Gardner Fellowships provide opportunities for graduating seniors to invest their talent, energy and training in public service. Six fellows, three from Stanford and three from UC Berkeley, are selected each spring. Each is provided with a $30,000 award plus health insurance reimbursement for ten months full-time work with a government or nonprofit agency in the continental United States beginning no later than October 1 after graduation. Placements are made through a facilitated process during spring quarter. Each fellow is matched with a mentor who is a distinguished leader at the placement organization, and agrees to guide the fellow's professional growth and development, and provide opportunities and exposure that exceed what is normally available to a recent graduate.  To get a real sense of the Gardner Fellowship, check out the 2013 Gardner Fellows' blog and  watch this short video.

Please note that Haas Center staff do not necessarily have direct experience with, nor do we professionally endorse, partner organizations.


Gardner Fellows commit to 10 months of full time work starting no later than October 1 after graduation. The Gardner Fellowship cannot be combined with other awards or employment or be used to start an organization. Placements and mentors are determined through a deliberative spring quarter process. Gardner Fellows must agree to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Interview with prospective mentors prior to or shortly after graduation.
  • Participate in orientation sessions held in spring and late summer on one of the two campuses.
  • Design a personal learning plan.
  • Participate in a mid-year meeting, and a closing meeting at the end of the fellowship year.
  • Write year-end report and stewardship letters.

Fellows are also asked to assist the program in future years by recruiting applicants and/or mentors, and by participating in information and training sessions.

Eligibility and Selection Process


To be eligible for a Gardner Fellowship, you must be a current graduating senior or co-term at Stanford University or University of California, Berkeley, and a U.S. citizen at the time of placement. Applicants are encouraged from any academic major and from a wide variety of service experiences.

Selection Process

Applicants are judged according to the following criteria:

  • record of academic accomplishment
  • demonstrated civic competencies and commitment to public service leadership
  • leadership qualities and readiness for fellowship experience
  • quality and content of written statements

Note: You should not and need not have a specific placement or mentor in mind to apply.

Interested students should submit an application online. Applicants must also solicit two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a faculty member who is familiar with their college level work (see application information).

The selection committee reviews applications and develops a list of finalists to be interviewed. Awardees must commit by Friday, February 13, 2015. Following commitment, program staff assists fellows in selecting an appropriate mentor and organization. Fellowships traditionally begin in September; placements must be located within the continental United States.


Application deadline: 11:59 pm on Thurs., January 8, 2015.

A complete Gardner application includes the following three components:

1) Application Form - Available Online Dec. 15, 2014

Please note: We strongly recommend that you create your application in a separate document and then type your answers into the application form.

Applicant Information

Basic contact information, cumulative GPA, and major.

Essay questions

In 500 words or less per prompt, answer each of the following three questions to explain why the Gardner Fellowship Program should invest in you as a future public service leader. The selection committee pays particular attention to these personal statements.

  1. What issue do you care most deeply about and what are examples of your ideal nonprofit or government fellowship placement? What would you like to learn from a mentor who is an outstanding leader in your field of choice?
  2. How does a Gardner Fellowship build on your Stanford experience and inform your future career?
  3. John Gardner spoke of public service leaders as individuals who are optimistic, curious, open, and positive. How would you describe your leadership qualities to a potential placement or mentor?  In answering this question, please consider discussing your civic leadership competencies.
Résumé with the following categories

Please note important formatting instructions: begin each item in the list with a dash (-) or asterisk (*). If you are copying and pasting information from an existing résumé, please remove all formatting and use the dash/asterisk to separate items in the list.

  • Education (include all post-secondary education, relevant coursework, and research experience)
  • Work Experience (begin with the most recent or current job and include dates of employment, the employer and/or business and/or supervisor's name, location, your title, and a description of your responsibilities)
  • Activities and Leadership (include co-curricular activities, internships and self-initiated projects, e.g., with nonprofits, community groups, government, or electoral campaigns).
  • Awards and Honors (include titles, descriptions and dates)
  • Skills (include computer, language or other specialized proficiencies)

2) Recommendations -

Click here to provide a recommendation for a 2015 applicant.

Provide Stanford faculty/staff/other recommenders with detailed information about the fellowship(s) for which you are applying.

Include contact information for two individuals who will submit electronic recommendations in support of your application. One of your recommenders must be a Stanford faculty member or lecturer familiar with your academic work. The other recommendation may come from another person who knows you well and can speak to relevant experience and skills (internship supervisor, Resident Fellow for RAs, another Faculty member, etc.).  Ask them to submit their recommendation no later than 11:59 pm on Thursday, January 8, 2015. Applications with late recommendations will be considered incomplete.

3) Transcript


Contact Information

For more information, please contact Leslie Saul Garvin at the Haas Center.