SNF Agora Launches Inaugural Student Grant Program

Three undergraduate student organizations and a PHD candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education were selected to receive fall 2020 grants.

In April 2020, the SNF Agora Institute launched its new Student Grant Program, in collaboration with the SNF Agora Student Engagement Board. SNF Agora established this grant program to provide financial support to Johns Hopkins University students and student organizations to pursue research projects, unpaid internships, and group projects, as well as host programming and travel to academic events. Ultimately, this program was designed to support student projects that are complementary to the institute’s mission of strengthening global democracy through civic engagement and informed, inclusive dialogue.

Three undergraduate student organizations—Discourse, the Hopkins Podcast on Affairs (POFA), and Johns Hopkins Model United Nation (HopMUN)—were selected to receive fall 2020 grants. Discourse, an organization that focuses on fostering civic discussion and respectful dialogue, received a grant to publish a zine. The zine will illustrate the findings and outcomes of Discourse’s fall 2020 virtual conference, “Project: United Perspective,” which will convene Hopkins student organization to discuss and debate the question, “What does sustainable, collaborative social action look like in 2020?”

POFA, a student-run podcast that produces conversations between experts and students on pressing international relations issues, also received grant funding for fall 2020. As a part of the program, POFA will receive enhanced access to equipment and recording software, thus improving the organization’s capacity to produce more podcast episodes.

“Like SNF Agora, POFA is dedicated to sparking informed discussions about the world’s most pressing issues and expanding students’ knowledge of current events. 2020 has really marked a turning point for our team as we more than doubled the amount of podcast episodes, expanded our team, and increased our marketing skills. We are so thankful for SNF Agora’s grant and are excited to continue expanding our podcast’s reach and collaborating with SNF Agora experts in the near future!” says POFA’s Amanda Yuen.

The third grant recipient, HopMUN, is an organization that trains students in the art of debate, diplomacy, and research and allows participants the opportunity to attend Model United Nations conference. Through the SNF Agora student grant, HopMun will receive grant funding to cover registration costs for one fall 2020 Model United Nation Conference.

“HopMUN is proud to receive the fall 2020 SNF Agora Student Grant,” says Fabiana Corsi Mendez of HopMun. “With these funds, we’ll be able to ensure that our members are able to compete with other college teams and gain practical exposure to the worlds of diplomacy, international relations, and debate. We thank the SNF Agora Institute for enabling us to further our joint mission of promoting discourse and inquiry that advances the ideals of democratic collaboration.”

In addition to allocating grant funding to student organizations, SNF Agora also awarded a fall 2020 student grant to Kelly Siegel-Stechler, a PhD candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education who studies civic development and political socialization in schools. Siegel-Stechler was awarded a fall 2020 grant to attend the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) 2020 Annual Meeting and Exhibition and to present her research on engaging students in civic discourse. “This grant provides a wonderful opportunity to share my research about young people’s civic and political engagement with the broader scholarly community and support SNF Agora’s mission of advancing democratic dialogue not only because of its content but also by disseminating important research to a broader network,” says Siegel-Stechler.

As a part of this newly established program, SNF Agora will accept applications for the student grants twice a year, once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester. SNF Agora is now accepting applications for spring 2021 student grants. SNF Agora will award up to $5,000 total in student grants for the spring semester. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, November 2, 2020. To apply for the opportunity, please visit