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

Policy-interested and passionate graduate students, Clark-Fox Policy Institute and the Social Policy Institute are pleased to invite you to apply to join our next cohort of the  Graduate Policy Scholars Program! Spanning an academic year, the program offers graduate students a unique and highly flexible learning opportunity to build capacity for policy practice and engagement. Participants gain access to a campus-wide community of peers and exclusive learning opportunities to develop skills in research and communication, advocacy, organizing, and electoral activism.

Interested students should contact Gary Parker at

We expect to notify students of their application status in early October. If you are selected for the program, a mandatory orientation and kick-off will be held in mid-October.  

Open Classroom | Graduate Policy Scholars Showcase: Building a Better Future through Innovative Policy Solutions and Action

Tuesday, May 16, 2023  
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Central

​Presented by:
Washington University 2022-23 Graduate Policy Scholars

In this webinar, we learn and shed light on the policy-related efforts Washington University’s Graduate Policy Scholars 2022-2023 are sharing to provide insight into societal issues and challenges we are facing today. Through their policy analysis and advocacy, these scholars will provide valuable knowledge and inspiration for attendees interested in innovative policy solutions. 

​Presentation topics include maternal health care policy in Ghana, Disability Integration Act, policy education programming, and more. ​​​​​This program is offered in partnership with the Clark-Fox Policy Institute​ and the Social Policy Institute

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