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PLEASE BE ADVISED: The 2020 Public Service Fellowship application window is now closed. We appreciate your interest. Please check back next spring for information on summer 2021 Fellowships.





2020 Maguire Public Service Fellowships: Service During a Global Crisis

The SMU Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility has hosted public service fellowships since 1996, funding students who wish to devote the summer months to volunteerism or research in an ethics-related discipline or field. With the current outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the traditional types of public service and ethics research involving local and international travel cannot take place. However, the Ethics Center will be opening a novel round of public service fellowships for the summer of 2020. Students wishing to conduct remote or socially distanced service during the summer months or ethics-centered research related to the outbreak of novel coronavirus are encouraged to apply for funding. From entrepreneurial projects that serve those in need to research exploring the ethical impacts of poverty during a pandemic and everything in between, there are now a million new ways students can engage in service this summer.

Our goal has always been to support the service that SMU students wish to complete where means may not allow. This year, as faculty, staff and students have grappled with a new normal, we know our SMU graduate and undergraduate students are considering how they can give back during this crisis, whether that’s through public service or research that will impact the way this crisis will be seen for years to come. If you are an inventor, entrepreneur, or designer and have a plan, the Ethics Center wants to support that plan. Now, more than ever, is the time to dream big.

The Fellowship will be funded at the same level as previous years. Undergraduate students will receive a $2,000 stipend and graduate students will receive $2,400. Funding is at the Fellows discretion and can be used for living expenses, supplies, and anything needed to complete their proposed work. The application deadline is April 22.

About the Fellowship

The Maguire Center, with financial assistance from the Irby Family Foundation, awards summer fellowships to SMU students who wish to devote time to public service or ethics research. Over the past 20 years, we have awarded summer fellowship stipends totaling over $400,000 to 181 SMU students for public service and research in ethics. We have supported volunteers in more than 150 agencies across 18 states, 25 countries, and 5 continents.

Maguire Public Service Fellows have volunteered in a vast number of diverse internship placements. Through such opportunities, students gain concrete information about others' needs, as well as differing perspectives on how to resolve them. Drawing on their university education and personal talent, Fellows hone their skills and gain both humility and self-confidence to become bold, curious and creative leaders.

Who is eligible to apply?

All full-time SMU undergraduate and graduate students with a GPA of 3.0 or better are eligible to apply. Students must be returning to campus for the fall 2020 semester. Fellows must complete at least 200 hours of service during the course of the project.

How to apply

The application consists of four parts: the standard application form, a biography and fellowship proposal document (2-4 pages), a letter of acknowledgement from a sponsoring organization, and a faculty letter of reference/recommendation. 

Information about what needs to be submitted in your application packet can be found below. The application materials can be emailed to the Maguire Ethics Center or dropped off in-person at the Maguire Ethics Center. Alternately, you may fill out the digital version of the application by clicking here. Please create one document containing your application form followed by your biographical sheet(s) and be sure to put your name on every page. The application materials can be emailed to Center Program Specialist Adria Richmond at

The application consists of four parts:


  • Application Form [pdf] (please make sure you've reviewed the Fellowship Guidelines page before starting your application). You may also fill out the digital version of the application by clicking the link here.
  • Biography Fellowship Proposal
    • Brief biography (one to two pages) with your proposal
      • Include relevant personal, academic and work background on yourself 
    • Fellowship Proposal should be one to two pages. Please provide as much detail as possible on the work for which you would like to be sponsored this summer, including:
      • An overview of your summer project
      • How your proposed service project or research is related to ethics or what ethical or public service issues you’ll be dealing with while working
      • Where you want to work (name and location of agency and physical location of your fellowship)
      • What you would be doing/what is the need to be addressed
      • Why you are seeking this stipend 
  • Sponsoring Organization Letter
    • The letter should be from the person who would be your supervisor for the summer service project/fellowship
    • The letter should state that the supervisor has spoken to you about the project and what you will be doing at their organization
    • The letter should confirm that you will be able to work 200 hours over the summer under his/her supervision
    • Should you anticipate that you will not be able to obtain a letter from your sponsoring agency and supervisor by the deadline, please notify the Maguire Ethics Center before the application deadline
  • Faculty Reference Letter
    • The letter should be from the faculty reference whose name you listed on the application form who can speak to your academic strength or aptitude for the chosen project