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2019 High Roaders at careers in public service podium

Democracy Summer Fellowships

Careers in Public Service will provide coursework, internships, programming, engaged learning, policy forums and networking activities to generate interest and appreciation for civil society, democracy and public service for Cornell students.

How do you desire to serve others, to be a change maker, to have an impact on the issues you care about, and transform that into a meaningful public service career?

Democracy Summer is designed for ILR undergraduate students interested in enhancing democracy through public service.

Democracy Summer Fellowships

Brian Higgis with Democracy Summer students

Activate your civic right to strengthen American democracy! 

Test your interest in public service careers during this historic time in government. Fellows will each have an individual project with a specific official, participate in workshops on government, be provided opportunities for community learning and service, and if in-person may choose to live in group housing with other Cornell students in Buffalo, NY. Open to Cornell ILR undergraduates.

About the Program

Today’s complex urban environments present constantly evolving challenges and opportunities, creating an increasing need for versatile leaders with the ability to forge connections and lead across sectors.

Democracy Summer Fellowships provide a unique learning community based on:

  • Engaged learning
  • A cohort model of peer learning and group work
  • Direct interaction with public officials and staffers
  • The opportunity to learn about career paths in public service

Democracy Summer provides insight on the issues and access to leaders who are addressing major challenges through government. It provides a strong grounding in critical thinking, group dynamics, and problem solving. Individual components include:


Weekly seminars develop individual knowledge, skills and the opportunity to interview community leaders. Fellows will learn from presenters about the opportunities available in government-related fields and develop networks to support their career goals.

Field Placements

Eight week individual projects. Participating government officials affiliated with Western New York will be announced at the end of January.

The application for summer 2021 will become available at the end of January.

Questions? Contact Nicole Golias at