Ambassadors for Civic Engagement (ACE) Fellowship

Unique opportunity to work on issues related to homelessness in Southwestern PA

The Ambassadors for Civic Engagement (ACE) Fellowship provides an opportunity for graduate students to apply their education and skills to contribute to and improve the quality of life of people living in the Pittsburgh region through a long-term experiential fellowship with a community partner that works in public policy, governance, community organizing and activism, or philanthropy. 

Multiple diverse and highly competitive graduate-level ACE Fellows from a wide-range of backgrounds will work as a team with a community partner to address a specific organizational, policy, or community issue while increasing their social responsibility, heightening their understanding of human diversity, and learning from their peers.

2022-2023 Community Partner

The Institute of Politics, Elsie Hillman Civic Forum is recruiting its 2022-23 cohort of Ambassadors for Civic Engagement (ACE) Fellows. This year, we have partnered with the Homeless Children’s Education Fund (HCEF).

Project Deliverables 

  1. Investigate a critical issue affecting students experiencing homelessness in Southwestern PA
  2. Identify a potential policy solution around which to convene public officials
  3. Design and convene a legislative luncheon for key public officials who could play a role in enacting policy solutions

Project Mentor

Brian Knight - Manager of Community Engagement of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund

When is this fellowship offered?

It’s offered every academic year, and in 2022-23, the fellowship will begin November 7, 2022, through May 31, 2023


  • Earn $15 per hour for 15 hours per week (November 2022- May 2023)
  • Work with and learn from an interdisciplinary team of peers
  • Connect with and be mentored by community leaders
  • Gain Skills and experience in policy issues affecting students experiencing homelessness and communications and outreach

Program Commitments

  • 7-month program (November - May)
  • 15 hours per week doing project work
  • Team meetings with Elsie Forum staff to discuss the project and experiences
  • Weekly meetings with mentor from partnering organization
  • Co-create deliverables with the community partner


Any full-time, graduate student pursuing any degree, and can commit to the timeframe of November through May 2023

Qualifications for the 2022-23 Project

The successful candidate should possess the following:

  • Some research experience: familiarity with mixed research methods preferred
  • Interest in community engagement
  • Effective communication skills, both written and oral
  • Event coordination and marketing
  • Must adhere to policies within the IOP and the University of Pittsburgh


The application window for the 2022-2023 fellowship is currently open.  Please apply here:

Application Due Date: October 14, 2022

Application Requirements

  • Students apply online via Talent Center, and participation is awarded on a competitive basis
  • Students must upload a current resume
  • In the "writing sample" slot of the talent center application, please upload a 2-page maximum, double-spaced essay that addresses the following:
    • Explain how you believe you can contribute to the National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support and their project.
    • Identify your skills and experience as related to the defined qualifications for this project
    • Why are you passionate about this project?
    • What do you hope to gain by participating in this fellowship?
    • What are your post-graduation plans? 
  • In the "other" slot of the talent center application, please upload your unofficial transcript.

Selection Process

This program follows a two-staged review process. First, a committee will review each applicant's written materials and will recommend applicants for an interview. Second, those recommended for an interview are contacted to schedule face-to-face interviews with the committee. After the interviews, the committee deliberates and selects the finalists. The program has two available positions this year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I be doing if I am selected as an Elsie ACE?

Graduate students will work as a team with a 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. The activities while on site will depend heavily on the selected community partner.

Past ACE Placements