Furman Public Policy Scholarship

The Furman Public Policy Scholarship Program is an innovative, challenging and experience-based program designed to train and support selected top students who are interested in pursuing careers in the public policy sector. It gathers in one program the already top-notch policy resources of NYU Law and builds on these with new, significant policy-oriented opportunities. Furman Public Policy Scholars are provided full-tuition scholarships for three years of Law School study leading to the JD degree. The four pillars of the program are substantive competency, experiential learning, values, and mentorship.

Key Features of the Program 

  • 1L summer: Furman Public Policy Scholars will have Law School-funded public policy internships. 
  • Special 2L seminar: The second year features a seminar designed to teach students how to think and write like policy makers. The seminar will expose students to diverse viewpoints in public policy and explore decision making in Congress and the executive branch, under the leadership of both political parties. It will include, for each student, an individual partnership with an outside policy institution. This work may build on the 1L internship placement or be an opportunity to forge a new institutional relationship.
  • 3L semester in DC: All Furman Public Policy Scholars have the opportunity to spend a semester of their third year in Washington, DC, either in NYU Law's new Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic, co-taught by Robert Bauer and Sally Katzen, or in another governmental capacity. For certain students, the 3L semester may be an opportunity to work on a political campaign or initiative, with faculty supervision.
  • Students are also guaranteed placement in the Guarini Seminara 3L professional responsibility course centered on public policy lawyering, with structured reflection on questions of integrity and ethics in public service. Students will have the opportunity to meet public interest leaders willing to speak candidly about ethical dilemmas they have faced over the course of their careers.
  • All scholars are required to complete at least two different public policy engagements during their time at NYU (at the local, national, or international level, and in the executive or legislative branch).

Focus on Advising

The program emphasizes individualized academic planning and advising. Each scholar works closely with a faculty adviser in his or her specific policy field. These advisers review and approve the scholars' academic plans, and assist scholars with their internship plans.

Career Advancement and Mentorship

Faculty and administration work closely with students to secure placements for their 1L and 2L summers, giving students the opportunity to engage in public policy issues at local, state, national, and international levels. Students also receive support in securing their post-graduate career placement, and each scholar is paired with a public policy alumnus for a formal mentorship.

Criteria for Selection

  • Academic excellence;
  • Commitment to public policy work (shown through campus activism, related internships, relevant research or thesis topics, and through the required application essay);
  • Demonstrated leadership ability;
  • Diversity of public policy interests and background experience and knowledge.

Application Instructions

Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, the NYU School of Law will choose at least two Furman Public Policy Scholarships each year from qualifying entering first year students. An additional Scholar or Scholars may be selected at the end of the 1L year.

Applicants for the Furman Public Policy Scholarship are required to submit an additional essay (no more than 500 words) with the JD application. The essay should explain why they wish to pursue a career in public policy.


Class of 2017 Scholars

Elizabeth Organ is committed to work on financial regulation and enforcement.  She comes with the highest praise from her current job working as a research analyst at the Dallas Fed, where she has co-authored articles with the President and research director and focused on their "Too Big to Fail" policies. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Texas, Liz earned her B.A. in economics.


Riane Harper arrives with an already extensive background in international affairs.  She currently heads a team of Foreign Service officers implementing U.S. sanctions policy against Iran, and her experience includes direct negotiations with the Iranians on the interaction between U.S. sanctions policy and the Iranian nuclear program.  Before that, Riane worked on polling in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova for the State Department, and her findings fed directly into the US review of its approach to Afghanistan in 2010--with her analysis included in briefings for senior leadership and the President. All of this is amazing for someone so young.  Riane is a 2009 graduate of Vassar College, with a B.A. in history.   


Hillary Smith '17 worked as a nonpartisan policy and fiscal analyst for the Colorado State Legislature, where she primarily focused on criminal justice issues. She conducted long-term research projects on sentencing, parole and corrections policies, the juvenile justice system, and the legalization and regulation of marijuana. Hillary spent her 1L summer at the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, a new office within the Department of Investigation that oversees the policies and practices of the NYPD. At NYU,Hillary is a Student Fellow at the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law and is a Staff Editor of the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. Hillary is a 2007 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. in English.


Grace Leeper is interested in the intersection between criminal justice policy and economic opportunity.  She graduated with distinction from Duke University, earning a BA in Public Policy and a certificate in documentary studies.  Prior to law school, Grace worked at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a DC think tank focused on budget and tax issues that affect low-income families and individuals.  After her 1L year, Grace worked as an intern at the New York Legal Assistance Group, working with their Special Litigation Unit on class action lawsuits to ensure access to public benefits for low-income New Yorkers.  At NYU, Grace is Co-President of the NYU Law Democrats, has worked with Professor Stephen Schulhofer as a research assistant on issues related to broken windows policing, is currently a staff editor for the NYU Law Review, and will be participating this year in Professor Barry Friedman's Policing Project.                                                              

Class of 2018 Scholars

Pablo Rojas   '18 most recently served as a member of Senator Bob Casey's legislative staff, where he worked on trade, financial services and tax policy. He previously worked in the investment banking division of Rabobank. Pablo has also worked on urban renewal projects for the city government of Medellin, Colombia, and conducted research on U.S.-Latin American relations for the Brookings Institution.   Pablo is a 2011 graduate of Brown University, with a B.A. in Political Science and Economics. 


Nick Krafft  spent 5 years at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he helped build the first-ever Federal supervision program for nonbank consumer finance companies. He continued as a policy analyst in the Division of Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending, where he led the development of the Division’s strategic plan, budget, and internal policies, in addition to writing speeches for the Bureau’s Deputy Director. Nick is a 2009 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA in economics.