The Civic Scholars Program provides a rigorous, in-depth curriculum for undergraduate students who exemplify future potential for civic leadership. Sophomores are selected in a competitive merit-based process and learn together through their junior and senior years. The program includes intensive coursework, leadership training, and mentorship to prepare Scholars for a life dedicated to civic and community engagement, and a scholarship of $5,000 to support a substantial civic project or internship.

Civic Scholars engage in substantive academic instruction, leadership development, skill building, and group discussion designed to support the development of their civic projects and civic vision. They also develop networking and professional skills that will prepare them for significant future civic leadership in a wide range of professions.

In the video below, Class of 2018 Civic Scholars reflect on their experiences in the classroom, St. Louis community, and beyond.

Program Details

The Gephardt Institute seeks a broad range of applicants from all backgrounds, perspectives, and schools who have varied knowledge and experience levels in civic engagement. Through this program, Scholars will:

  • Engage in substantive academic instruction, leadership development, skill building, and group discussion designed to support the development of their civic projects and civic vision. Courses throughout junior and senior years (2 hours, 2 credits each semester of junior year; 1 hour, 1 credit each semester of senior year) will include readings, guest speakers, excursions, and class discussion.
  • Network with and be mentored by prominent civic leaders in the St. Louis community and the course instructors. Scholars will also mentor the incoming cohort each year.
  • Participate in an annual retreat designed to fortify their cohort and launch them on a path of civic leadership.
  • Immerse themselves in St. Louis and Washington D.C. during organized Fall Break trips, to learn about local neighborhoods, public policy, and civic efforts to engage citizens.
  • Receive a $5,000 scholarship to be used the summer between junior and senior years for a substantial civic project of their choice, developed in consultation with their mentors. This may include an unpaid nonprofit internship, social entrepreneurship project, international service experience, or engaged research.

Civic Scholar Cohorts

Class of 2020

Harkirat Anand is majoring in economics and mathematics with a concentration in statistics. His project seeks to identify a relationship between demographic characteristics of Sikh American communities and their political and religious ideologies.

Carson Borbely is majoring in anthropology: global health & the environment and minoring in writing. Her project will center on children’s advocacy, immigration, and healthcare.

Kirk Brown is majoring in political science and African & African American studies. He hopes to give job training to prisoners and shape policy to demilitarize police.

Luka Cai is majoring in political science and minoring in sociology and legal studies. Their project is to establish a St. Louis-specific LGBTQ+ counseling helpline, modeled after the Trevor Project Lifeline.

Maria Cortez-Lopez is majoring in Latin American studies and Spanish. She will focus on the effects of intergenerational disparity in English proficiency among the Latinx population in St. Louis, MO.

Molly Davis is majoring in English and Spanish with a minor in psychology. Her project will focus on the socio-emotional wellbeing of older adults and their caregivers.

Ruth Durrell is majoring in educational studies and sociology. She hopes to help improve the educational experience of low income and minority students by making sure they have diverse teachers that reflect their identities.

Jose Figueroa is majoring in anthropology: global health & the environment. His project is to create a lay first responder system in Guatemala and provide trained citizens with refillable first aid kits so they are equipped to handle local emergencies.

Gabriela Hall is majoring in system science & engineering. They will focus on creating bridges between the scientific community, policy makers, and the general public, or on improving the immigration screening process.

Lauren Hucko is majoring in anthropology: global health & the environment and Spanish with a minor in medical humanities. She plans to collaborate with Uganda Development and Health Associates to augment comprehensive sexual education programming in schools.

Gabrielle Jung is majoring in American culture studies and minoring in writing. She will be studying the values, personal narratives, and community activism of Korean/ Korean-American immigrants in Queens, NY.

Grace Kavinsky is majoring in classics and minoring in African & African American studies and art history. She seeks to engage in reproductive justice advocacy for women who are incarcerated. 

Rachel Kleinhandler is majoring in American culture studies and minoring in the business of social impact. She hopes to address mental illness and the related stigma to encourage greater awareness.

Sherece Laine is majoring in African & African American studies and minoring in anthropology: global health & the environment. She plans to explore the disparities in health and healthcare due to inequity in access for low income, minority communities.

Gabriela Pantoja is majoring in Latin American studies and anthropology. For her project, she seeks to use Latinx studies as a way to reduce recidivism among teens in her Chicago, IL neighborhood.

Noah Ford Rennert is majoring in chemical engineering. He plans to travel to and learn about seminal energy production regions in the United States to help deploy more renewable energy.

Ishaan Shah is majoring in biology and political science. He hopes to bring transparency to the social, physical, and mental barriers that moms experience during, before, and after their pregnancies.

Zach Vincent is majoring in political science with minors in writing and legal studies. He is looking to intern with an organization committed to increasing youth political engagement.

Class of 2019

Sophie Abo, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Pittsburgh, PA, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment.

Haley Allen, a Mary and Tom Stillman Civic Scholar from St. Charles, MO, is majoring in international and area studies, psychology.

Nathaniel Bernstein, a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Evanston, IL, is majoring in political science.

Anand Chukka, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from San Jose, CA, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment.

Maddie Farrer, a Seiden Family Civic Scholar from Lexington, KY, is majoring in architecture.

Marcellus Johnson, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Oviedo, FL,  is majoring in architecture.

Rhea Khanna, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from New Delhi, India, is majoring in communication design, educational studies.

Marissa Lerner, a Gephardt Civic Scholar from Boston, MA, is majoring in environmental earth science.

Sam Messenger, a Bob and Gerry Virgil Civic Scholar from Brooklyn, NY, is majoring in economics, finance.

Le’Aysha Pearson, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Wynne, AZ, is majoring in elementary education and applied linguistics.

Gabby Perez-Garcia, a Gephardt Civic Scholar from Plano, TX, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment.

James Schisler, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from St. James, MO, is majoring in geophysics.

Meghal Sheth, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Camas, WA, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment.

Dan Sicorsky, a Dr. Margaret A. Olsen and Dr. Joseph N. Marcus Civic Scholar from Aventura, FL, is majoring in international and area studies, political science.

Adis Terzic, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from St. Louis, MO, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment.

Sarah Yapo, a Cantor Family Civic Scholar from Rockford, IL, is majoring in biochemistry.

2018 Alumni

Andres Avalle is a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Manchester, VT. He is working as an Associate at Bain & Company, a management consultancy, in Chicago, Illinois. Eventually, he hopes to earn an advanced degree in complex systems, economics, or philosophy.

Molly Brodsky is a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Fair Lawn, NJ. She is pursuing community-focused agriculture and food justice work in San Francisco, California. She will serve as a Community Educator with Global Student Embassy (GSE), a nonprofit that facilitates garden-based experiential learning and leadership training for high school students in the Bay Area. GSE partners with urban farming organizations in Ecuador and Nicaragua and aims to highlight both local and global food issues.

Caitlin Cheeseboro is a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Woodbury, MN. She moved to Los Angeles, California and will serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member.

Michael Collins is a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Zionsville, IN. He stayed in St. Louis for the summer to conduct research on Chinese refugees during the Korean War. He then moved to Beijing, China where he will pursue a Masters in History at Peking University as a Yenching Scholar.

Claudia Evaristo is a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Athens, GA, is double majoring in anthropology and biology in the College of Arts & Sciences. She moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and is applying for community health and reproductive justice advocacy jobs. She also traveled with family in Hong Kong and India. She hopes to begin medical school in fall 2019.

Ishak Hossain is a Bob and Gerry Virgil Civic Scholar from Tulsa, OK. He is applying to medical school. For the next year, he is working full-time for the Missouri chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Assiatou Jallow is a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Detroit, MI. She spent the summer in Detroit, Michigan and is in the process of applying for positions that will allow her to explore community and economic development as tools to address systems of oppression.

Wesley Jenkins is a Seiden Family Civic Scholar from Nashville, TN. He stayed in St. Louis to complete freelance writing projects for MICDS high school and the Division of Student Affairs at Washington University. In September, he moved to Chicago to begin a Master of Science program in Journalism at Northwestern, with a specialization in print and digital magazine content.

Anna Noronha is a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Lake Forest, IL. She is working as a Research Assistant for Ariadne Labs, a health systems innovation think tank. She is situated in the Office of the Executive Director, where she will assist with research for writing projects and review literature on global health innovations.

Karthik Rohatgi is a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Reno, NV. He spent the summer in India and recently started medical school at Washington University. He plans to pursue a combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degree.

Nathan Stanfield is a Cantor Family Civic Scholar from Milton, MA. Over the summer, he interned at Populous, an architecture firm in Kansas City, Missouri. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in architecture.

Madeline Stewart is a Dr. Margaret A. Olsen and Dr. Joseph N. Marcus Civic Scholar from Boston, MA. She spent the summer with friends and family and returned to St. Louis to work at Places for People for the next year before starting medical school at Boston University.

Sarah Vaughen is a Mary and Tom Stillman Civic Scholar from Champaign, IL. She is working as a ScribeAmerica Medical Scribe for a family medicine physician in Champaign, Illinois. She is also applying to medical school programs to begin in fall 2019.

Cole Warner is from St. Louis, MO. He is an AmeriCorps member at The Biome School in St. Louis. He is also shadowing in the ER at BJC HealthCare and pursuing a certificate in narrative medicine through Columbia University.

2017 Alumni

Nicholas Annin
Alexandra Barrett
Lucy Chin
Suhas Gondi
Jacob Metz
Yaala Muller
Sarah Nesbitt
Sakura Oyama
Norah Rast
María José Ruiz
Laken Sylvander
Neena Wang

2016 Alumni

Shyam Akula
Kierstan Carter
Cameron Kinker
Jagdeesh Kottapalli
Brianna McCain
Nick Okafor
Carrick Reddin
Rachel Sumption

2015 Alumni

Madeleine Balchan
Victoria (Tori) Bawel
Rachel (Rori) Bridge
Anirudh (Raja) Krishna
Elliot Louthen
Reuben Riggs
Seiko Shastri
Jason Silberman

2014 Alumni

Joshua Aiken
Ayah Abo-Basha
Hallie Dobkin
Avi David Geller
Tiffini Hyatt
Maddie Polk
Dylan Simonson

2013 Alumni

Peter Birke
Grace Chao
Michael Harries
Pia Marcus
Andreas Mitchell

Questions? Contact LuAnn Oros, Coordinator of Civic Engagement Programs.