Applications extended for World House Student Fellows 2020-21

February 14, 2020
By Perry World House

Perry World House is seeking applications from rising Penn sophomores, juniors and seniors for our 2020-2021 class of World House Student Fellows. The deadline to apply has been extended to February 21.


This competitive program is intended for undergraduate students from  any school or department who have demonstrated a serious interest in exploring global affairs in depth during their time at Penn. World House Student Fellows will participate in a series of seminars, projects, and activities oriented around critical global inquiry. They will receive unparalleled access to, and direct interaction with, faculty and distinguished visitors, along with unique opportunities and activities oriented around global affairs. Between new and returning fellows, we plan to have a class of around 30 students for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Program offer

The World House Student Fellows Program will offer students leadership opportunities and the chance to tackle global issues through four different types of engagement: 

  • Policy Project: Directed by faculty and staff, fellows will work in teams on a year-long project. Each group will develop a policy-relevant research question linked to the themes and priorities of the Global Innovation Program, the think tank wing of Perry World House. The group will explore this topic over the course of the year under the guidance of World House postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and visiting fellows. At the end of the academic year, each group will present its work to policymakers, practitioners, and affiliated Perry World House faculty and scholars. This research will also be published, as appropriate, by Perry World House. Check out our website to learn more about last year’s projects. 

  • Unique access to faculty and visitors: World House Student Fellows will explore and analyze pressing global issues in regular seminars facilitated by Perry World House faculty, staff, and visitors. These seminars will also be used to teach students skills to translate research into policy-relevant output. 

  • Research and career mentorship: World House Student Fellows will receive research mentoring from affiliated faculty and/or visiting scholars, postdocs, or distinguished visitors. Hands-on collaboration with experts will hone research and critical thinking skills. Thesis research and internship funding may be available on a competitive basis to students working in areas related to Global Innovation Program priorities. Exclusive career development events with alumni and other guests will also be held during the year, including two field-learning experiences visiting organizations in New York City during the fall semester, and Washington, D.C. in the spring. All World House Student Fellows will also learn how to produce and publish various types of products aimed at influencing government, international, and/or NGO policy communities in the U.S. and around the world. 

  • Special Events: World House Fellows will have preferential access to small-group conversations with World House Distinguished Visiting Fellows and guest speakers over the course of their fellowship. 

Additional opportunities 

While the World House Student Fellows program is intended primarily to offer student leadership, research, mentoring, and publication opportunities, it also seeks to build the community of students interested in international affairs. Thus, a range of unique professional and social opportunities will be made available to World House Student Fellows, some of which will be added to the program throughout the year based on student interest and institutional capacity. Each class will have an orientation at the start of the school year. The fellows will also participate in an annual trip to Washington, D.C. in the spring, and New York City, in the fall, to meet with policymakers, alumni, and academics. Finally, there may be opportunities for funding for thesis research and/or summer internships for those Student Fellows with demonstrated engagement in the program over time. 


Fellows are expected to be full participants in all elements of the Fellowship experience and will spend around 4-5 hours per week involved in the program, on average. This time would include meetings with faculty/visitors, project meetings, research, and other activities at Perry World House. The goal of the World House Student Fellows Program is to complement students’ existing academic experiences at Penn by adding further elements of interactive global inquiry. Becoming a Student Fellow is a one-year commitment with potential to renew based on your performance in the program and continued interest. 


This program is open to any student that will be a sophomore, junior, or senior at the University of Pennsylvania at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.

Application Instructions

The application is divided into two stages: a written application and an in-person interview. A completed application must include: 1) a CV/resume; 2) an unofficial transcript; 3) the name and email address of one faculty member who is willing to serve as a reference for your application (we will contact them, if necessary); 4) answers to the short questions below, uploaded in one document as a personal statement

Application Questions: 

  1. What element of the program are you most looking forward to, and why? (100 word maximum) 
  2. Given your unique background and perspective, what will you bring to this program? (100 word maximum)
  3. What is the most memorable event you’ve attended at Perry World House over the last year, and why? (100 word maximum)
  4. A representative from [insert international institution or national-level institution of your choice. Examples would include the United Nations or the US State Department] contacts you and asks for your knowledge and advice around a global issue or policy. What does the representative most need to know? What are the relevant actors and complicating factors? Most important, what are some ideas you have that would either mitigate the issue or make the policy more effective? (500 word maximum) 
  5. The Student Fellows Policy Project will require you to work in groups. Please describe a time when you encountered challenges working in a group. What did you learn from this experience? How did you address any challenges?  (250 word maximum)
  6.  If accepted, how do you envision your experience in the World House Student Fellows Program aiding your future career goals? (100 word maximum)  
  7. How do you envision the Student Fellows program fitting in with your other commitments on campus? (100 word maximum)
  8. Do you plan to study abroad? If so, what semester? Example: Yes, Spring 3125. (This is simply for planning purposes, and is in no way a firm commitment) 

Please remember to answer all 8 questions and abide by the word limits. 

If selected for the interview stage, Perry World House will contact you in order to schedule a mutually convenient time. 

The application deadline has been EXTENDED to February 21, 2020.