Graduate Policy Scholars


In response to students’ growing desire to engage in policy leadership, in Fall of 2017 the Clark-Fox Policy Institute launched a new program to help prepare them for policy practice. Now in partnership with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University, the Graduate Policy Scholars program offers students the opportunity to supplement their robust curriculum with experiences and training outside the classroom. Spanning an academic year, the program offers accepted graduate students a specialized learning opportunity to build capacity for policy practice. Students are offered a host of experiences, including mentoring, advising, and trainings. Participants can expect to develop skills in advocacy, analysis, and activism; build knowledge of government processes and how to effect change; and engage with policymakers, civic leaders and change agents. The self-directed program design allows students to choose their personal learning priorities and to work at their own pace. At the same time, multiple mechanisms are employed that allow students guidance and support needed to complete the program. By participating in the program, Scholars-in-Training can expect to:

  • Deepen their understanding of social change through policy
  • Consider proposed and existing policies through an equity lens
  • Develop skills in advocacy, political efficacy and electoral activism
  • Engage with policymakers, civic leaders, and change agents
  • Cultivate relationships with other scholars and GPS alum

Graduate Policy Scholars represent a growing network of students and alumni committed to advancing social change and equity through policy.

For more details, read below.

Invitation to Apply to the Graduate Policy Scholars Program

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 19, 2023

If you are interested in policy, community organizing, advocacy and morethe Clark-Fox Policy Institute and the Social Policy Institute are accepting applications for the Graduate Policy Scholars Program. All graduate students on the Danforth Campus are welcome to apply. Accepted students will get exclusive learning opportunities, trainings, and personalized support to explore policy practice in public health, social policy, and social work. Upon completion of the academic yearlong program, students are inducted in the Clark-Fox Policy Institute and the Social Policy as official Graduate Policy Scholars.

A limited number of applicants are accepted. If there is overwhelming interest, we will give priority to second year/graduating students. Please note that students graduating before May 2024 will not have enough time to finish the program.

The deadline is Tuesday, September 19th, 2023. Don’t wait until then. Apply now!

This application includes two short essays, which you may wish to draft before completing the application. The essay questions are:

1) Candidate Statement (250 words max). Please include the following:

a. Interest in the program and policy practice;
b. Reasons for applying;
c. Expectations of the program; and
d. How the program fits in within the greater scope of your academic and professional career goals.

2) Short Essay (250 words max): What opportunities and challenges do you think exist for using policy as a tool in your field/area of study to advance social change and equity?

If you are selected to be a scholar-in-training, a kick-off event for the program will be held on Tuesday, October 10th at 4pm location TBD (please hold it on your calendars).

Questions? Come to one of our two info sessions:

Monday, September 11th at 8am – Goldfarb 132
Wednesday, September 13th at 12pm – Goldfarb 132

Our Graduate Policy Scholars have gone on to work in a variety of fields including civil service, public office, and community development.

  • Aura Aguilar 2020 Graduate Policy Scholar quote
  • Romario Smith 2020 Graduate Policy Scholar quote
  • Aura Aguilar works today for a civic organization in California
  • Romario Smith is an Epidemiologist/Data Reporting Specialist contracted with the California Department of Public Health
  • Meet LindeRobert, and Kaitlyn on the CFPI Where our they now? page

If you are interested in policy, community organizing, advocacy and more, the Graduate Policy Scholar Program is a great match for you! Read a full description of the program here