About the Scholarship
The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) created the Presidential Fellows Program in 1970 to inspire college students to become the public servants that would guide our nation’s future. The program continues that mission by providing top collegiate students in the United States and around the world with the opportunity to study the U.S. Presidency, the public policymaking process, and our President’s relationships with Congress, allies, the media, and the American public. Over the course of an academic year, the Fellows learn about leadership and governance, share their outstanding research, and explore careers in public service.
Under the guidance of CSPC, the Fellows are selected by their colleges and universities. USC can nominate one student to serve as a member of the 2023-2024 class of Presidential Fellows.
The Fellows program has adopted a hybrid format. Fellows are expected to attend monthly webinars that will culminate with an in-person conference in Washington, D.C. next spring.
- Travel to Washington D.C.
Fellows travel to Washington, D.C. for a leadership conference. During this multi-day event, they discuss today’s most pressing challenges and innovative ideas while interacting with national policymakers and leading experts.
The centerpiece of the Fellowship is a 10-15 page research paper on the key issues of the past, present and/or future as they relate to the Presidency and Congress.
- Publishing and Awards
All students present their research at the leadership conference and are eligible to receive one of five monetary awards for their papers while competing for publication in CSPC’s journal, The Fellows Review.
- Global Engagement
Fellows have the chance to network with peers from across the globe through the International Presidential Fellows program. International Fellows from Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, Panama, South Africa and other countries participate alongside their U.S. counterparts.
- Special Events
Over the course of the program, the Fellows attend special events like CSPC’s Annual Awards Dinner, which honors leading public servants including, U.S. Senators, Governors, Cabinet Secretaries, and military leaders. As alumni, Fellows are invited to come back and join CSPC for the Awards Dinner, alumni social events, and other convenings.
All costs pertaining to the conferences in Washington, DC are covered by the CSPC Presidential Fellows Program. Travel costs will be reimbursed by AHF after the conference.
- Enrolled as a full-time USC student for 2023-2024 academic year (both fall and spring semesters)
- A majority Fellows are in the 3rd or 4th year of their undergraduate studies, but graduate students and advanced 2nd year undergraduates are also welcome.
- All academic majors are eligible.
- Minimum overall GPA of 3.5
- Applicants may be U.S. or non-U.S. citizens.
- Demonstrated plan to pursue a research project with direct relevance to the U.S. Presidency and/or the Congress for the 2023-2024 academic year with the support of a faculty mentor (such as an independent project or senior thesis)
- Desire to make public service a part of career plan
- Comfortable speaking, presenting, and writing specifically about the American Presidency or Congress
- Open to constructive criticism and willing to engage with a mentor
- Able to attend conference in Washington D.C.
- Excellent time management skills
Requirements for Fellows
- Upon program enrollment, Fellows must meet all deadlines or forfeit their status as a Fellow in good standing.
- Fellows must engage with their assigned Mentor.
- Fellows attend a policy conference in Washington, D.C., during the course of the Fellowship year.
- Each Fellow must produce a 10-15 page research paper on a subject with direct relevance to the U.S. Presidency and/or the Congress. Fellows are encouraged to draw upon and their incorporate independent study or thesis work, if applicable. Fellows will also be required to complete an op-ed and a policy memo over the course of the Fellowship year.