Civic Scholars Gephardt News Gephardt Stories & Voices on Service St. Louis Fellowship Program

Students build on community impact with Partnership Extension grants

Last month with the launch of the St. Louis Impact Fund, the Gephardt Institute introduced Partnership Extension Grants. Civic Scholars and St. Louis Fellows spend the majority of their summer during the programs cultivating relationships with community partners to impact change. The Partnership Extension Grants help students maintain these connections and continue with important projects alongside their community partners.  

Nine students were awarded grants, including St. Louis Fellow Maya Torres Colom ‘25 and Civic Scholar Donovan Dixson ‘24. Through the Partnership Extension Grant, both Colom and Dixson were able to continue their work with St. Louis County Domestic Violence Court and trubel&co, respectively.  

As an advocate for the St. Louis County Domestic Violence court, Colom meets with petitioners filing for protection from their intimate partners. 

“I have several conversations with them, ranging from service to hearing prep to enforcement, but it can all be summed up to guiding people through the legal system and making it a little gentler,” Colom said. 

Not only does Colom continue to work with her supervisor, Taylor Ikemeier, Coordinator at the DV Court, but she continues her work with petitioner connections. 

“Working with survivors is continuous, so having the ongoing work contribution from Maya has had such an impact to our community and program,” Ikemeier said.  

Similar to Colom, Dixson is focusing on enriching pre-established relationships through his work at trubel&co. Dixson cites engaging with St. Louis community stakeholders for the organization. trubel&co is a nonprofit dedicated to young people across the country united in the greater goal of achieving equity in the tech arena. 

“My work this past summer was more focused on exploring new pathways and opportunities for research and development, but this fall, I’ve been very focused on fine-tuning internal processes and solidifying the work that I contributed to in the summer,” Dixson said.  

With the financial support of the grant, Dixson is able to pivot from research over the summer to foundational support through communications. Particularly, Dixson is writing for the organization’s website in order to most effectively translate its benefits to potential patrons. 

“This experience has gone very well so far. Some of my contributions have been an important piece to the wider web of development that the organization is undertaking,” he 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