Transition Term is one of Harvard Kennedy School's most popular experiential learning opportunities that challenges students to put their skills and passion for government to work while supporting newly elected mayors, county executives, and governors from across the country as they shift from campaigning to governing.

Now in entering its sixth year, Transition Term is a nonpartisan program that matches newly elected leaders with teams of HKS students who join them full-time for two weeks during the Kennedy School’s January Term. Students are selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants and help accelerate projects based on each host administration’s priorities and rapidly evolving needs that arise during the intense early weeks of governing.

By participating in Transition Term, administrations benefit from the skills, talent, and dedication of HKS students who are passionate about state and local government work. And students gain real-world experience accelerating key priorities during the frenetic early days of governing and learning about career paths in state and local governments.

Students Fellows
State and Local Government Participants
Of Fellows Say Understanding of State & Local Careers Improved

Where Transition Term Students Have Served

Since launching in 2018, Transition Term has placed nearly 100 students in the offices of 34 newly elected mayors, county executives, and governors spanning the country. See our Transition Term placements below.

TTerm Map 2023

State and Local Governments Served

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut 
  • Colorado 
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada 
  • New Mexico 
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico 
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin 

  • Cuyahoga County, OH
  • Erie County, PA
  • Macon-Bibb County, GA
  • Miami-Dade County, FL
  • San Diego County, CA Taxpayer Association

  • Anaheim, CA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Bend, OR 
  • Boston, MA
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbia, SC
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Lawrence, MA
  • Long Beach, CA 
  • Louisville, KY 
  • Montgomery, AL
  • New Haven, CT
  • Newport News, VA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rochester, NY
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Scranton, PA
  • Somerville, MA
  • South Bend, IN
  • Stamford, CT
  • St. Petersburg, FL
  • Topeka, KS  
  • Tuscon, AZ

For Newly Elected State and Local Leaders

Transition Term provides new mayors, county executives, and governors with support at a time when these administrations are most in need of extra capacity. If you are interested in getting transition support from HKS students through Transition Term, please contact Taubman Center Director of Government Engagement Amy Mahler at The Taubman Center typically matches teams of HKS students with new administrations participating in Transition Term each November following state and local elections.

Transition Term in the News

After his historic election as Cincinnati's first Asian American mayor, Aftab Pureval wanted to build a diversity of voices into his transition team. Transition Term was there to help.


Transition Term Fellows dig deep into St. Petersburg, Florida's affordable housing crisis as part of the new mayor's transition team. 


Transition Term Fellows help the first Black mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, transition from campaigning to governing.


In Transition Term's first year, HKS embedded 17 students across seven states to support newly elected governors entering office.