How does a graduate school prepare leaders to address complicated public challenges?


At Harvard Kennedy School, we believe in the value of experience.

The Michael S. Dukakis Governors’ Summer Fellowship Program allows our students to serve in U.S. governors’ executive offices for 10 weeks between their first and second years of graduate study. Through this fully-funded, nonpartisan fellowship, students apply leadership and analytic skills to tackle critical state-level policy issues in health care, education, economic development, public safety, budgeting, and other areas.


By participating in the Dukakis Summer Fellowship Program, your state will gain the skills, talent, and energy of an HKS student. Whether you are looking to develop new initiatives in your state or advance current projects, you can benefit from the assistance of an emerging leader in public policy.

Dukakis Fellows
U.S. States
U.S. Governors

Where Dukakis Fellows have served

Some 151 Dukakis Fellows, 38 U.S. states, and 60 U.S. governors have participated in the Dukakis Summer Fellowship Program since it began in 2007. Our fellows have served in the U.S. states highlighted in green.

Map of the United States highlighting states (in green) that have hosted Dukakis Fellows

Our Dukakis Fellows have served in:

  • Alabama 
  • Alaska 
  • Arizona 
  • California 
  • Colorado 
  • Connecticut 
  • Delaware
  • Florida 
  • Hawaii 
  • Kansas 
  • Louisiana
  • Maine 
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Michigan 
  • Minnesota 
  • Missouri 
  • Montana  
  • Nevada 
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey 
  • New York 
  • North Carolina 
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma 
  • Oregon 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Rhode Island 
  • South Carolina 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas 
  • Utah 
  • Vermont 
  • Virginia 
  • Washington 
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming 

Our Dukakis Fellows are currently serving in:

  • Arizona 
  • Colorado 
  • Connecticut 
  • Hawaii 
  • Maryland 
  • Michigan 
  • Minnesota 
  • Missouri 
  • New York 
  • North Carolina 
  • Pennsylvania 

Political affiliation of governors' offices that hosted Dukakis Fellows

Pie chart: 66% Democrat, 33% Republican, and 1% Other
Data behind the graph

66% Democrat
33% Republican
1% Other

Fellowship funding information

The Dukakis Summer Fellowship Program was established by Marilyn and Calvin Gross in honor of former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and his commitment to public service, to expose HKS students to leadership roles in state government. Due to their generous donation, HKS fellows receive a fully-funded experience to work on a range of policy challenges in governors’ executive offices across the United States.

Submit your proposal

Does your executive office need to get a new initiative off the ground or a current project over the finish line? Is your office facing a challenge that needs a sharp thinker and doer? Send us your proposal detailing the project and its challenges as well as who in the governor’s office will oversee the project and manage the Dukakis Fellow. 

As you prepare your executive office's program proposal, consider reading a sample state proposal and articles written by past Dukakis Fellows about their summer experiences.

Recent Dukakis Fellows' experiences

Carolyn worked on initiatives related to workforce development as an Economic Development Strategic Policy Fellow.


Austin worked on mapping the state's public education data landscape, identifying ways to increase educator diversity, and evaluating state-level school governance.


Amanda worked on creating the state’s new Office of Childhood in support of the governor's priority to enhance early childhood education.

2024 Important Dates and Deadlines 

Early JanuaryCall for proposals from governors’ offices
January 25
5 p.m. ET 
Proposal applications from governors’ offices are due
Late January Governors’ office proposals announced to students. HKS student applications open in JACK. 
February 6
12 p.m. ET
Dukakis Summer Fellowship Program in-person student information session (1 of 2 optional sessions). Details on the OCA Events Calendar or JACK (HarvardKey required).
February 7
12 p.m. ET
Dukakis Summer Fellowship Program virtual student information session (2 of 2 optional sessions). Details on the OCA Events Calendar or JACK (HarvardKey required).
February 13
12 p.m. ET
Student applications close 
March 7 & 8 Fellows notified of selection before spring break
Late April Fellowship cohort announced


Information for Students 

As a Dukakis Fellow, you will get an up-close look at the challenges and opportunities that define the highest levels of state government and have first-hand involvement in addressing those challenges, particularly in the areas of policy and budget. 

Admission to the Dukakis Summer Fellowship Program is highly competitive, with a limited number of fellowships available each summer. You will receive a full stipend for the 10-week fellowship, including support to travel to and from your U.S. state. 

Be in touch with our team if you have questions about the program or the application process.