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About the Program

Student scholars get to know each other and learn about their leadership styles during a meeting at J. W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.

The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission.

Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and Georgia communities; to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals; and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and beyond.

The program was first established in Spring 2011 with 10 students.

“Our program assessment shows that participating students report a statistically significant increase in their self-efficacy for successfully serving their community, and in their knowledge about the public service mission of UGA,” said Paul Matthews, associate director for the Office of Service-Learning.

Past participants have gone on to receive Fulbright Fellowships, entered medical school, been named Schwarzman Scholars, gone to graduate school in a range of fields, taught for Teach for America, entered the foreign service, been Boren Scholars, served as AmeriCorps VISTAs and have gone on to pursue successful careers in a wide variety of fields. 

Program Overview

Fall Semester
  • Hands-on leadership development
  • Visit the Public Service and Outreach units on Fridays
    • Learn about the units’ mission, work and opportunities for involvement 
    • Meet with PSO administrators, staff and faculty
  • Spend a weekend visiting Skidaway Island near Savannah, home to UGA’s Marine Education Center and Aquarium 
  • Take part in hands-on service opportunities
    • Thanksgiving “Turkeypalooza” – food collection and meal distribution through the Office of Service-Learning’s Campus Kitchen at UGA 
Spring Semester
  • Participate in structured, 120-150 hour internships with one of the eight Public Service and Outreach units or the vice president’s office
  • Receive mentorship and supervision by a faculty or staff member
  • Meet with university administrators 
  • Receive recognition at the Public Service and Outreach Annual Meeting and participate in professional development
  • Serve as ambassadors for the program
  • Have the option for paid summer internships with a unit (does not have to be same one from spring internship) 

Apply for the Student Scholars Program

Application and supplemental materials are due April 3, 2024 for the 2024-2025 program. Interviews for the program will occur April 15-25, 2024.

Students who have completed at least one year of university study prior to the start of the program year are eligible to apply. Students in all majors are welcome to apply and to consider how their skills and knowledge could benefit from internships with particular PSO units.

A successful application will include the following:
  • The completed application form
  • A current résumé
  • A 250-500 word statement explaining: your motivations to participate in the PSO Student Scholars program; your preference and rationale for possible internship placement(s); and how participation relates to your career/academic goals
  • One faculty/staff reference form (due April 3)
    • Applicants are responsible for assuring referee has appropriate time to complete by due date
  • A current UGA transcript (official transcript may be sent by the Registrar’s Office to Josh Podvin at, or a student-generated [unofficial] transcript included with application materials) 

Program finalists will be interviewed between April 15-25, with final notification prior to the end of the semester.

Here’s what past PSO Student Scholars have to say:

“One of the best experiences I have had at the University of Georgia thus far.”

“I feel like I have learned so much more about the university and about myself through participating in the program.”

“By far the single most impactful thing I have done during college.”

“Without having the experiences afforded me by this program, I would not be where I am today… PSO really did change my life.”

2023-24 PSO Student Scholars

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602