So what's the Bob Graham Center for Public Service all about? The Bob Graham Center is the place where all UF students can acquire the skills and knowledge to become effective citizens.

Our purpose is to build a community of students, scholars and citizens who share a commitment to the civic culture of Florida, the nation and the world.

Our programs provide wide-ranging opportunities to conduct research on important issues, learn from renowned leaders, and gain experience working in local, state and national government or the various nonprofits and NGOs that serve civic causes.

You can pursue opportunties like these:

Internships 

The center connects undergraduate students with internships locally, statewide and nationally for academic credit.  Interns receive hands-on training and valuable work experience in policy and administration. For example, the Tallahassee Internship program happens each spring to coincide with Florida’s legislative session. The center offers up to 15 internships in state government, including positions with the legislature, executive branch agencies, the news media and lobbying organizations.

Internships can also be obtained with nonprofits and NGOs across the state and the nation. Visit our page on Internships for a good introduction. Or stop by the Center to visit with a staff member who can provide greater detail.

Research on Timely and Critical Issues

The Civic Scholars program enables UF students to conduct research, interview governmental and non-governmental officials, propose solutions to critical issues, compile reports and publicly share findings and proposals. To date, the center has commissioned students from nearly every academic major to conduct research on critical issues facing the state of Florida. Topics have ranged from food insecurity to early childhood education to voter access issues.

The Reubin Askew Scholars program provides distinguished UF undergrads the opportunity to conduct research on a public policy issue of state, national or international significance under the direction of a faculty mentor. The selected students take several courses in public policy, receive intensive leadership training and a $3,000 stipend to support a significant research project or internship for the summer between their junior and senior years. The center provides an
additional $2,000 for the student’s selected faculty mentor.

The Haskell Faculty and Student Awards program offers three UF faculty a research award of $3,000 each for an essay produced in concert with an undergraduate on a major public policy issue facing society. Essays should advance public understanding of this issue and be published in the public sphere. Proposals are welcome from all academic units at UF. An additional $1,500 in research funding will be awarded to the undergraduate student that takes a meaningful research role on the project and be acknowledged as a co-author or contributor. The student will receive $750 at the beginning of the project and the remainder at the end of the project.

Meet and Greet with Prominent Speakers and Scholars

The public lecture series sponsored by the Bob Graham Center serves the general public, UF students at all levels of their education, faculty and others interested in public policy. Each year, the center presents more than 20 speakers, drawn from high-ranking public officials, scholars from leading institutions, journalists covering national and international events and others involved in shaping public policy. Frequently, speakers meet privately in small groups with the Center's students. Public events are free and streamed live on the center’s website.

Additionally, hundreds of hours of our recorded public programs and exclusive interviews can be accessed through the event archive page.

Joining Civic-Related Student Organizations

The Graham Center Student Fellows group is one of the student organizations affiliated with the Center. Graham Fellows serve as the official student representatives of the Bob Graham Center, working closely with the center staff to fulfill the center’s goal of training the next generation of public and private sector leaders for Florida. Fellows also have access to event speakers and several other networking opportunities. 

Additionally, the Bob Graham Center’s academic team works closely with undergraduate students to provide support in the form of application and resume reviews, mock interviews, letters of recommendation and other professional development resources.

Participation in Voter Registration Drives

Voting is one of the most important rights and responsibilities that U.S. citizens have. Student organizations at the Bob Graham Center often participate in voter registration events, and internships are available in local voter outreach education efforts. The Center does not endorse candidates or take stances on public policy issues.

Attending Student-Led Conferences on and off Campus

One of the marquis events at the Bob Graham Center is the Future of Florida Summit, a student-run conference which calls on the brightest and most politically engaged students from Florida’s colleges and universities to solve pressing issues facing our state. Modeled after the National Campaign Conference at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, the mission of the FOF Summit is to bring together a select group of Florida students to identify problems, propose solutions and create an action plan for change. Participants have a chance to meet and interact with knowledgeable panelists (faculty, legislators, journalists and lobbyists) and remain connected to one another after the event’s conclusion to continue their collaborative work.

Contact the Center

Stop by the Bob Graham Center on the 2nd floor of Pugh Hall and discover how to channel your passion for change into the practices and processes vital to our nation's democracy. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

For additional information, please contact: Dorothy Zimmerman, director of communications, at dozimmer@ufl.edu, 352.273-1086.