ICMA is pleased to award this year’s Local Government Management Fellowship Judy L. Kelsey Scholarship to two current fellows.

Established in August 2019, this award is named in honor of Judy Lyn Kelsey, a pioneer in the local government management profession and long-time ICMA member, who generously gifted $108,941 to ICMA in the disbursement of her estate.

With her gift, ICMA established the Local Government Management Fellowship Judy L. Kelsey Scholarship to assist emerging women leaders who have been accepted into the ICMA Local Government Management Fellowship (LGMF) program, which places a fellow in a manager’s or department head’s office in a council-manager community. This year’s recipients of the award are Sydney Bannister and Risi Karim.

Sydney Bannister

Sydney Bannister is currently serving as one of two Cookingham-Noll Fellows in Kansas City, Missouri, primarily working in the budget office on specialized budget office projects. She also coordinates and facilitates the Community Engagement University. Sydney is on track to finish her master of public administration degree from the University of Kansas in May 2021. Before joining the LGMF program, Sydney served as a management intern for the League of Kansas Municipalities, as well as a management intern for the Olathe City Clerk’s Office. In her essay, Sydney shared, “I believe Judy Kelsey is a testament to the innate ability we as women possess to persevere and find a way through tough times.” Sydney shows a clear dedication to the profession and is planning on using the scholarship to pay off student loans and pursue professional development opportunities.

Risi Karim

Risi Karim is currently serving as a fellow in the city of Edina, Minnesota, where she has supported a number of COVID-19 related projects for the city, as well as serving as the project manager for reporting energy benchmarking data for city facilities. Before joining the LGMF program, Risi served as a management assistant for city of Topeka, Kansas. She is in the final semester of the master of public administration program at University of Kansas. Risi explained in her essay, “It is my hope that one day I will also be able to pay it forward and contribute to the legacy of the women in this profession that have come before me by mentoring another young woman in local government, while also setting a model example to draw more women of color to the profession.” Risi is planning on using her scholarship to cover costs from moving to serve in her fellowship and continuing her studies.

The scholarship, totaling $5,000 for each individual, is awarded to recipients to augment their salary and defray personal expenses, including living expenses, student loan payments, or personal/professional development expenses.

Sydney and Risi were selected by the Judy Kelsey Scholarship Selection Subcommittee of the Local Government Management Fellowship Advisory Board, which is made up of LGMF alumni. The committee read and scored essays from eight applicants on four areas of criteria: demonstrated financial need, understanding of the award, demonstrated commitment to the local government profession, and a description of their intended use of the award.

Join us in congratulating our award recipients!