Societal Solutions Scholars Program

Impact a community starting with your next internship. The Dyson School’s Societal Solutions Scholars (S2 Scholars) Program promotes and facilitates student-driven innovation activities through a unique two-year program. The program pairs S2 Scholars with targeted internship opportunities and/or entrepreneurial mentorship, organizes tailored coursework and workshops, and features one-on-one faculty mentorship. Through these activities, the program aims to facilitate undergraduate engagement with societal problems and provide support and seed funding for promising actionable innovations.


  • Work with Dyson School faculty and staff members to secure internship/mentorship opportunities corresponding to the stated objective of the S2 scholar
  • Receive up to a $5,000 summer fellowship to pursue the proposed program of exploration
  • Participate in pre- and post-internship short courses to hone program management and problem-solving skills
  • Work one-on-one with Dyson faculty members to create and design a program of study to cultivate additional skills; S2 Scholars also have the option to write follow-on funding proposals to seed additional junior- and senior-year activities, and/or actionable innovation ideas
  • Successful proposals can receive up to $15,000 of additional funding

Eligibility and Selection

  1. All Dyson School sophomores and juniors (majors and double majors), as well as AEM Management Minors, AEM Applied Economics MinorsBusiness Minor for Engineers, and Business Minor for Life Sciences Majors, are eligible to apply, with preference given to sophomore applicants and to students supported by financial aid.
  2. All applicants are required to identify a societal problem related to one of the four broad areas of the Dyson School (food and agricultural economics; management; environmental, energy, and resource economics; international and development economics), articulate a vision and/or the need for innovation, and describe the applicant’s own rationale (including relevant prior experiences) for engaging with the proposed problem.
  3. All applicants are required to provide a short list of organizations (including for-profits, non-profits, governmental, local, and international organizations) wherein a summer internship can provide opportunities for fact-finding and community engagement related to the proposed problem.
  4. Up to four S2 scholars will be chosen each year based on the quality of the applicant’s proposed program of exploration and the potential real-world impact of the proposal.
  5. Please email the completed application to Please direct any questions about the S2 Scholars Program to Professor Nancy Chau.

Internship Program

S2 Scholars participate in an internship experience the summer months following their sophomore or junior year. The S2 Scholar Program pairs S2 Scholars with targeted internship or entrepreneurial mentorship related to the stated area of interest of the S2 Scholar. S2 Scholars  staff and Dyson faculty will work with S2 Scholars to identify and secure matching internship opportunities. Depending on the societal problem identified by the student, these organizations can be for-profit, non-profit, governmental, or international organizations.

The S2 Scholars program is also partnering with Ashoka – the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries – to pair S2 Scholars with Ashoka Fellows for the S2 Scholar internship program. S2 Scholar Program applicants are encouraged to visit the Ashoka Fellows website to get more information on the scale and scope of these activities worldwide as they consider their own idea and application. Applicants interested in internships with Ashoka Fellows should indicate the types and location of social entrepreneurship activities that fit their interest in their application. S2 Scholars may also apply for the Ashoka and Ashoka U internship programs for those who are interested in gaining a birds-eye view on social entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship activities in higher education.

Pre- and Post-Internship Activities

All S2 Scholars will participate in pre- and post-internship short courses (e.g., ALS 3200, ALS 3210, or similar courses tailored for S2 Scholars). These courses are designed to train students to hone program management and problem-solving skills. The pre-internship course seeks to help students develop the personal, professional, and academic skills necessary for effective immersion while in a host community. The post-internship course provides a space for S2 Scholars to reflect on their experience, and analyze and communicate their learning through additional research and writing activities.

Faculty Mentorship and Follow-On Funding

To seed actionable innovation ideas by S2 Scholars in their junior and senior years, the program encourages S2 Scholars to write proposals for additional funding. S2 Scholars who declare interest in requesting additional funding to seed the implementation of innovation ideas will be paired with a Dyson faculty member during the fall term following the internship experience. The S2 Scholar will work with the faculty mentor to develop a proposal for follow-on funding. The S2 program provides up to $15,000 to each qualified proposal for use during the scholar’s junior year, junior summer, and senior year.

Student Spotlight

Linh Vuu '18

Linh Vuu

Staten Island, NY


Finance and Environmental, Energy, and Resource Economics

What Makes Dyson Special?

The Dyson School's unified learning environment nurtures cultural diversity and a superior work ethic. Besides focusing on profitability and competence, the School fosters the ideals of integrity and economic social responsibility.