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The James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows Program

The James and Sybil Stockdale Fellows Program is the most prestigious scholarship, leadership and enrichment program at Monmouth College. Stockdale Fellows participate in a comprehensive four-year leadership development program that includes the following program components:

Stockdale Fellows Leadership Retreat
The Stockdale Fellows Retreat is a one day leadership conference designed to build camaraderie and introduce Fellows to the Stockdale Fellows Program. Students will engage in team building activities, review program expectations and spend individualized time with the Assistant Director of Leadership Development reviewing goals, interests and career aspirations
Stockdale Fellows Leadership Training Program
First-year Fellows will participate in the Stockdale Fellows Leadership Training Program. This one-year leadership development program will build leadership skills; foster interpersonal, social, ethical and moral development; and instill an attitude of leadership and responsibility. Fellows will learn about different leadership styles, develop a personal leadership philosophy, engage in hot topic discussions, reflect on experiences and volunteer in the community. 
Curricular and co-curricular involvement
Involvement in campus life is the first step toward enhancing leadership skills and abilities. Through active participation Fellows will develop a better understanding of leadership and its responsible application. Examples include:
  • Develop and become the Editor-in-Chief of the college’s first undergraduate journal of American politics and political theory
  • Be a student lecturer in Constitutional law
  • Create an organization that increases civic participation among the campus community
  • Organize a conference on diversity, inclusion, women’s issues, e.g. Create WE Lead (Women Empowered Leadership Conference)
  • Establish a campus wide student-managed Green initiatives campaign
  • Create and lead a student organization that raises awareness for disability issues
Scots Mentoring Program
First-year Fellows will participate in an assessment of their leadership skills and discuss goals, interests and career aspirations with their faculty advisor and the Assistant Director of Leadership Development. In collaboration with these mentors, Fellows will create an individualized four-year leadership development plan.  Each Stockdale Fellow is also paired with an upper class student mentor.  Additionally, the senior year Fellows are uniquely matched with alumni who will facilitate networking and preparation for life beyond Monmouth College.
Service to the local community
First-year Fellows will volunteer in the local community and work collaboratively with community leaders developing solutions for the common good. Sample volunteer opportunities include:
  • Homeless shelter
  • Kids backpack program
  • YMCA youth programs
  • English as a Second Language programs
  • Local schools and hospitals
  • Nursing homes
Service to the larger community

Fellows will participate in an Alternative Spring Break. These week-long trips expose Fellows to a diverse perspective on the human condition and provide opportunities to impact social issues.  Some trips include working in an Appalachian Mountain community or on a Native American Reservation.

Fellows will also develop a Capstone Leadership Project on a social issue which will require them to work collaboratively with campus and community leaders. Sample projects might include:

  • Working with city organizers and local nonprofits to address food security
  • Directing a project that increases access to paid government internships
  • Improving outcomes of community youth
  • Starting a the Pay-it-Forward initiative which aims to provide low-income students with scholarship funds for professional public service opportunities
  • Implementing a pilot community health program to expand knowledge of Diabetes
  • Developing programs that involve historically marginalized communities in the electoral process
  • Organizing a community wide education campaign advocating recycling
Educational enrichment opportunities
After successful completion of the first-year, Fellows are encouraged to participate in established enrichment programs or create their own individualized experience. Some established programs include international study, short courses in Europe/Latin America, independent research, internships, professional conferences and entrepreneurial projects.

International Study Abroad Experience

Study abroad enriches the curriculum by providing students with rigorous, transformative immersion experiences. These experiences help students learn to solve complex world problems and thereby help them prepare to compete in a global marketplace. Fellows may choose from week-long faculty guided trips to semester-long study abroad experiences. Students return exhilarated and challenged, clearer about their own identity, their future aspirations and more curious about the world. 

 Independent Research

Research skills are critical in order to be competitive in graduate or professional school.  Fellows work with various faculty advisors to develop a senior research project. Examples include:

  • Effects of border security on undocumented migration
  • Barriers to democratic participation
  • Drastic increase in military suicide
  • Ways to involve historically marginalized communities in the electoral process through civic education programs
  • Initiatives and legislation related to LGBT issues
  • Domestic violence survivors access to mental health services in other countries


An internship experience moves a student from knowledge about theory to application and practice. Advisors will help Fellows secure opportunities that support educational and career goals. Examples include:

  • City Hall addressing community issues
  • A presidential re-election campaign
  • Non-profit organization
  • Nonprofit law firm that assists underserved populations
  • Illinois House of Representatives
  • Public Policy Department with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network in Washington, D.C.
  • Monsanto in overseas food production

Entrepreneurial Projects

A Stockdale Fellow with a big idea has the opportunity to turn an idea into a successful venture. Monmouth College will provide all the tools needed to start, advance, and grow the venture.  Mentoring, seed funding, professional advice and office space is provided. Examples include:

  • Create a non-profit organization, e.g. Ramp Less Traveled, a quickly growing nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting individuals with spinal cord injuries in the pursuit of higher education
  • Develop a blog that addresses a community wide issue, e.g. violence in Chicago
  • Patent an invention or an idea