Summer Institute of Politics

Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy

"Politics" is how every society resolves its biggest questions. Maybe that's not the lesson we thought we learned in school or saw on social media, and maybe American politics in 2024 deserves some of the cynicism the term engenders.

But What If…

What if there was another approach to politics, rooted in the conviction that a healthy political process is central to a democracy’s ability to resolve complex issues peacefully?

What if there is an approach to public service predicated on serving others?

What if there are still idealists who want to get some things done?

Spend a week this summer on Salve Regina University's distinctive coastal campus in Newport, Rhode Island, and learn more about politics and yourself.

About the Program

Summer Institute of Politics

The Summer Institute of Politics at Salve Regina's Pell Center is a weeklong residential program that offers promising high school students the opportunity to grapple with the great challenges facing the United States, the international community, and even your hometown. Along the way, you will learn more about yourself, develop your own style of personal leadership and get a flavor for what it means to live and study on a college campus.

Sunday, July 14 to Saturday, July 20, 2024

We're going to work hard and take some time to enjoy Newport too. We will:

  • Explore the contours of the American political system.
  • Develop an understanding of interest groups.
  • Unpack political polarization.
  • Consider what the politics of inclusion really means.
  • Grapple with wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.
  • Discuss the role of the press in a democracy and the challenge of disinformation.
  • Examine major policy issues like immigration, climate change, police reform and more.

You'll hear from experts and faculty drawn from Salve Regina, elected officials, people who have run campaigns and others whose insights you will carry back home. There will even be group excursions to take advantage of all that Newport has to offer in the summer.

Over the course of the week, we're going to ask you to develop your own policy idea. We'll give you time to research, access to the resources in the Salve Regina library and an opportunity to present your proposals as part of a "policy shark tank." We'll even go so far as to name the best policy proposal of the week – bragging rights you can take with you back to school and off to college.

Finally, you're going to learn something about yourself. You're going to grow as a leader. You're going to develop skills and analytical frameworks that help you understand yourself and the world around you.


You are eligible to participate in this program if you are preparing for your junior or senior year of high school. There are no prerequisite course requirements, but it is expected that if you are applying for this program, you have a strong interest in American politics, domestic or international policies and personal development.


The $2,800 program fee includes three meals a day, snacks, shared housing (double occupancy) in a Salve Regina residence hall, excursion fees, and access to University facilities. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from campus at the start and conclusion of the program.

All applicants will be considered for financial aid.

How to Apply

Required materials:

  • Online application
  • Essay (500 words max): "What policy challenge matters most to you and what role does politics play in its solution?"
  • Letter of recommendation from a recent teacher

Apply Online

Application deadline: May 3, 2024
Decisions released: May 17, 2024

Contact Us

The Summer Institute of Politics at the Pell Center
Salve Regina University
100 Ochre Point Ave.
Newport, RI 02840
(401) 341-2927

Salve Regina University

Summer Institute of Politics

From our cornerstone mercy mission to the classic ideals of our liberal arts approach, tradition matters at Salve Regina. It's woven throughout our 80-acre campus, embedded in our historic buildings and infused in the culture of Newport, Rhode Island.

Tradition at Salve Regina means we remember where we began. Since our founding by the Sisters of Mercy in 1934, we have grown to a community of more than 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students who proudly carry forward our mission in their personal and professional lives. Fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, we are committed to fueling the imagination and encouraging the academic ambitions of our bright and curious students.

At Salve Regina, tradition blends seamlessly with progress. We empower students to explore their talents through diverse academic offerings, student organizations, service initiatives and athletic teams. Our collaborative learning environment and vibrant campus community inspire the pursuit of excellence and breach the limits of personal potential.

Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy

Summer Institute of Politics

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas. Dedicated to honoring Sen. Claiborne Pell's legacy, the Pell Center promotes American engagement in the world, effective government at home and civic participation by all Americans.

Our programs are designed to generate new ideas, to expand public understanding of important issues and, ultimately, to help the public and its leaders make better decisions. Working with students and faculty, we don't just study the world, we try to change it.

The Pell Center is animated by Sen. Claiborne Pell's belief that politics is about translating ideas into action to help people. We work to supplement the education available to Salve Regina students by fostering civic participation to make the world a better place.