SIG Stipends Program
The SIG Stipends application, resources for finding an internship, and information on how to apply may be found in the “Application Details” section under the “Stipends Program” tab above
To donate in support of the Stipends program, please Click here.
“[Last summer] I interned with a law firm close to home. I would have gladly participated in a public policy/politics internship, but I could not afford to live in DC with an unpaid internship.”
-Human Biology sophomore (undergraduate survey, winter 2011)
For five decades, Stanford in Government (SIG), a student-led affiliate of the Haas Center for Public Service, has supported hundreds of students pursuing summer public policy experiences through pre-arranged, funded fellowships. SIG fellows work with organizations around the world. In 2012, 161 students applied for 39 SIG fellowships.
In preparation for its 50th anniversary, SIG assessed its current fellowship program and the changing needs of Stanford’s economically and academically diverse undergraduate student body. In a survey of 500 undergraduates during winter 2011, SIG learned that 40.6 percent of respondents would have chosen summer public policy internships if funding were available. Eighty percent of students who failed to receive a fellowship from SIG or the Haas Center did not end up pursuing a public service experience. In general, most SIG fellowships are awarded to students with previous internship experience and from majors such as public policy, economics, political science, and international relations. The current selection of SIG fellowships does not cover many students’ policy interests.
What are the Stipends?
In 2012, SIG launched a three-year pilot effort to fill the critical gap in offerings while substantially advancing the Haas Center’s strategic mission and public policy pathway. The SIG Stipends program offers an unprecedented opportunity by supporting otherwise unpaid summer public policy internships for students who would be unable to participate without a SIG Stipend.
SIG Stipends provide financial support to qualified students to carry out a 9–10 week internships and participate in preparation and post-internship activities. Stipends cover living costs and summer earnings, which might be expected under the terms of each student’s financial aid package. They also provide public policy exposure for
- Science, technology, and engineering students early in their undergraduate careers, who may not be exposed to the policy implications of their academic interests; would not qualify for SIG, Haas Center or other fellowships that are based on previous experiences; and who traditionally choose a well-paid technology sector internship over public policy internships for which they usually cannot receive funds
- Students with financial need, who would typically forego an unpaid internship in public policy due to the need to earn money during the summer
- Younger students who seek to explore the intersection between their interests and public policy and for whom a positive public policy experience could affect their Stanford trajectory
In the short term, the public service and government institutions involved benefit from the efforts and youthful perspectives of Stanford students with new technical skills and evolving expertise. In the long term, generations of capable students exposed to public policy and the political arena as undergraduates can have a significant impact on the nation and the world, no matter which sector they choose for a career.
What have we achieved so far?
In summer 2012, SIG funded 11 internships around the country and the world in media, health, art, labor, development, and environmental policy. Stipends recipients represented a variety of majors across the sciences and humanities. Forty-three students applied for only 11 stipends—an acceptance rate of close to 25 percent. Expanding the program enables us to accept more qualified applicants, without lowering our standards.
How can I help the continuation and expansion of the SIG Stipends Program?
The Haas Center for Public Service has been given permission to raise $382,636 in expendable funds (or a $4 million endowment) to support up to 40 stipends in future years. The first year of the program demonstrated strong demand for SIG Stipends. Most applicants came from “non-traditional” backgrounds and demonstrated need for a stipend in order to be able to explore the path of public policy. Click here to donate in support of SIG’s Stipend Program. You may also donate to the Stanford Fund and indicate that you would like your donation to be earmarked for SIG Stipends.
Meet our first class of Stipends Fellows!
In summer 2012, SIG funded 11 internships around the country and the world in media, health, art, labor, development, and environmental policy. Stipends recipients represent a variety of majors across the sciences and humanities. The bios of some of the initial recipients demonstrate the program’s impact, and its ability to attract qualified applicants. For more information about the program and about SIG, please contact Lina Hidalgo, SIG’s director of Expansion at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenzin Sonam Atruktsang ‘14
Tenzin is an undeclared student in the pre-medical track. He worked Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Health, on youth education and Hepatitis prevention. “After seeing the role of the government on health, I became interested in the public health aspect of being a doctor, and will be taking classes on healthcare policy and public policy. Without a Stipend, I would have stayed at home and worked.”
Lilly Oh ‘13
Lilly is a history major. This summer she worked at New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for the Percent for Art program, a program that aims to make art more visible and accessible in the city. She pioneered the Percent for Art blog, giving the public access to the art selection process, and also worked on various aspects of the art commission and conservation process. “I had always been interested in art, but had no interest in public policy before this internship. Working at Percent for Art, however, showed me the significant impact local government has on city residents and has influenced my decision to consider public policy work after graduation”
Stefan Norgaard ‘15
Stefan was undeclared before his internship this summer, and was considering majoring in urban studies or history. Stefan travelled throughout Ghana, working with the KaeMe Foundation, a nonprofit, and Ghana’s Department of Social Welfare. He helped create a comprehensive and transparent data-collecting system that the Department of Social Welfare can use to evaluate all orphanages in Ghana. “Through my internship, my eyes were opened to the many complexities of the orphanage system in Ghana and, more broadly, to the complexities of policy and politics in the developing world. This summer, I learned that policy is how to best make change, and, because of that, I will declare public policy as a major. Without a Stipend, I would have worked at home. I had already turned down two senate internships in Washington, D.C. because of the cost.”
Karla Gonzalez ‘14
Karla is majoring in history. She worked with the Solidarity Center, a non-profit committed to protecting workers rights through community organizing, awareness, and international legislation. Her internship took her to Sri Lanka, Nepal, and India, where she focused on worker and trade union rights. “I used to be interested in human rights in general and was looking at law. This summer I discovered the importance of policy and will begin preparing to apply to the International Policy Studies program at Stanford. Without a Stipend, I would have been a camp counselor.”