The Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative
A Critical Need; A Call to Service
“In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of all Nations” exemplifies the ethos that is Princeton University and the mission of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. It is a call to public service and a mandate to provide the tools, the academic environment, to fulfill that call. There is a critical need within the US government for the most talented, dedicated young people to step forward to help tackle the increasingly complex challenges, domestic and international, that will face our nation. The public servant of tomorrow must possess knowledge and skills in a broader array of fields than ever before – economics, the sciences, health, urban and education policy, area studies and critical languages as well as leadership abilities, a deep understanding of effective and creative policymaking and exceptional writing skills.
Economic Policy – Whether through diplomacy and development, intelligence collection and analysis, or work in monetary, fiscal and regulatory agencies, economics and policy-oriented economists are the center of today' s debates and on the leading edge of policy formulation.
Area Studies and Foreign Languages - The Departments of State and Defense, the US Agency for International Development, Treasury and the intelligence community, among others, actively seek people with fluency in critical foreign languages and an understanding of the dynamics of foreign cultures and politics.
Health, Education and Social Policy – Both at home and abroad, there is a need for and an increased emphasis on recruitment of next generation policy makers with the skills, experience and innovative approaches to solve the most human element of today’s problems.
Science and Technology Policy – The US confronts a host of domestic and transnational issues, including the environment, climate change, ocean and water resources, nuclear proliferation and chemical, biological and cyber warfare, and seeks chemists, physicists, engineers and other scientists to develop and implement public policy solutions based on the best science available.
The Program – Change Starts Here
Established in 2006, the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI) is designed to encourage, support and prepare the nation’s top students to pursue careers in the US federal government, both in international and domestic agencies. This highly competitive scholarship program provides these exceptional students both the academic training and the practical work experience in federal service needed to succeed in public policy careers.
For two years, SINSI students were also selected from amongst applicants to the MPA program from colleges and universities across the country. That process is currently in abeyance.
Scholars spend the summer after their junior year in a SINSI-funded federal government internship and, upon graduation, enter the Woodrow Wilson School's two-year Master in Public Affairs (MPA) program. Master's program provides a full scholarship for tuition and living expenses and a summer of intensive study in a language relevant to their academic work and career goals.
The core element of the program is a two-year SINSI-supported fellowship with the federal government between the first and second year of the MPA program. The fellowship is placed between the MPA1 and MPA2 to provide Scholars with the core competencies gained during the MPA1 that enhances their competitiveness for placements and their ability to successfully manage professional-level government work. The experience gained during the fellowship informs their MPA2 studies and their career options.
SINSI has established relationships with a number of key agencies and departments within the federal government and works actively with the Scholars and these agencies to secure meaningful professional-level placements that suit their academic background, career goals and the needs of the government.
To date SINSI has successfully placed undergraduate summer interns and graduate two-year fellows at the following US federal agencies, both in Washington, DC and abroad: Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Treasury, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education, the intelligence community, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of Management and Budget, the Departments of the Army and of the Navy, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Forest Service. Two Scholars have been selected as White House interns.
Eligibility and Application
Applications for the undergraduate scholarship are due November 1st with selection notification no later than January 1st. Applications may be accessed online at wws.princeton.edu/scholars "How to Apply." Up to five juniors are selected each year. The Graduate Entrance Track application process is currently in abeyance.
All applicants must:
- Be a US citizen at the time of application
- Expect to graduate in the Class of 2015
- Be able to successfully complete a background investigation and meet security and other requirements for work in the federal government
- Maintain an overall grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale throughout their participation in the program (There is no minimum GPA to apply to the program)
Scholars are selected on the basis of outstanding academic performance, a track record of accomplishment, leadership skills and a demonstrated commitment to career government service. The Initiative particularly welcomes applications from students who combine knowledge and understanding of public policy - either international affairs or domestic issues - with high achievement in the sciences or engineering, and students with substantial knowledge of critical foreign languages and regional studies.
- There is no minimum GPA to apply or to be selected but Scholars are expected to maintain a 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale for the balance of their undergraduate studies and while MPA students.
- There is no language requirement to apply or to be selected but consideration will be given to applicants proficient in critical languages such as Arabic, Farsi/Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. (This does not apply to students from the STEP disciplines.)
“The core of public service, as Woodrow Wilson knew, is government service. The Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative is a direct response to the critical need in this country to attract greater numbers of talented students to careers in the federal government. This is the training the Woodrow Wilson School provides; this is the commitment we seek to foster through this program.”