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Rural Summer Fellowship

Applications due Feb. 4, 2019, via the SOLO portal for Stanford off-campus opportunities.

The Rural Summer Fellowship is a pilot that is designed to expose students to the differences that exist between communities based on size and population density. Our hope is that exposure and comparison can lead to better understanding of the experiences and perspectives of members of rural communities.

Rural Summer Fellows work with organizations within the United States addressing issues facing rural communities (e.g., poverty alleviation, education, civil rights, health, economic development). Preference is given to students working directly with and in rural communities. While “rural” can be difficult to define, the Haas Center is most interested in supporting students who will be working in cities with populations of less than 25,000 and/or in counties with less than 300 people/square mile (this is not a hard/fast definition).

Rural Summer Fellows must work in the United States and must identify their own partner organization. Applicants must propose their own placements with organizations with which they have corresponded before the application deadline and effectively demonstrate that their intended partner organization has the need, interest, and capacity to work with an intern/fellow for nine consecutive weeks and to support the proposed work plan. 

Positions available with the organizations listed below would fall within the parameters of the Rural Summer Fellowship (the fellowship is not limited to positions with these organizations and students are able to identify and propose their own partner organizations). Please review the position descriptions on the Cardinal Quarter Connections list, and reach out to the organizations directly to discuss the positions:

Each Rural Summer Fellow receives a base stipend of $5,000 to cover most of the essential costs associated with an unpaid service experience. Financial aid and supplemental funding is available to students who qualify.

Students interested in working in a rural area on education-related issues can also consider applying to the position with Spring Initiative in Clarksdale, MS, through the Education & Youth Development Fellowship.

Funding for this fellowship has been generously provided by Haas Center donors as part of the Cardinal Quarter program.


Currently enrolled first-years, sophomores, and juniors from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply, and applicants may vary in academic interests, public service involvement, and experience. Priority will be given to students who have completed fewer than two previous Cardinal Quarter opportunities. Graduating seniors are only eligible for Round 2 opportunities if funding is available, and the Round 2 deadline may be in April. Students who have begun their coterm programs are not eligible to apply.


Fellows are required to work at least 35 hours/week for nine consecutive weeks at their placements. Fellows are expected to work on-site with their host organization, and have a designated full-time professional staff member on-site as their supervisor/mentor. Please review the entire FAQs section for program policies. Other commitments include the following:

Spring Quarter

  • Attend a program orientation.
  • Attend the Engaging in Ethical and Effective Service workshop.
  • Meet with academic mentor at least once. 
  • Design a personal learning plan for the summer and share the plan with community partner and academic mentor.


  • Rural Summer Fellows may be asked to participate in periodic check-in phone calls with the Rural Summer Fellowship cohort and program staff, and contribute to online discussion boards and/or to a public blog.
  • Submit a brief preliminary report.
  • Submit a final report, complete a program evaluation, and correspond with fellowship donor(s) as requested by fellowships program staff.

Autumn Quarter

  • Meet with academic mentor at least once. 
  • Attend a de-briefing meeting for the purpose of reflecting upon and evaluating summer experiences.
  • Participate in outreach activities to share your experiences and help publicize the program.
  • For Urban Summer Fellows, present at the Urban Summer/Urban Studies Fellowship Open House.

Selection Process:

For those who seek assistance, advising is offered to help students develop their applications and/or to identify potential partner organizations.

Students are strongly encouraged to discuss ideas for placements with program staff well before the application deadline to identify appropriate/relevant opportunities and prepare effective application materials.  Developing a suitable summer placement takes time, so it is important to start the application process early and consult with professors, advisors, and community partners regularly. 

This fellowship is intended for individuals whose application, references, and interview demonstrate

  • an integration of the fellowship experience with applicant’s academic, personal and/or career goals
  • prior demonstrated interest or involvement in the subject area, including related coursework
  • a compelling match between applicant’s skills and interests and an organization’s work and needs
  • strong potential for the fellowship experience to enlarge a candidate’s understanding of an identified community issue or challenge

Complete applications are screened, finalists interviewed, and fellows selected by a committee with the intention to award fellowships prior to spring break. Committee decisions are final.

Applications due Feb. 4, 2019, via the SOLO portal for Stanford off-campus opportunities.

Rural West Conference Volume

Bridging the Distance

Common Issues of the Rural West

Edited by David B. Danbom
Foreword by David M. Kennedy

Published in cooperation with the Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University
The University of Utah Press has published Bridging the Distance, a book by the Rural West Initiative of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. Edited by the distinguished historian David B. Danbom and with a foreword by Center co-founding director David M. Kennedy, the book explores the Rural West across four dimensions: Community, Land, Economics – and defining the Rural West itself. The book is the result of work presented at the first Conference on the Rural West, which took place in Ogden, Utah, in October 2012.