Student Summer Fellowship Award

Undergraduate Student Summer Fellowship Award

The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy and the University Honors College founded the Dick Thornburgh Summer Fellowships in 2011 to support undergraduate research into issues of governance addressed in Governor Dick Thornburgh’s long and eminent service in national and international leadership. Fellows will receive a stipend of $4,000 to provide their freedom from employment to perform their independent research and to assure their commitment to seminar responsibilities described below.

Central to the Thornburgh Fellowship is the Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection in the University’s Archive Service Center. The Thornburgh Collection encompasses a comprehensive set of documents, thousands of photographs, and many hours of audio and video from Governor Thornburgh's career.  Student research under the fellowship must make substantial use of this archive. An excellent archive website enumerates the documents and issues from each of his public service positions and includes topics such as the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, multiple Pennsylvania issues from his two terms as Governor, and legal topics such as the Savings and Loan crisis from his years as Attorney General.

Students with special interests in the following broad topics may well find a worthy and winning project to undertake under this fellowship:

• Pennsylvania history
• US history
• International affairs
• Rule of Law
• State economic development
• Standards of ethics and integrity
• Political science/politics
• Disability law and issues
• Public service
• Law enforcement
• Nuclear power and energy policy
• TMI and crisis management (i.e. Three Mile Island)
• State system of higher education
• Human services and welfare reform

Thornburgh fellows participate in the academic community of the renowned Honors College Brackenridge Summer Research Fellowship Program. The centerpiece is a weekly roundtable seminar. Students are also encouraged to participate in informal workshops initiated by the fellows themselves. The Dick Thornburgh Fellowship is open to undergraduates from any field and any class, including freshmen as well as seniors. Fellows are selected on the basis of their academic record, the originality and promise of their proposed projects, as well as their aspiration to create and participate in an interdisciplinary community of students in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and applied disciplines. 


Application deadline:  Monday, March 14, 2022.

2021 award recipient:

  • Yamini Yepuri - Project title:  "The Efficacy of Empathy in Legislation: Dick Thornburgh's Contribution to the Enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act."


2020 award recipient: 

  • Ryan Steinly - Project title of study:  "A Holistic Evaluation of Pennsyvania's Language Access Plan."


2017 award recipient:

  • Samantha Varela - Project title of study:  "Responses to Three Miles Island:  How Public Officials Kept Pennsylvania Together After this Nuclear Incident."

2016 award recipient:

  • Sarah Dickey - Project title of study:  "The War on Drugs through Educational and Juvenile Justice Reform."

2014 award recipient:

  • Alex Burger - Project title of study:  "Crime in the Suites:  Prosecution of Financial Institution Fraud by the Department of Justice 1988-1991"

2013 award recipients:

  • Mary Mallampalli – Project title of study:  "An Analysis of Reform: Crime Control and Prevention under the Allegheny County Regional Planning Committee, 1969-1972."
  • Ankur Sakaria – Project title of study:   "Investigating Effective Growth Policies: An Application of Pennsylvania's Economic Policy of the 1980's to Today's Economy."

2012 award recipients:

  • Neil Devlin – Project title of study:   “Powering Pennsylvania’s Future”
  • Jason Frantz – Project title of study:  “Nuclear Utility Companies Liability.”

2011 award recipient:

  • Priyanka Kaura – Project title of study:  “Public Responses to the Three Mile Island Crisis Management under Governor Dick Thornburgh.”
Page banner photo: Yamini Yepuri. Recipient of the 2021 Dick Thornburgh Forum Summer Fellowship Award.