Guest Scholar Program

The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Guest Scholar Program is a scholarship initiative meant to give students of color the opportunity to foster their professional and academic career in the field of media and technology policy. The program first began in 2001. Each year doctoral (or other advanced graduate program) students of color are invited to apply for a Guest Scholarship to attend the Annual Aspen Institute Conference on Communications Policy that takes place at the Aspen Meadows Conference Center in Aspen, Colorado. As a Guest Scholar, students are full participants in roundtable discussions. Scholars have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of competing tensions on important technology issues and get the opportunity to gain a network of professional colleagues.  Dates of the conference are:

Aspen Institute Conference on Communications Policy, August 12-15, 2018 

Advances in information communication technologies are providing greater penetration, new services and connectivity to the world. Yet, the needs of communities and consumers are increasing. There is a blurring of lines among technologies and jurisdictions in the deployment of communications infrastructure, including wireline, wireless and cable, and the digital platforms and services offered to consumers.

Many state and local governments have taken steps to facilitate local access to this broad array of offerings by removing barriers and developing partnerships. However, federal, state and local governments still face conflicts on what entity should regulate the deployment and management of these converged digital technologies and in what ways.

The Conference will aim to develop an understanding of the appropriate regulatory structure to incentivize the deployment of communications infrastructure to unserved areas, and ways to promote competition and protect consumers on the internet.  Conferees will recommend policies to promote consumer trust and strategies to accelerate the public use and safe enjoyment of communications technologies, infrastructure and services.


The Guest Scholar’s travel and accommodations will be paid for by the Communications and Society Program. Scholars will attend all conference sessions as a full participant in the discussion. She or he will be expected to read the pre-conference materials provided. The scholar will also be asked to write a blog for the Communications and Society Program on a topic of interest after the Conference.


  • The Guest Scholar should be a U.S. resident and a minority student, based on the definition of minority created by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, or Alaskan Native.
  • Currently enrolled in a Ph.D. or other advanced graduate program at an accredited college or university; and have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (un-weighted).
  • Applicants must provide a statement of interest.
  • Applicants must provide one reference (name, title, phone number, and email).
  • Applicants must provide an unofficial copy of transcripts from currently enrolled university.
  • Applicants must commit to attending the entire conference.

Additional requirements for the 2018 Conference on Communications Policy 

  • The student should have a clearly defined interest in communications policy as evidenced by published papers, a major research project, or dissertation on the conference topic.


    Application Closed. 


    If you have any questions, please contact Dominique Harrison by email at

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