Wilson School expands Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative

Jan. 30, 2007, 9 a.m.

Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is expanding the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative, a highly selective scholarship program designed to encourage more of the nation's top students to pursue careers in the U.S. federal government, especially in the field of international relations.

Last fall the board of trustees of the Robertson Foundation, which is providing funding for the program, voted unanimously to expand the existing program by an additional five four-year scholarships for any U.S. citizens who apply for enrollment in the school's two-year master in public affairs (MPA) graduate degree program.

Princeton formally launched the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative in February 2006. At that time the Robertson Foundation, also by a unanimous vote, authorized the Woodrow Wilson School's dean, Anne-Marie Slaughter, to select the program's first five scholars from among Princeton juniors only.

"We at the Woodrow Wilson School are delighted that the Robertson Foundation has given its unanimous support to the expansion of this innovative program," said Slaughter. "The Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative should encourage more of our country's best and brightest students -- at Princeton and elsewhere -- to consider careers in the federal government, particularly in the field of international affairs."

The program will become operational in the spring of 2007, when the first cohort of scholars drawn from Princeton juniors will be selected. They will spend their final three semesters completing their majors, taking selected courses in public policy and learning about career opportunities in the federal government. During the summer after their junior year, they will complete a federal government internship. After graduation, recipients will be known as Charles and Marie Robertson Government Service Scholars and will serve for two years in the federal government, with their salaries funded by the Robertson Foundation and paid through Princeton University. The scholars will then return to Princeton to enroll in the Woodrow Wilson School's MPA graduate degree program.

In the spring of 2008 the Woodrow Wilson School will select the first cohort of graduate scholars from U.S. citizens who have already completed their undergraduate work at Princeton or other institutions of higher education. These students will serve for two years in the federal government, also as Charles and Marie Robertson Government Service Scholars, and then enter the Woodrow Wilson School.
The purposes of the scholarship program, modeled after the Rhodes and Marshall scholars, are twofold. The first is to raise the prestige of government service among an entire generation of college students and to encourage these students to enter government service. The second is to provide exceptional students with opportunities to experience government service firsthand and to gain the skills and contacts they will need to succeed in government service. The Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative will help draw the very best students into the school and into government service.

The Scholars in the Nation's Service will be selected based on their superior academic performance, a proven track record of accomplishment and a demonstrated commitment to government service. The program is particularly interested in students who combine knowledge of public policy with high achievement in natural science or engineering, or students with substantial knowledge of "difficult" languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Swahili, Urdu, etc.

The Woodrow Wilson School and the Partnership for Public Service, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing public service, will work with the selected scholars to match their skills with substantive work in the federal government. In particular, in keeping with the mission of the Robertson Foundation, scholars will be encouraged to pursue careers in those areas of the federal government that are concerned with international relations and affairs.