Engage STL Gephardt News

Institute awards nine students grants to further St. Louis Impact

As part of a new initiative to provide further financial support of student community engagement in St. Louis, the Gephardt Institute awarded grants totaling more than $11,000 to nine students this month.  

Partnership Extension Grants aim to help students in the institute’s Civic Leadership Programs—Civic Scholars and St. Louis Fellows—continue internships with their community partner organizations beyond the summer.  

“We’re excited to further support our students’ passion for making an impact in the St. Louis region, while bolstering the efforts of our community partners,” said Sam Babb, Associate Director of Community Engagement for the Gephardt Institute. 

Students in the St. Louis Fellows Program take on summer internships with local nonprofit and government organizations, and Civic Scholars design their Civic Summers in partnership with one or more organizations. Each of these students receive a stipend of $6,000—funded by gifts to the institute—to provide their skills and civic insights at no cost to the organizations.  

For the first time, St. Louis Fellows and Civic Scholars who focused their work in St. Louis can receive up to an additional $1,500—by applying for Partnership Extension Grants—to extend their internships. It’s the beginning of a series of new grants under the institute’s St. Louis Impact Fund, the rest of which will launch in October. The fund is part of the Gephardt Institute and WashU’s commitment to catalyze enduring impact in St. Louis. 

In the inaugural application cycle that culminated this month, nine students were approved for a total of $11,365 to continue their community work in the St. Louis region. For organizations like the Missouri Asian American Youth (MAAY) Foundation, the Partnership Extension grants mean that their partnership with two St. Louis Fellows—Sai Vuda ’24 and Subratha Araselvan ’26—can endure. It’s part of a larger picture of consistency and continuity MAAY has experienced while partnering with WashU students through the Gephardt Institute. 

“In the past two years, Gephardt Fellows have been instrumental to the success of the 
MAAY Foundation and made significant contributions to our operational capacity. Fellows have worked in every dimension of our organization,” said Caroline Fan, Founder and President of MAAY. “Consistently working with a group of civically engaged students has given foundation employees insight into different cultural backgrounds and new perspectives.” 

Araselvan explained that the Partnership Extension Grant helps her continue supporting a MAAY partnership with Ethnic Communities Opioid Response Network-Missouri. As part of her extended internship, she’ll help conduct community programming around opioids and a joint food and medicine distribution event.  

“We anticipate food distribution drawing in a larger crowd to educate on opioid use and prevention,” said Araselvan. “This issue is relevant to many ethnic communities, including the greater Asian community, as there have been a number of opioid-related deaths in the South Asian community.” 

Babb sees the Partnership Extension Grants as indicative of students’ deep commitment to St. Louis.  

“I think that the eagerness of our students to continue their internships, as well as the generous gifts that made the Partnership Extension grants possible, really speak to the importance of this work,” she said. 

The St. Louis Impact Fund is supported by the Office of the Provost and generous donations to the Gephardt Institute. Through the former Civic Engagement Fund, the Gephardt Institute has distributed over $267,000 in grants that advance student learning and St. Louis regional priorities. If you would like to make a gift to support the St. Louis Impact Fund, please contact Colleen Watermon at cwatermon@wustl.edu