Ambassadors for Civic Engagement - Apply Today

Unique opportunity to work on mis/disinformation

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. 

Two 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.

2021-2022 Community Partner: Pitt Disformation Lab (PDL)

The Institute of Politics, Elsie Hillman Civic Forum is recruiting its 2021-22 cohort of Ambassadors for Civic Engagement (ACE) Fellows. This year, we have partnered with the Pitt Disinformation Lab, part of the Pitt Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security

Project Deliverables 

  1. Assist in developing a community-facing web portal for Western PA residents to submit reports of mis/disinformation

Project Mentor

Beth Schwanke - Executive Director of Pitt Cyber

When is this fellowship offered?

It's offered every academic year, and in 2021-22, the fellowship will last from January 2022 through June 30, 2022.


  • Earn $15 per hour for 15 hours per week, Jan. 19, 2022 through June 30, 2022
  • 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 people with disabilities and communications and outreach

Program Commitments

  • Six-month program (Jan. - June)
  • 15 virtual hours per week doing project work
  • Team meetings with Elsie Forum staff to discuss the project and experiences
  • Weekly meetings with mentor
  • Create deliverable(s) to remain with community partner


Any full-time, graduate student pursuing any degree, and can commit the time from January 19 through June 30, 2022.

Qualifications for the 2021-22 Project

We're looking for applicants with expertise in one of the following areas:

  • web design and application development, and a willingness to engage in a design process with Fellow 2 and community members. This fellow will also have the ability to create a portal with strong privacy-preserving and security protections for input and storage. Knowledge of and experience with SQL is also required. Experience with UI design and testing is a plus.  
  • community-based engagement and will (1) solicit community discussion around the disinformation portal to assure a successful user interface (2) develop a communities-informed prototype response process(es) for the PDL around the community portal, including developing best practices and document templates for engaging with individual users, broader communities, and experts.


Application period for the 21-22 fellowship is currently open.  Please apply here:

Application Due Date: January 14

Application Requirements

  • 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?

Two 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