We have collated a set of opportunities that will be of particular interest to students interested in public service or public policy, no matter their major. These opportunities vary from summer activities to volunteer activities to major post-graduate scholarships and most are available to a wide variety of majors.
The American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program is an intensive, fully-funded educational and professional development opportunity in Washington, DC, for top undergraduate students. The program gathers students from diverse ideological backgrounds for substantive dialogue and debate about the most pressing issues facing the country and world. The core feature of the program is a series of discussion-based seminars that offer participants forums to delve deeply into policy areas of their choice. Outside of the seminars, students participate in briefings with distinguished guests, high-level networking opportunities, and site visits in Washington.
The Ally Financial Public Policy Scholars Program awards up to $10,000 to academically talented and highly motivated African-American or Black undergraduate sophomore or junior pursuing a degree in policy to include, but not limited to, political science, public policy analysis and public administration. Candidates must be US Citizens or permanent residents, a full-time undergraduate sophomore or junior at an accredited college or university, demonstrate a commitment to policy, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, exhibit leadership, and be active in community, and be qualified African-American or black students.
JusticeCorps recruits 55+ college students every year for our student member program. Students commit to an intensive 300 hours in Self-Help Centers throughout the Bay Area, helping litigants with legal information for their family and civil law cases. Members are required to serve a minimum of 8 hours per week at their assigned service location. Members may qualify for travel reimbursement and a $1,459.26 AmeriCorps education award upon completion of their service hours.
The Hoover Institution's Summer Policy Boot Camp (HISPBC) is an intensive, four-day residential immersion program in the essentials of today's national and international United States policy. The program is intended to instruct college students and recent graduates on the economic, political, and social aspects of United States public policy. The goal is to teach students how to think critically about public policy formulation and its results. Designed to foster fact-based critical thinking on the most important policy issues, students will have a unique chance to interact directly with the faculty of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, comprised of world-renowned scholars in economics, government, political science, and related fields. Session topics are selected because of their immediate relevance to today's and tomorrow's challenges. Participants will collaborate through class discussions and study groups that encourage diverse perspectives. Enrollment is limited, in order to facilitate maximum interaction with the faculty and other participants.
The Humanity in Action Fellowship explores issues of democracy, pluralism, human rights, and social justice. Each program is tailored to its location. Fellows are challenged to understand their host city’s unique history of injustice, its present struggles to encompass groups with minoritized cultures and identities, and the future of its democratic values. For four weeks, Fellows engage with local experts and community members, visit museums and historical sites, and engage in constant discourse with one another and program leaders.
The PPIA Junior Summer Institute (JSI) Fellowship Program is a rigorous academic graduate level preparation program for undergraduate juniors committed to public service careers. The program was started to address the lack of diversity across the spectrum of professional public service, including government, nonprofits, public policy institutions, and international organizations. The purpose of the JSI Fellowship is to prepare students to obtain a Master’s or joint degree, in public policy, public administration, international affairs, or a related field.
Progressive Pipeline recruits underrepresented students and places them in paid fellowships with progressive campaigns and organizations. Then, they offer them the training, mentorship, and connections they need to become tomorrow’s leaders. Summer fellowships in organizing, data, and communications last 10 weeks and pay at least $15/hour.
The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program is a six-week summer program designed to provide undergraduate students with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs, a greater understanding of career opportunities in international affairs, and the enhanced knowledge and skills to pursue such careers. The Program covers the costs for tuition, travel, housing, and two meals per day. It also provides a stipend of $3,200.
The County of Santa Clara's Government Fellowship Program matches students with county departments working on priorities set by the Board of Supervisors. Potential placements include the Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency's Vector Control District, the Office of the County Executive's Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the Office of the County Executive's Privacy Office, the Office of the District Attorney's Victim Services Unit, and Business Development and Managed Care Contracting with the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Government Fellows will be placed in a county agency or department for the summer of 2021, competitively selected and paid a stipend of up to $8,000, provided the opportunity to network with professionals in their desired career fields, and tasked with completing a research project and report related to their interests and skill sets.
The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) hosts Washington, DC-based and virtual Academic Internship Programs for undergraduate students each summer, fall and spring. TFAS programs include academic credit from George Mason University, an internship placement and furnished housing in the heart of Washington, D.C. Students participate in a variety of exclusive guest lectures, site briefings as well as professional development and networking events. TFAS students leave Washington with 250+ hours of professional experience, an expanded network of contacts, and a greater understanding of the variety of career opportunities.
Fall Deadline: June
Spring Deadlines: October (Early); November (Final)
Summer Deadline: December
The Voyager Scholarship was created by the Obamas and Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, to help shape young leaders who can bridge divides and help solve our biggest challenges together. Even though they come from different backgrounds, both the President and Brian believe that exposure to new places and experiences generates understanding, empathy, and cooperation which equips the next generation to create meaningful change. This scholarship gives college students financial aid to alleviate the burden of college debt, meaningful travel experiences to expand their horizons, and a network of mentors and leaders to support them. Open to students starting their junior year in the fall.
These programs are available as semester-long or summer programs. They also offer one- or two-week seminars. They give students an opportunity to do real work in government, a non-profit or the private sector. Whether you're a college student or recent graduate the Washington Center has programs to help you gain critical experience and insider knowledge that will get you where you want to go.
Deadlines vary by program.
Fellowships for Graduate School
The Truman is a merit-based scholarship for college students who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities, and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.
Although this scholarship provides funding for graduate school, the application must be completed during a student’s Junior year. It does not require that the student go directly to graduate school upon completion of their undergraduate degree.
- Most famous SCU Truman Scholar: Janet Napolitano (1977)
- Most recent SCU Truman Scholar: Abigail Alvarez (2021)
- Most recent SCU Truman Finalists: Ciara Moezidis (2020), Huda Navaid (2018)
The Payne Fellowship encourages the application of members of minority groups who have historically been underrepresented in international development careers and those with financial need. The initiative is funded by USAID and administered by Howard University. Fellowship recipients can use the award to attend U.S. graduate programs throughout the country; they will join the USAID Foreign Service upon completion of the program, as long as they successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID entry requirements.
The Pickering Fellowship is designed to develop a source of trained men and women who are dedicated to pursuing Foreign Service careers and representing America’s interests abroad. The Fellowship identifies and attracts, based on financial need, outstanding students who represent racial, ethnic, gender, social and geographic diversity and prepares them academically and professionally for a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service by providing financial support, mentoring and professional development.
The Rangel Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers as Foreign Service Officers in the U.S. Department of State. The fellowship provides support for graduate studies, domestic and overseas internships, and mentoring for careers in the Foreign Service. The Rangel Program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service and those with financial need.
Rotary Global Grants provide funding for graduate-level coursework or research for one academic year outside of the United States. Previous work or volunteer experience, academic program, and career plans must be aligned with 1 of 6 areas of focus: 1. Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution; 2. Disease Prevention & Treatment; 3. Water and Aanitation; 4. Maternal and Child Health; 5. Basic Education and Literacy; 6. Economic & Community Development and Positively Supporting the Environment.
Through academic training, practice, and global networking opportunities, the Rotary Peace Centers program develops leaders who become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution. These fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses. Master’s degree applicants must have a minimum of three years of related full-time work or volunteer experience in addition to their bachelor's degree.
Deadline: July 1 (must apply through local Rotary Club)
Other Fellowships for Graduates
The Capital Fellows Programs are nationally recognized public policy fellowships which offer unique experiences in policy-making and development in each branch of government. Capital Fellows are placed at some of the highest levels of California state government and assist state legislators, senior-level executive staff, and court administrators with a broad range of public policy issues and projects and are typically given assignments with a significant amount of responsibility and challenges.
Deadline: February 6, 2023
The Coro Fellows Program develops emerging leaders to work and lead across different sectors by equipping them with knowledge, skills, and networks to accelerate positive change. The program includes participation in a hands-on project in public affairs, group interviews with prominent decision makers, and rigorous group seminars to develop problem-solving skills. Coro Fellows will work in one of four locations: Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.
Deadline: January 8, 2023
Each year, through the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows program, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offers approximately 12 one-year fellowships to uniquely qualified graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past academic year. They are selected from a pool of nominees nominated by several hundred participating universities and colleges. James C. Gaither Junior Fellows work as research assistants to Carnegie’s senior scholars.
Deadline: January 15, 2023
This fellowship program selects, trains, and places promising young leaders in two-year, paid, full-time fellowships in local public-serving institutions (local governments, nonprofits, community foundations, etc.) to tackle tough challenges facing the community, strengthen their hometown's civic infrastructure, and join a new generation of transformational community leaders. Fellows are catalysts for national community revitalization -- starting right where they live.
Hometown deadline: March 25
Host-led deadline: April 15
The Samuel Huntington Public Service Award provides $15,000 stipends for graduating college seniors to pursue one year of public service anywhere in the world. The award allows recipients to engage in a meaningful public service activity for one year before proceeding on to graduate school or a career. Students are encouraged to develop their own proposals for public service in the U.S. or abroad. The proposal may encompass any activity that furthers the public good and can be undertaken by the student alone or working through established charitable, religious, educational, governmental, or other public service organizations.
Deadline: January 14, 2022
The mission of the San Francisco Fellows program is to foster community stewardship by preparing recent college graduates and young professionals for roles in public service and administration. The Fellows program is a unique opportunity to learn about public administration in local government while working full time as a City employee. Competitively selected applicants will join a cohort of up to 18 Fellows for an 11.5-month full-time work experience as City employees. Fellows will earn an annualized salary of approximately $65,000, plus health, dental, retirement and other benefits.
Deadline: January 20, 2023
The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, established in 1987, is a highly-competitive national fellowship program that provides recent college and graduate school alumni with the opportunity to gain a Washington perspective on key issues of peace and security. Twice yearly, the fellowship’s Board of Directors selects a group of outstanding individuals to spend six to nine months in Washington. Supported by a salary, the fellows serve as full-time junior staff members at the participating organization of their choice.
Spring 2023 Deadline: October 14, 2022
Fall 2023 Deadline: January 7, 2023
AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more.
City Year AmeriCorps members serve in schools all day, every day, preparing students with the social, emotional and academic skills and mindsets to succeed in school and in life. They receive robust training to develop their skills in the classroom and beyond, and members serve as student success coaches, helping students build on their strengths and cultivate social, emotional and academic skills that are important in school and life.
CivicSpark is an AmeriCorps program in which Fellows are matched with Project Partners (state, local and community-based organizations) to serve on at least one project, which benefits at least one local public agency. Through project service, Fellows gain hands-on experience tackling the most pressing environmental and social equity problems facing communities today. Projects are spread throughout regions across California, including the Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley, Greater Los Angeles, San Diego area, Inland Empire, Sacramento area, Sierra Nevada, and San Francisco Bay area. Through service and training, Fellows also grow their professional, technical and leadership skills, and build strong networks of resilience professionals.
The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation.The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals: to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
Public Allies' partnership with AmeriCorps dates back to its founding in 1994. Since then, their signature AmeriCorps Ally Program has identified thousands of diverse young adults and prepared them for leadership. Allies are placed with a nonprofit organization where they help address critical community needs such as youth development, education, workforce development, environmental issues, arts programming and community health. This AmeriCorps program is a dynamic pipeline for talented young people to emerge as leaders and to strengthen the capacity of community organizations.
Teach For America is a diverse network of leaders working to confront educational inequity through teaching and at every sector of society to create a country free from this injustice. They recruit outstanding and diverse leaders early in their careers and ask them to make a commitment that begins with two years of teaching in a public school, partnering with children and families most impacted by educational inequity.