2017-2018 Gardner Fellowship Policy Conference

The Lloyd C. Gardner Fellowship provides Rutgers undergraduates with the opportunity to deepen their awareness of global issues and to take a prominent role in addressing pressing social issues through policy, law, business, health, academia, politics and other careers. The Fellowship is a competitive, year-long program for juniors in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and students selected for the Fellowship participate in a fall seminar, a spring research project, and participate in numerous events and trips, including visits to the United Nations and Washington D.C., dinners with faculty and Fellows, and other informal events. Students gain a greater understanding of contemporary issues, develop connections with research faculty, network with lawmakers, diplomats, journalists, and members of non-profit organizations, present their research in a public forum, and connect with Gardner Alumni. The annual Policy Conference showcases the Fellows spring research and the Alumni Council holds an annual spring event.

Fellows also receive a $1000 scholarship.

Applications are due the Friday before spring break. Application information is available here.


Fall: Multi-disciplinary Seminar

The Fall seminar consists of a three-credit interdisciplinary seminar focusing on a topic of contemporary significance. Students participate in reading and discussions with faculty from a wide range of Rutgers departments, such as Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, History, African Studies, Caribbean and Latino Studies, Epidemiology, and others. Additional speakers during the semester are invited from outside the university. Previously, speakers from Oxford University, Brown University, University of Michigan, and other institutions have participated in the Fall seminar. The seminar allows students from a range of academic backgrounds to network with each other and with faculty from across the University and at other institutions as well.

Topics for the Fall Seminar have included Security and Sustainability, Violence and Non-Violence, and Democracy and Democratic Revolution.

Fall Trip: United Nations

In the Fall Fellows visit the United Nations where they are given a guided tour and meet with representatives from several Missions. Previously fellows have received briefings from the German, Greek, Cuban, and Japanese Missions.

Spring: Research Project

In the spring, students participate in a three-credit independent study. Working closely with a faculty member, each student develops a research paper on an issue of particular interest to the student related to that year’s theme, with an eye towards understanding the policy implications of their research. Research topics frequently emerge in seminar discussion during the Fall semester, but the topics are wide ranging and are based on the student’s interests. Students will meet periodically to share the results of their research with fellow students and faculty during the spring semester. This research culminates in a research paper and presentation at the Gardner Policy Conference. Many students have continued their Gardner research for Senior theses and Capstones. The Gardner Fellowship has some limited funds available for research that is carried through to the senior year.

Spring trip: Washington, D.C.

During the Spring semester, Fellows visit Washington, D.C., where they meet with members of Congress, including New Jersey Senators and representatives, journalists, executives, and activists on Capitol Hill. Previously, fellows have meet with Senator Cory Book, visited national media organizations such as NPR, Politico, CBS News, and USA Today, and had meetings with representatives of the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Spring: Policy Conference

The year culminates with the Spring Policy Conference with Fellows sharing their research projects to an audience of current and former Fellows, Faculty Mentors, and other Friends of the Gardner Fellowship.

In 2020, due to the pandemic, we created a Virtual Policy Conference.

As difficult as it was not to have an in-person event, the virtual event gives you the unique opportunity of viewing the outstanding presentations of the 2019-2020 Gardner Fellowship class.

Previous research projects can be found on our Research Topics page.

Annual Events

Over the course of the year, there are a number of events for the Fellows. In the Fall and Spring Semesters, Fellows attend welcome dinners, where they meet and network with previous years’ fellows, faculty mentors, and other friends of the Gardner Fellowship. In addition to networking and socializing, these welcome dinners allow us to celebrate the current fellows and the accomplishments of previous fellows.

In the Spring, while Fellows are working on their independent research projects there are informal get togethers throughout the semester. These allow students to discuss research, enjoy pizza and a movie together, and frequently feature guest speakers from around the University.
The Gardner Alumni Council hosts an annual networking event for current and past fellows.


Fellows are generously funded with a $1,000 scholarship to help with their independent research. For those that continue with their Gardner Fellowship Research for their Senior Theses there is continued funding and support available.