry benchmarks, and employee experience. Armed with this unconventional collection of information, Johanna will propose systemic changes that would allow the Department to not only become a ¨happier¨ institution, but also more effectively realize its global mission. Johanna has two decades of foreign policy, public diplomacy, and program management experience, having served and led teams in Bolivia, Ecuador, Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Washington.

Past Fellows

  • Robert Tynes, John H. Kelly, Richard L. Jackson 1981
  • John J. Taylor, Lionel A. Rosenblatt 1982
  • David Morrison, Michael Michaud, Douglas S. Kinney 1983
  • Jo Ann Hardee Collinge, Laurence E. Pope, Robert Immerman 1984
  • David Sloan, Luciano Mangiafico, Mark Hambley 1985
  • Raymond F. Smith, Jeannette P. Dubrow, Timothy M. Carney 1986
  • Mark A. Tokola, Larry G. Butcher, Manuel Barrera 1987
  • Edmund Van Gilder, David T. Jones 1988
  • Bismark Myrick, Christopher J. La Fleur, John M. Evans 1989
  • Theresa C. Jones, Peter D. Eicher 1990
  • Ronald W. Mortensen, Donald C. Johnson 1991
  • Anita S. Booth, David D. Pearce, Donald E. Terpstra 1992
  • Inez G. Kerr, Sally V. Slocum 1993
  • Laura Livingston 1994
  • Soching Tsai 1995
  • Daniel Russell 1996
  • Karen Volker 1997
  • Brian L. Browne 1998
  • Elizabeth Ewing 1999
  • John L. Withers II, Patricia H. Scroggs 2000
  • Kirsten Ann Schulz, Kathleen Kavalec 2001
  • Vonda Kimble Delawie, Mark Bezner 2002
  • Marc D. Koehler, Lois A. Cecsarini 2003
  • Bruce P. Kleiner, Lynne E. Donovan 2004
  • Karen M. Morrissey, Samuel C. Laeuchli 2005
  • Lora Berg 2006
  • Ava Rogers, John Pommersheim 2007
  • Katelyn Choe, Karen Choe 2008
  • Howard A. Van Vranken, Catherine Rodriguez 2009
  • Margot Carrington, Kelly Adams-Smith 2010
  • Jennifer Johnson, Kim Dubois 2011
  • Steven Newhouse, Wendy Barton 2012
  • Rebecca Ross, Maeve Dwyer, Aaron Sampson 2013
  • Sherry Zalika Sykes, Louis Fintor 2014
  • John Espinoza 2015
  • Luis Mendez, Margaret Diop 2016
  • Amy Storrow, Christopher Teal 2017
  • Arati Shroff, Menaka Nayyar 2018
  • Christine DalBello, Jeremy Beer 2019
  • Claire Smolik, Ann DeLong 2020
  • Manju Sadarangani, Gillian Apfel 2021
  • Sandra Jacobs, Leslie Moeller 2022