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. This year, the program is pleased to extend the Guest Scholarship to an individual interested in attending the Roundtable on Artificial Intelligence. 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 conferences are:

Aspen Institute Roundtable on Artificial Intelligence, August 6-8, 2017 

Aspen Institute Conference on Communications Policy, August 13-16, 2017 


Eric Karikari

Eric Karikari
Communications Policy

J. Nathan Matias

J. Nathan Matias
Artificial Intelligence

Joy Buolamwini

Joy Buolamwini
Artificial Intelligence


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.


  • You can apply only for the Conference on Communications Policy OR the Roundtable on Artificial Intelligence, not both.
  • 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, 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 2017 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.

Additional requirements for the 2017 Roundtable on Artificial Intelligence 

  • The student should have a clearly defined interest in engineering or computer science as evidenced by published papers, a major research project, or dissertation on the conference topic. Specific interests in machine learning, data science, natural language processing, neural networks, cognitive computing and semantic technologies are welcomed.
  • The student must also demonstrate an interest in the impact of technology on social issues. Candidates with experience in technology policy are highly encouraged to apply.


Application Closed


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

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