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Public Service Leaders Scholarship Program


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Public Service Leaders Scholarship Program provides undergraduate and graduate level students with a challenging internship opportunity combined with a scholarship. The program is designed to promote public service and create access to higher education. Upon successful completion of program and degree requirements, participants become permanent employees of USDA.


2012 Scholarship

USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)


Example Duty Locations (Field Office in):
Sacramento, CA & Phoenix, AZ

Desired Majors:
Math, Statistics, Agriculture, Ag Business, Ag Economics/Management/Marketing, Ag Production and Technology, Agronomy, Animal Science or related field.

Required to take 15 semester credits of math and statistics, of which 6 must be in statistics, plus 9 additional semester credits in other physical or social sciences.

Academic Level:
Student beginning their college Junior/Senior year or Master’s degree in Fall 2012 preferred

Position Title:

Position Description:
Assists USDA officials in providing recommendations concerning mathematical techniques and methodology employed in planning and conducting statistical surveys. Assignments involve the application of statistical theories, techniques and methods used to obtain and analize agricultural data and prepare estimates, forecasts and reports. Working with NASS includes extensive training programs and new job assignments at regular intervals to help improve statistical and data processing skills and knowledge about agriculture in various areas of the country. New techniques, particularly those related to emerging technologies, are important segments of training and everyday performance on the job.

  • Full-tuition scholarships
  • Paid internship (minimum 640 hours) leading to permanent employment
  • Employee benefits such as:
    • Mentoring
    • Career development
    • Leadership training
    • Use of a personal computer

The USDA offers the opportunity to:

  • Make a difference in the nation and the world
  • Obtain a challenging and interesting job assignment
  • Gain experience in your career field
  • Develop your leadership skills


Important Dates

Application Deadline: March 19, 2012. All materials must be received by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

Mandatory Leadership Training: June 24-30, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Scholars participate in a one-week mandatory leadership training in Washington, D.C. for two consecutive summers. The training facilitates the transition from school to work, focuses students on the responsibility of public service, enhances leadership skills, and fosters a sense of camaraderie. USDA covers cost associated with travel, lodging, and meals.
How to Apply

The application process is designed to gauge leadership potential, commitment to public service and dedication to academic/career field. To apply, e-mail the following items as attachments to All documents must be received by March 19, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Time.  If you have any additional questions, please contact Sandra Cortez at (202) 720-6506.


Resume – Be sure to include an e-mail address that is frequently checked.


Essays – Answer the following four questions in essay format. Provide a separate response for each question. Each response must be between 400-500 words. Be sure to include your name on each page.

1. What unique personal qualities or life experiences might distinguish you from other applicants?
2. What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you? How does the USDA align with your career goals?
3. Describe a time when you exhibited leadership skills even though you were not the designated leader.
4. Describe your history of community involvement and how you plan to continue being involved in the future.

Two Letters of Recommendation – Submit TWO letters of recommendation. One must be from your academic counselor, advisor, or faculty member. The second letter of recommendation should be from a community organization or an employer. Each letter must address the following: 1) Personal strengths; 2) Leadership qualities and potential; 3) Academic and extracurricular achievements; and 4) Future academic and career aspirations.


Unofficial Transcripts – Submit college/university transcripts indicating your most recent academic work. Cross out your social security number and date of birth before submitting. Transcripts must include your cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. If your transcript does not show a cumulative GPA, request that a school official confirm this information on school letterhead with his or her signature. If selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts.

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