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Summer Institute on the Constitution

Summer Institute 2024: The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation Summer Institute will be held in the Washington, D.C. area from June 15-July 12, 2024. Details are forthcoming and will be posted on social media and the Foundation website.

Learn and Experience in Washington, D.C.

As part of the James Madison Fellowship program, each Fellow is required to attend the four-week Summer Institute on the Constitution held in June-July in Washington, D.C. All Fellows must live on campus for the duration of the Summer Institute. Fellows may only attend the Institute after they have matriculated in an approved graduate program and commenced coursework.

The Summer Institute is a graduate course entitled, "The Foundations of American Constitutionalism." Taught by constitutional scholars, this course is a study of the principles, framing, ratification, and implementation of constitutional government in the United States.

One of the classroom buildings used by students at the Summer Institute

One of the classroom buildings used by students at the Summer Institute

Discussion group

A discussion group being held in between classroom lectures.

The Summer Institute includes mandatory site visits to places associated with the Constitution, in and around Washington, D.C. These sites include Mount Vernon, Independence Hall, the Museum of the American Revolution, the National Constitution Center, the Library of Congress, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, Arlington Cemetery, and others. Participants frequently have a private meeting with a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

James Madison Fellows at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

James Madison Fellows at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One of the benefits of having a residential summer program is the opportunity James Madison Fellows will have for interaction with a wide range of individuals whose varied interests can lead to enduring friendships and professional associations. By attending the Summer Institute in Washington, D.C., Fellows will enlarge their academic and professional networks.

Expenses for the Summer Institute are paid for out of the $24,000 fellowship.

James Madison Fellows listen to Pulitzer Prize Winning author, Dr. David W. Blight

James Madison Fellows listen to Pulitzer Prize Winning author, Dr. David W. Blight.


Current Summer Institute Professors

Dr. Kevin Hardwick, Dr. Terri Halperin, Dr. Guy F. Burnett, Dr. Jeffry Morrison, Dr. Daniel Dreisbach, Dr. Abbylin Sellers at the 2023 Summer Institute on the Constitution

Left to right: Dr. Kevin Hardwick, Dr. Terri Halperin, Dr. Guy F. Burnett, Dr. Jeffry Morrison, Dr. Daniel Dreisbach, Dr. Abbylin Sellers at the 2023 Summer Institute on the Constitution.


Past Summer Institute Faculty

  • James Banner (1993–1995), Independent Scholar
  • Lance Banning (1993), University of Kentucky
  • Herman Belz (1996–2012), University of Maryland
  • Roger Brown (1993–1995), American University
  • Susan Hansen (2008), University of Dallas
  • Jerome Hanus (1998–2001), American University
  • Suzette Hemberger (2001–2007), Johns Hopkins University
  • Gordon Lloyd (2013), Pepperdine University
  • Marion Nelson (2009–2014), Virginia Commonwealth University
  • R. Kent Newmyer (1993), University of Connecticut Law School
  • Whitman Ridgway (1996–2001), University of Maryland
  • Sandra Van Burkleo (1993), Wayne State University
  • Rosemarie Zagarri (1994–2000), George Mason University
James Madison Fellows attend a lecture by Dr. Abbylin Sellers in the main classroom building auditorium

James Madison Fellows attend a lecture by Dr. Abbylin Sellers in the main classroom building auditorium.

Jon Resendez

Jon Resendez

California Fellow

Jon earned an MA in Political Science at California State University-Fullerton. He teaches at Irvine High School in Irvine, CA.

“Receiving the James Madison Memorial Fellowship gave me the confidence to take greater intellectual and pedagogical risks in every aspect of my professional life. The risk-taking helped me to become a curricular leader in my school district and broadened my view of what my students are capable of achieving. The Fellowship facilitated my development as a divergent thinker in education and instilled in me a depth of knowledge which heightens my credibility with colleagues and students. The Foundation connected me with some of the best civic educators in the nation—a powerful network serving my instructional needs while holding me to the highest academic standards.”

Sara Ziemnik

Sara Ziemnik

Ohio Fellow

Sara earned an MA in History at Cleveland State University. She teaches at Rocky River High School in Rocky River, OH. She is the 2017 Gilder Lehrman National Teacher of the Year.

“The James Madison Fellowship opened doors in my career that I never even dreamed of as an undergraduate. The Summer Institute at Georgetown was an opportunity that can’t be matched: studying the Constitution with renowned scholars, meeting a Supreme Court Justice and members of Congress, and experiencing the rich history of the capital were unforgettable. The friendships and professional connections I’ve made and nurtured through my Madison Fellowship are just as phenomenal, and my Fellowship has opened doors to me through professional conferences and seminars. The James Madison Foundation will elevate your scholarship and career to a level that will invigorate your teaching and learning for years to come.”

Thomas Ng

Thomas Ng

New Jersey Fellow

Being a Madison Fellow has been the most meaningful professional development experience of my career. Reflecting on the experience, I can see the impact the Summer Institute has had on my pedagogy, my understanding of our government, and my efforts to leverage professional communities of educators. I still keep in touch with other Madison Fellows as we continue to improve and refine our instructional practices.