Elsie Hillman Civic Forum

Ambassadors for Civic Engagement

The Ambassadors for Civic Engagement Program (Elsie ACEs) provides an opportunity for students to apply their classroom education in the community through a robust long-term experiential internship that will address a critical community and policy issue with a focus on affecting positive community outcomes. Through the course of this program, students will increase their understanding of social issues, strengthen their social responsibility, heighten their understanding of human diversity and learn from students representing myriad disciplines all while responding to the challenges of our communities. 

Who may apply for this fellowship?

The Elsie ACE program is a competitive program that is open to all full-time, graduate students on the Oakland campus. Effort will be made to recruit applicants with diverse backgrounds in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic class. 

How do I apply?

Students apply online and participation is awarded on a competitive basis. Application requirements include: unofficial transcript, resume, and essay on your civic engagement interest. Students may also provide an optional letter of reference that speaks to their interest or previous work in the community or academic progress. Letters can be uploaded directly to the application or sent to Meredith Mavero at mlm72@pitt.edu.

What should be included in the civic engagement essay?

Your essay should include an introduction to the topic by providing the reader with a background on this issue and where you think more work is needed. Please elaborate on WHY you are passionate about this area of interest and how you would like to see yourself grow in making a difference. Lastly, the essay should convey WHY topic is important to our local or national community. Please let us know of any past work in this area, including faculty mentors or community organizations that were part of that work. We want to know what is in your head and your heart! 

Do Elsie ACEs receive financial support?

Selected students will receive hourly compensation in support of their time and effort committed to this training program. Students will receive approximately $13 per hour OR approved training fellowship through a University of Pittsburgh graduate program, from May through April.

What will I be doing if I am selected as an Elsie ACEs and what is the time commitment?

Three-five diverse and competitively selected graduate-level Elsie Ambassadors from a wide range of backgrounds and experience will work as a team with a strategic community partner to address a specific organizational, policy or community issue.  The Elsie Forum will work closely with the selected community agency to outline the mentoring responsibilities of the host organization, define student responsibilities and time commitment for the project, and identify the training goals and evaluation process to assess attainment of the goals.

Once a week, the Elsie ACEs will attend a campus training or an individual mentoring session intended to compliment internship activities.  The weekly sessions will focus on leadership development, project management exercises, and guided discussion and special presentations on related topics. 

The Elsie ACE program follows a structured project development and implementation timeline (roadmap). The Elsie Hillman Civic Forum is committed to supporting the student both environmentally and academically so that they will be successful in producing outcomes that inform policy while increasing the community partner’s capacity to do it's work within the Pittsburgh region.

It is expected that the student will commit 13-17 hours per week to the Elsie ACEs program. This commitment includes seminars, meetings with mentor, project development, and scholarship. 

What is the focus area of the projects and/or research the student will be required to develop?

There are a broad variety of projects and/or action the student may develop in response to the community organizational need and priorities. This is a collaborative process with site mentors and is an organic process that evolves over the first term. 

The Elsie Hillman Civic Forum supports projects in the following areas: If your area of interest is not represented please email us.

  • Income Inequity
  • Health Disparities
  • Food Insecurity
  • Transportation
  • Equity in Education
  • Immigration Reform
  • Housing
  • Job Training Programs Vs. College Education
  • Access to Quality Healthcare
  • Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights
  • LGBT Rights
  • Collaborative Leadership
  • Race and Politics
  • Policy Issues Affecting People with Disabilities
  • Environment