Endpoint Publications: Behind the Scenes

Hey future fellows!

So you’re at the point of your AIF Clinton Fellowship where you’re starting to think about your cohort’s Endpoint Publications, eh? Congrats, that means you’ve made it at least halfway through your fellowship – yay!

I’d like to try and pass on a little wisdom here to hopefully help you think about what you’d like to create. It will be part of your cohort’s legacy in the program, which may feel like a daunting task at first. 

I was in the 2019-2020 batch, and we had to live up to the 2018-2019 batch’s super cool cookbook. Past batches have written collections of academic-style articles, written and illustrated educational children’s books, created magazines, etc. They’ve done all sorts of amazing stuff. It’s worth it to go check out what’s been done before. 

A few of the publications from the past.

My cohort came up with the idea for a podcast, and I was one of two fellows to take that project forward and make it happen. (Maybe you’ve listened to it? If not, you can find it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and the AIF YouTube channel! Subtle plug, I know.)

Use this article as a 3-step brainstorming guide with your co-fellows during Midpoint or at any time when you need to think about your Endpoint Publications. 

ONE: Purpose 

  • What kind of mark does your cohort want to make on the fellowship program and on AIF? 
  • How can your publication be used in the future?

AIF uses these Endpoint Publications for a variety of purposes – to recruit new applicants to the fellowship, to show to the donors who support the program, to publicize or advocate on behalf of a specific issue, to spread knowledge and add to the professional literature. 

For example, I read through ‘Serve Learn Lead’ (by the 2012 cohort) before my first interview to research the culture of AIF as an organization. Since the term “international development” is quite loaded, I wanted to understand their attitudes and approaches to the sector. I learned quite a bit about the organization, about the character of the people in the AIF Clinton Fellowship Program, and was exposed to some new patterns of thinking. Therefore, ‘Serve Learn Lead’ fulfilled one role as marketing and recruitment collateral and another as an educational piece. 

When it came to our cohort, we wanted our Endpoint Publication to reinforce another function of AIF – the role of increasing diplomacy by creating bonds and relationships between Indians and Americans. We felt as if we had created many bonds within our cohort, and wanted to showcase that unique function of the fellowship while also highlighting each individual fellow. 

TWO: Content

  • What do you want to share with the world from the past 5-6 months? 
  • What has been the highlight of your fellowship? 
  • What was the most important thing you’ve learned? What are you still hung up on?
  • Talk about these questions with your co-fellows and see if any themes arise. 

Our cohort had our purpose – we wanted to highlight our bonds and our stories. Collectively, we had SO MANY funny, heartwarming, thought-provoking, cringe-worthy, sad, empowering stories from our time in the fellowship, and we thought it might be entertaining in a general human-interest sense. This was the step that really got the ball rolling for us.

One reason I stepped forward to produce the podcast was that this content really excited me. I felt like throughout my fellowship, I got so much value from being with my cohort. Those 19 other people – kind, funny, genuine, beautiful, brilliant people – were the reason I stuck with the fellowship through many trials (Listen to Episode 1 if you want to hear me “spill the chai” on that). So to work on a project that was highlighting 19 of my friends was an opportunity I jumped on. 

THREE: Medium

  • How do you want to share your content? Think out of the box here. 

My cohort realized that while we enjoy expressing ourselves through the written word, in today’s busy world, visual and audio media are more easily consumed.

As fellows, we write a lot on the blog anyway (case in point here). What else can you do? How can you push the limits beyond where past cohorts have gone before?

ALSO THREE: Skills

  • What skills did you learn during your fellowship? Now you can showcase those! 
  • Was there something you wanted to do for your project but it never happened? Now’s your time to shine!

This is “also three” because you should think about this while you’re thinking about your medium. 

Once someone threw out the idea to do our Endpoint Publication with audio media, I realized that this project was shaping up to have skill sets and areas of professional development – creativity, storytelling, logistics/planning, project management – that I had set out to address as part of my fellowship. I wanted to flex some creative muscles and create something from nothing, coordinate a project from start to finish, and manage a project with a staggering amount of logistics. 

If you have fellows in your cohort with videography and editing skills, artistic skills, creative writing skills, web design skills – think about how you could incorporate those into your Endpoint Publication. What makes your cohort uniquely positioned to create one project over another?

I didn’t know anything about recording specs, audio editing, sound design, RSS feeds, etc. before we started the podcast. I learned Adobe Audition from scratch, and I’m so happy I branched out and picked up a new skill! So even if you don’t have the specifics down yet, stretch yourself. 

Editing the audio for Episode 5 in Adobe Audition.

Most importantly, the Endpoint Publication is a way for your cohort to collectively express whatever they want to from your fellowship experiences. 

You have a whole alumni network awaiting you in a few months, and we’re all looking forward to what you create!

McKenna is serving as an American India Foundation (AIF) Clinton Fellow with Medha in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. For her Fellowship project, she is expanding partnerships with educational institutions to scale up an existing 21st-century career skills training center designed to improve employment outcomes for youth. McKenna graduated with a degree in nutritional sciences. During her undergraduate years, she participated in research on the iron fortificants and protein quality of different fortified blended food products used by the U.S. Agency for International Development to address malnutrition and iron-deficient anemia in developing countries. After several years of nutrition research, she began questioning the underlying causes of malnutrition and poverty in the developing world. She diversified her work to investigate the social and economic factors that impact health outcomes, such as a community advocacy group for affordable housing in Manhattan, Kansas, and eventually to Split, Croatia, in 2017 to learn more about socialized healthcare systems. A childhood exposure to Indian culture left McKenna with a lifelong passion for the country, which led her to spend four months studying abroad in Bangalore at Christ University. She is excited to return to India in a professional capacity as an AIF Clinton Fellow. During her year of service, McKenna is looking forward to evolving professionally, engaging with the cohort, and gaining new perspectives on the development sector.

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