The Hoover Institution’s National Security Affairs mentorship program pairs selected students with one of ten distinguished diplomats, military officers, and intelligence professionals who come to Hoover each year as part of the Robert and Marion Oster National Security Affairs Fellowship (NSAF) Program. NSAFs go on to serve in the highest levels of government. 

As part of the mentorship program, there will be 1-2 hours per week of class time. Some weeks, that time will be spent with the full group for a seminar session led by the NSAFs on topics ranging from deployment and family life to the structure of the U.S. national security apparatus. Other weeks, you’ll meet in small mentor groups (which consists of one fellow and 3-4 students) for lunch or other activities. Each quarter, we will also invite students and their mentors to attend special events with senior U.S. policymakers. Past speakers have included Gen. H.R. McMaster, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary Jim Mattis.  We also ask that students invite their mentor to a student activity – a club, a sporting event, a dorm lunch, or anything that connects them with other Stanford students. Some NSAFs have conducted hackathons with students. Others have guest lectured in classes, helped design alternative spring break trips to military installations to explore civil-military relations, or invited students to their homes for dinner. The goal is to build meaningful bridges and share perspectives – having Stanford students learn what it’s like for these Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, State Department, CIA, and FBI officers to operate on the front lines of American foreign policy and having the NSAFs, in turn, gain a deeper understanding of undergraduate life on campus.

No expertise in international affairs is necessary to applyAll majors are welcome. Selection is based on academic excellence, extracurricular leadership, and interest in international affairs. Priority is given to applicants who plan to be in residence for the entire academic year and those who have no prior or current exposure to the military or diplomatic corps. We are looking for students who have wide-ranging curiosity. NSAFs often find the mentorship program to be one the most meaningful parts of their Hoover year. Students often say it’s the most inspiring thing they do at Stanford, connecting them not only to these real-world leaders but to a new student community at Stanford.

Admitted students will enroll in Public Policy 100 (for one unit of credit) each quarter in 2024-25. In addition to attending events, students are required to write a 1-2 page quarterly reflection paper about their experience.

The program is directed by Dr. Amy Zegart. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to by August  30, 2024.

Want to know more? Check out our video or this article in the Stanford Daily.








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