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 2019 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, including community engaged learning and research; community organizing and activism; social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility; direct service; philanthropy; and policy and governance. 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 and the course instructors. Scholars will also mentor the incoming cohort each year.
  • Participate in an annual retreat designed to fortify their cohort and introduce them to the variety of civic leadership pathways.
  • 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 academic summer award to be used the summer between junior and senior years for a substantial civic project of their choice, developed in consultation with their mentors and instructors. Scholars will design a Civic Summer project that could include endeavors such as an unpaid nonprofit internship, a self-directed project, international service experience, or community-engaged research.

Submit an Application

The application period for the 2019 Civic Scholars cohort has passed. 

Civic Scholar Cohorts

Class of 2021

Noor Bekhiet, from Milwaukee, WI, is double majoring in architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and economics and strategy in the Olin Business School. Her project will center on creating sustainable food sources for the refugee population of Milwaukee, WI. She hopes to establish a farmer’s market that will allow refugee craftsmen and farmers to continue their practice in the United States. 

Brooke Bulmash, from West Bloomfield, MI, Cleveland OH, and Dallas, TX, is majoring in architecture and minoring in landscape architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Her project focuses on remediating urban land, food insecurity, and vacancy in the St. Louis community.  

Josie Campbell, from Memphis, TN, is majoring in religious studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project intends to improve patient-centered healthcare and medical equity.  

Eliza Caperton, from Berkeley Springs, WV, is double majoring in studio art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and American culture studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project will aim to provide accessible arts education programs for children in the St. Louis area. 

Keishi Foecke, from San Mateo, CA is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment and minoring in American culture studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She would like to address sexual and reproductive rights, reproductive health policy, and homeless/housing policy in her project.  

Jazmin Garcia, from Evanston, IL, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment and minoring in biology in the College of Arts & Sciences. For her project, she plans to work with undocumented and immigrant youth who identify with the LGBTQIA community to empower youth’s intersectional identities.  

Jane Gormley, from Mercer Island, WA is majoring in sociology and double-minoring in computer science and creative practice for social change in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project will fixate on housing equality in the Seattle area.  

Ahmed Hanafy, from Alexandria, Egypt and Bellevue, WA is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts & Sciences and minoring in computer science in the McKlevey School of Engineering. His project centers on empowering immigrant communities to get involved in government and political processes.

Candace Hayes, from Chicago, IL, is majoring in sociology and minoring in psychological and brain sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. In her project, she hopes to explore criminal justice reform, youth empowerment, political advocacy, relationship & sexual violence prevention, increasing access to education, as well as non-profit governance. 

Mackenzie Hines-Wilson, from St. Louis, MO is majoring in philosophy-neuroscience-psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences with a minor in healthcare management in the Olin Business School. Her project focuses on improving both mental and physical health in lower socioeconomic Black communities.  

Max Klapow, from Birmingham, AL, is majoring in philosophy-neuroscience-psychology and minoring in writing law in the College of Arts & Sciences. His project will design a curriculum based on best practices in positive psychology, social work, and group therapy to deliver to prison inmates. He hopes this curriculum will increase a positive effect in the short term, as well as develop prisoners’ sense of agency, personal power, and tangible skills. 

Carrie Phillips, from St. Louis, MO is majoring in sociology and double-minoring in music and Spanish in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project will focus on empowering youth through music and the arts as well as advocating for funding for public arts programming.  

Logan Phillips, from St. Louis, MO and Austin, TX, is majoring in African and African-American studies on the pre-med track and is minoring in sociology in the College of Arts & Sciences. She intends to study the absence of Black history within the American history education curriculum, the systematic neglect that creates racial biases and detriments healthcare, and the inherent chronic stress of existing as a minority in America.  

Kai Radford, from St. Louis, MO is majoring in African and African-American studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project will explore Black youth empowerment, the juvenile justice system programming, and the accessibility of sexual education. 

Lorenzo Solon, from Gladwyne, PA, is majoring in biology and minoring in sociology in the College of Arts & Sciences. He intends to explore team sports as a potential mental health intervention.

Andrew Whitaker, from West Chester, OH, is majoring in biomedical engineering on the pre-med track in the McKelvey School of Engineering. His project will create solutions for kids with asthma in the St. Louis area.  

Kally Xu, from Madison, MS, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment and double-minoring in Asian American studies and Arabic in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project will explore sex education and/or reproductive justice in Mississippi. 

Jessica Yu, from Portland, OR, is majoring in biochemistry in the College of Arts & Sciences. She would like her project to focus on low-income, first-generation involvement and civic engagement in STEM research. 

Class of 2020

Harkirat Anand, a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Paramus, NJ, is majoring in economics and mathematics with a concentration in statistics. For his summer project, Harkirat was interested in researching dissonance within the Sikh American community on political ideologies by creating an anthology of interviews with community members of different backgrounds.

Carson Borbely, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Viadana, Italy is majoring in anthropology: global health & the environment and minoring in writing. Carson worked for Casa Marianella, a shelter serving immigrants and refugees in Austin, TX. She assisted with trauma-informed ESL classes, accompanied minors to immigration court, supported day-to-day needs at the shelter, and received individuals upon release from detainment.

Kirk Brown, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from O’Fallon, IL, is majoring in political science and African & African American studies. Kirk worked with the Evans Exoneration Project. His responsibilities included applying for grants with the hope of helping the organization secure funds to continue operating as a non-profit, pro bono law firm.

Luka Cai, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Singapore, Singapore is majoring in political science and minoring in sociology and legal studies. Luka worked with community members and organizations to establish the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline, a volunteer-run peer support helpline that provides free, confidential, and identity-affirming emotional support and resources, by and for the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community. The helpline launched on September 20.

Maria Cortez-Lopez, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Elgin, IL, majored in Latin American studies and Spanish. María worked at the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project, which serves and advocates for the low-income immigrant community in St. Louis through translation, immigration services, and community outreach.

Molly Davis, a Gephardt Civic Scholar from Lexington, TN, is majoring in English and Spanish with a minor in psychology. Molly explored issues related to aging, particularly dementia care, caregiver health, and the use of yoga and mindfulness in promoting well-being and managing chronic pain. She interned with the Tennessee chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and earned her registered yoga teacher certification with a focus in chair yoga. 

Ruth Durrell, a Bob & Gerry Virgil Civic Scholar from Milwaukee, WI, is majoring in educational studies and sociology. Ruth supported students, teachers, and staff as an intern and Assistant Director of Student Services at LearningWorks in Minneapolis, MN. She assessed the needs of teachers with the teaching faculty and is still working directly with LearningWorks to create a financial support fund for teachers in need.

Jose Figueroa, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar, is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently resides in Dayton, OH, is majoring in anthropology: global health & the environment. José developed a community oriented curriculum and trained 354 community members in First Aid Management in Guatemala. Every trained member was given a refillable first aid kit to use in the time of a medical emergency around their community. Groups trained included firefighters, police force, midwives, volcano rescue units, and local citizens

Gabriela Hall, a Seiden Family Civic Scholar from Dallas, TX, is majoring in system science & engineering with a specialization in biomedical engineering. Gabriela worked on developing materials to teach the English section of the ACT in the Puertas program at Washington University. They also spent a month in Israel doing research on microdroplet resonators for biosensing applications.  

Lauren Hucko, a Dr. Margaret A. Olsen & Dr. Joseph N. Marcus Civic Scholar from LaGrange, IL, is majoring in anthropology: global health & the environment and Spanish with a minor in medical humanities. Lauren worked as a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) intern with Uganda Development and Health Associates, a grassroots, community health outreach center in eastern Uganda. She helped train Peer Health Educators on SRHR, and they will use this training to organize monthly presentations at their schools. She also designed educational SRHR materials that will be circulated to all local schools.

Grace Kavinsky, a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Oak Park, IL, is majoring in classics and minoring in African & African-American Studies and art history. Grace interned at the Supreme Court of the United States in the Office of the Curator. She engaged in topics which centered on criminal justice reform and heritage institution accountability. 

Rachel Kleinhandler, a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Rye Brook, NY, is majoring in American culture studies and minoring in the business of social impact. Her project addressed youth mental illness and the related stigma to encourage greater awareness for the supporter population. Through various partnerships, she contributed to the development of mental health resources, social media content, and crisis support.

Sherece Laine, a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Bronx, NY, is majoring in African & African American studies and minoring in anthropology: global health & the environment. Sherece interned with IFM Community Medicine. Through this experience, she explored the role community-based organizations have in providing adequate health care services for individuals from marginalized communities to decrease health disparities.

Gabriela Pantoja, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Chicago, IL, majored in Latin American studies and anthropology. She conducted over 20 interviews in her East Side Chicago neighborhood to help dispel negative stereotypes and perceived anonymity due to deindustrialization. The project prompted her to think about what it means to be a good neighbor and how community is perceived by members with different backgrounds and interests.

Noah Ford Rennert, a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Fairfield, CT, is majoring in chemical engineering. Noah created a website to improve accessibility to jobs in the solar industry for his summer project.

Ishaan Shah, a Mary and Tom Stillman Civic Scholar from Cupertino, CA, is majoring in biology and political science. Ishaan worked on a national trial at Boston Medical Center that compared a group well-child visit program to the individual well-child visit model pediatricians use to screen infants during their first two years of life. The trial was developed through a partnership between a community organization, Vital Village, and a national nonprofit, Centering Healthcare Institute.

Zach Vincent, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from East Moline, IL, is majoring in political science with minors in writing and legal studies. Zach partnered with the Obama Foundation on the strategic and operational development of their civic education programming for his summer project.

Class of 2019

Sophie Abo, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Pittsburgh, PA, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment and minoring in biology in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project examined the intersection of health and transit in St. Louis, MO.

Haley Allen, a Mary and Tom Stillman Civic Scholar from St. Charles, MO, is double majoring in international studies: international affairs and psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences. She spent her summer with the “Literacy Garden” program in Kenya.

Nathaniel Bernstein, a Stern Family Civic Scholar from Evanston, IL, is majoring in political science and minoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies and psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences. He spent his summer working at the Center on Wrongful Conviction at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, to research criminal justice reform.

Anand Chukka, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from San Jose, CA, is double majoring in biochemistry and American culture studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He interned jointly last summer with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and the Center for Prisoner Health to understand the role of physician advocacy work.

Maddie Farrer, a Seiden Family Civic Scholar from Lexington, KY, is majoring in architecture and minoring in urban design in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. She is also minoring in urban studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She worked with the Sacramento City Council’s Housing and Redevelopment Agency to examine affordable housing alternatives.

Marcellus Johnson, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Oviedo, FL, is majoring in architecture and minoring in urban design in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. He is also minoring in American culture studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He worked on the production of a book about the historical preservation of Kinloch, MO.

Rhea Khanna, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from New Delhi, India, is double majoring in communication design in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and educational studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She spent her summer in New York City, NY, exploring the design of quality learning spaces.

Marissa Lerner, a Gephardt Civic Scholar from Boston, MA, is majoring in environmental earth science in the College of Arts & Sciences and minoring in systems engineering in the School of Engineering. Her project was in Quito, Ecuador, focusing on urban resilience and sustainability.

Sam Messenger, a Bob and Gerry Virgil Civic Scholar from Brooklyn, NY, is double majoring in economics in the College of Arts & Sciences and finance in the Olin Business School. His project was with the Halachic Organ Donor Society (HODS) to promote organ donation in the Jewish community in New York City, NY.

Le’Aysha Pearson, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Wynne, AZ, is double majoring in elementary education and African and African-American studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project focused on social-emotional education research in South Africa.

Gabby Perez-Garcia, a Gephardt Civic Scholar from Plano, TX, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project focused on Latina teen suicide prevention in New York City, NY.

James Schisler, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from St. James, MO, is majoring in geophysics and minoring in writing in the College of Arts & Sciences. For his project, he researched educational access and policy in rural communities in St. James, MO.

Meghal Sheth, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from Camas, WA, is majoring in anthropology: global health and the environment and biology with a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. For her project, she focused on immigration policy and sexual health education for South Asian Americans in Chicago, IL.

Dan Sicorsky, a Dr. Margaret A. Olsen and Dr. Joseph N. Marcus Civic Scholar from Aventura, FL, is majoring in political science and minoring in writing in the College of Arts & Sciences. He worked full-time at the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, exploring diplomacy and global justice for its residents.

Adis Terzic, a Fox-Clark Civic Scholar from St. Louis, MO, is double majoring in anthropology and economics in the College of Arts & Sciences. His project focused on capturing oral histories of first generation Bosnian-Americans in both St. Louis, MO, and Chicago, IL.

Sarah Yapo, a Cantor Family Civic Scholar from Rockford, IL, is majoring in biochemistry and minoring in psychological and brain sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her project focused on sexual and reproductive health in Indonesia.

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 Genesis Steele, Coordinator for Civic Engagement Programs.