The Program

The Program

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 and the academic environment to fulfill that call.

There is a critical need within the U.S. 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 leadership abilities, a deep understanding of effective and creative policy making, and exceptional writing skills – as well as knowledge and skills in a broader array of fields than ever before: 

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 U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

Scholars spend the summer after their junior year in a SINSI-funded federal government internship and upon graduation enter the School’s two-year MPA program. The MPA program provides a full scholarship for tuition and living expenses.

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 the MPA2 to provide Scholars with the core competencies gained during the MPA1 that enhance both their competitiveness for placements and their ability to successfully manage professional-level government work. The experience gained during the fellowship informs their MPA2 studies.

SINSI further provides a summer of intensive study in a language relevant to each Scholar’s academic work and career goals, normally between the end of the fellowship and the MPA2.

SINSI has relationships with a number of key agencies and departments within the government and works actively with the Scholars and these agencies to secure meaningful professional-level placements that suit the Scholars’ academic backgrounds and career goals as well as the needs of the government. To date SINSI has successfully placed undergraduate summer interns and graduate two-year fellows in Washington, D.C. and abroad:

  • the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Justice, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education;
  • the intelligence community;
  • the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
  • U.S. Special Operations Command;
  • Environmental Protection Agency;
  • USAID;
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation;
  • Council of Economic Advisers;
  • Office of Management and Budget;
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy;
  • the Department of the Army
  • the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations;
  • National Academy of Sciences;
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
  • National Institutes of Health;
  • U.S. Forest Service;
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • White House internships.

Students who are juniors at Princeton University may apply to become a SINSI scholar.