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Engelhardt Social Justice Fellows

The Center for Engaged Academic Learning and the Engelhardt Family Foundation support undergraduate U-M students who propose and collaborate on projects with organizational partners that focus on social justice, serve under-resourced communities, and are located within an hour of Ann Arbor. Students are awarded the Engelhardt Social Justice Fellowship for eight weeks, during which they continue working at their partner organizations, and receive training and support from CEAL to strengthen their leadership, research, and interpersonal skills.

Applications Due 4/10/2017: Apply Here.

The Center for Engaged Academic Learning, with support from the Engelhardt Family Fund, invites you to join us as we work toward social justice across southeast Michigan.  Community-based organizations and University of Michigan students benefit from partnering with one another through community-based learning courses, internships, and volunteer opportunities.  Often, the work on a project or initiative takes longer than a semester to complete.  The Engelhardt Fellowship offers an opportunity for students and organizations to continue their work together during this 8-week internship.

This year the Engelhardt Social Justice Fellowship will support six undergraduate students who will propose projects with organizations that they identify as partners.  The organizations should have a social justice focus, work with under-resourced communities, and be located within an hour of Ann Arbor.  Students can propose projects that center around capacity-building, direct service, or the implementation of a new or pilot initiative with an organization where they have existing relationships.  The fellowship is comprised of 1) an internship based on a well-developed workplan 2) continual and critical reflection activities and  3) professional development workshops.

Fellows will help further the social justice work that their partner organizations strive to achieve while they strengthen their leadership, research, and interpersonal skills.  Through the internship experience, trainings, and reflection, Fellows will gain crucial transferrable skills including: the ability to work as part of a team, grapple with complexity, innovate, and prioritize projects.  The Fellowship experience will take place from May 1 to June 30 with a training component at the beginning.  Engelhardt Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,000.  Applicants in need of additional financial assistance are encouraged to apply for the LSA Internship Scholarship, which provides up to $5,000 to LSA students with demonstrated financial need. Applications for the LSA Internship open at the beginning Winter semester, close in the Spring semester and are considered on a semi-rolling basis.

Eligible Students Must:

❏      Be an undergraduate enrolled in good academic standing in a degree program in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.   

❏      Have participated in at least one community-centered experience (a community-based learning course or program, a robust volunteer experience, a GIEU course or community-centered internship, etc.)

❏      Work with a community organization in southeast Michigan to co-create the project proposal.

❏      Have a strong commitment to social justice issues.

❏      Be available for full duration of Fellowship.

The Work

Engelhardt Fellows will receive funding to work with community organizations four days a week.  Fellows will meet once a week as a cohort to attend trainings, academic sessions, and to collaboratively reflect on their experiences.  Guided by the principle of bi-directional learning, CEAL-led sessions will focus on the expertise of community partners, place-based research methods, the ethics of community-centered collaborations and the principles and practice of critical reflection.  Interns will also explore differences and commonalities in each organization’s approach to social justice.

Deadline:  Applications must be received by 3:00 pm on February 17.  Apply using this link or visit the CEAL Website: We are hosting two information sessions to provide application support on Friday, February 3 from 3:30-4:30 pm and Tuesday, February 7 from 9-10 am in East Quad 1807.

2016 Engelhardt Fellows:

The Center for Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL), with funding from the Engelhardt Family, supports U-M undergraduate students who propose projects co-designed with organizational partners that focus on social justice, serve under-resourced communities. Students are awarded the Engelhardt Social Justice Fellowship for eight weeks, during which they continue working at their partner organizations and receive training and support from CEAL to develop their personal and professional goals and deepen their civic impact.

This spring, the Engelhardt Social Justice Fellowship supported six undergraduate students: Xochitl Calix-Ulloa, Anne Canavati, Benjamin Greenberg, Allison Lang, Melissa Shiner, and Cassandra Van Dam. Read on to learn more about their Engelhardt Fellowship experience.

Xochitl Calix-Ulloa graduated this spring with degrees in History and Social Sciences and a minor in Spanish. She has tutored since high school for the Young People’s Project (YPP), an organization that trains high school and college students as math literacy workers (MLWs) to teach elementary-school children at afterschool programs and summer camps. MLWs “improve academic outcomes” and “act to remove institutional and systemic barriers” to their and others’ success. Xochitl used the fellowship to begin preparing for a sustainable, initial, “academic-enrichment” module for the summer of 2017.

Xochitl found CEAL’s workshop on asset-mapping especially valuable in the process of identifying her starting point, community partners to approach, and the right questions to pursue. Additionally, CEAL’s professional development taught her the importance of a clear vision and objectives, and of good skills in dialogue and facilitation.

Anne Canavati majored in International Studies with a focus on Security and Norms, Arabic Language, and Middle Eastern and North African Studies. She also pursued minors in Business Administration and the Program in the Environment. The Engelhardt Fellowship gave Anne two more months to continue her “civic duty” and volunteer as a legal assistant at MIRC, the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. During this time, Anne helped thirty low-income clients, victims of crimes of domestic violence, apply for immigration relief. Moreover, she gave two community presentations, and planned and implemented a naturalization workshop in Grand Rapids. “Immigration makes this country amazing and diverse,” declares Anne. The professional and personal development from CEAL equipped her with tools, skills, and lessons valuable to a new graduate. The self-care workshop was her favorite, since, Anne points out, taking care of oneself in the legal field of social justice and public interest is “critically important.”

Ben Greenberg received his major degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and minor degree in Music. Driven by a vision to help low-resource communities as well as a passion for music, Ben’s UM student-run organization, Seven Mile Music, collaborated this summer with Mission:City community center to run an eight-week music camp in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit. In its second year, the camp hosts eighty youth who take lessons, play music, and develop relationships with teacher-mentors.

Ben recommends the Engelhardt Fellowship to other students because it supports time and effort to “passion projects” during the summer months. The experience of the fellowship highlighted the significance of “self-advocacy”; Ben learned to “step up,” proactively seeking answers to questions from very busy community members. Ben had worried about his outsider status, but CEAL’s strength-finder workshop helped emphasize his contributions to the camp, the neighborhood community and to Mission:City. Thanks to the Engelhardt Fellowship, the kids are “reaping the benefits” of Ben’s efforts and he “did exactly what I wanted to do this summer.”  

Allison Lang, a junior in Fall 2016, is pursuing a B.A. in International Studies, Political Science, and Spanish. Allison’s social-justice project combined equal access to education and help for immigrant and refugee populations in Washtenaw County. As Engelhardt Fellow, Allison tutored math to ESL students in May and June at Ann Arbor’s Scarlett Middle School. She loved going to the school regularly and found students’ enthusiastic welcomes very “rewarding.” Through the almost-daily exposure she realized that many students’ basic learning needs were neither identified nor addressed, and so she designed an interface to inform tutors of students’ individual learning needs, track students’ progress, and provide resources for tutoring sessions. “Continuity,” says Allison, “is particularly valuable to students whose lives have been transient.”  CEAL’s training, thanks to the fellowship, expanded the framework and lens she brought to understanding immigrant communities at the school. One workshop, for instance, helped her appreciate her middle-school students’ bilingualism as an example of cultural capital rather than viewing their developing English skills as a barrier to learning.

Melissa Shiner

Melissa Shiner is pursuing a B.A in Psychology and a minor in Entrepreneurship. This spring she was the volunteer coordinator at the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) in Detroit, about whose community and future she feels “quite passionate.” As volunteer coordinator, Melissa scheduled and ran volunteer groups, held intern orientations, formed trusting relationships with the interns at the farm, and instituted systemic protocols to facilitate the president’s job. After eight weeks of work at MUFI, Melissa is “much more cognizant of the wrongs of the world and the disadvantages our system has thrust upon the innocent.” With this knowledge, Melissa was able to check her biases and shift her perspectives. Melissa has learned to adjust expectations and to enter situations “open-minded and ready to learn.” CEAL staff mentored her throughout the work, teaching her the value of clear communication, reflection and of setting goals. With the help of the Engelhardt Fellowship, Melissa has been able to gather knowledge and insight necessary to initiate social change. She would like to thank the Engelhardt Family for this valuable and enriching experience. 

Cassandra Van Dam received her B.A. in Women’s Studies with a double minor in Community Action Social Change, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Cassandra spent her fellowship at Ann Arbor’s Neutral Zone, a youth-driven teen center promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas. In the fellowship she learned to identify her personal strengths and areas of growth, and to examine her own assumptions and privilege. CEAL’s staff helped Cassandra to compile resources to facilitate important discussion amongst Neutral Zone’s staff. She also trained Neutral Zone’s staff about gender-pronoun sensitivity and about interventions for drug and alcohol abuse. Cassandra is grateful to the Engelhardt Family Fund for her meaningful hands-on experience at a nonprofit organization working for social justice.


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