Leonard D. Schaeffer Government Service Fellowship

Leonard D. Schaeffer Logo

The Matsui Center is pleased to partner with the Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service program to provide local, state, and federal government summer internships to Berkeley undergraduates. Schaeffer Fellows are selected by the Matsui Center through a competitive process. Matsui Center staff help place students in a 10-week full-time government summer internship of their choice working with elected officials or government agencies at the local, state, or federal level. Students receive a $5,500 stipend to help with living expenses, along with other forms of professional development, mentorship, and networking.

NOTE: Applicants must be registered UC Berkeley students with sophomore or junior standing. Seniors with at least one full-time semester of undergraduate coursework remaining after completing their internship are also eligible for the program.

Students selected for a Schaeffer Fellowship are also automatically accepted into the Matsui Center’s Spring Break program Democracy Camp (March 20-23, 2023), where they learn more about public service opportunities and build a cohort with other public service-oriented students. Participation is optional but encouraged.

Questions? Contact IGS and Matsui Center Program Manager, Megan Collins: meganjcollins@berkeley.edu 

2022 UC Berkeley Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows pose in front of steps


The Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows (LDSF) program provides a unique undergraduate government service experience.  The Program’s mission is to expose students to government work and its impact.  While not all Schaeffer Fellows will pursue a career in government, the Program creates the opportunity for participants to become engaged citizens and develop an informed view of government service and operations.  Schaeffer Fellows are selected from five universities – Harvard University; Princeton University; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Southern California; and the University of Virginia. 

The LDSF program supports talented undergraduates in government service through 10-week, full-time, high-level internship placements with elected officials and agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.  Schaeffer Fellows represent a diversity of backgrounds, political perspectives, and academic disciplines.  Common among them is their interest in learning more about public service and the role of government. 

Schaeffer Fellows are exposed to government experiences which include but are not limited to: interacting with government officials and constituents; tracking legislation; conducting research; drafting policy memos, talking points or constituent letters; attending interagency council meetings, working groups, community events or congressional hearings; supporting program development and implementation; assisting with social media; contributing to daily office operations; and developing lasting professional networks with government officials, their mentors, and other interns.

Now entering its eighth year, the LDSF program has supported more than 275 Fellows at more than 100 different government offices and agencies. The Program supports 50 Fellows each summer, and Schaeffer Fellow alumni are invited to participate in program events, asked to serve as Schaeffer Fellow Mentors, and remain connected to one another through the Schaeffer Fellows Online Community.


Schaeffer Fellows receive specialized support to complete 10-week, high-level internships at all levels of government. The professional development curriculum distinguishes the program from other government service internship opportunities and focuses on professionalism, networking, fostering camaraderie and interaction, and utilizing the fellowship as a launchpad for future opportunities.

Fellows make connections with government and private sector leaders and participate in activities customized to support undergraduate students still early on in their career exploration. The curriculum is grounded in four key themes:

1.    Reflecting on vision and values

2.    Exploring leadership lessons

3.    Collaborating and networking

4.    Developing transferable skills.

Schaeffer Fellows receive a $5,500 stipend to support the cost of living and travel associated with the program. They participate in a Virtual Orientation in the spring and the Schaeffer Fellows Summit professional conference during the summer. Schaeffer Fellows engage online with other Fellows, alumni, and program partners in an exclusive online community portal. There they have access to additional resources including a comprehensive Resource Guide, networking opportunities, and discussion boards. Each fall, Schaeffer Fellows’ contributions to public service are recognized by their university’s closing event.

You can learn more about the Schaeffer Fellows program here.     

Sign up here to receive more information on other Matsui Center and IGS Fellowship and Grant programs. 

2023 Applications now closed 

Contact: Matsui Program Manager Megan Collins (meganjcollins@berkeley.edu)