Policy and Social Impact Fellows Program

The Policy and Social Impact Fellows Program is a co-curricular experience designed exclusively for undergraduate students. It complements their academic pursuits and is open to all students at Pitt who have a passion for public policy, community engagement, and social justice, regardless of their major.

During the program, fellows will focus on implementing a community-engaged project in partnership with a local public or nonprofit organization. Students will immerse themselves in a hands-on experience that will allow them to apply their knowledge and skills to address real community and organizational needs.

Under the guidance of experienced staff, faculty, and graduate student mentors, undergraduate fellows will receive personalized support to excel in the program. These mentors will provide valuable insights to foster the development of fellows' skills in their areas of interest.

The Policy and Social Impact Fellows Program empowers undergraduate students to make a meaningful impact by equipping them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experiences. Through this co-curricular program, undergraduate fellows will:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the landscape of public policy and community engagement
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the context and needs of local public and nonprofit organizations
  • Develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills
  • Learn how to work collaboratively and in an interdisciplinary team

The program also encourages fellows to reflect on their experiences and identities, fostering a sense of civic responsibility and a lifelong commitment to community engagement and social justice.

Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are now open. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What will the community-engaged project component look like?

Once selected, students will be asked to indicate their preference for an organization/project from a list of curated projects. Students will then work in teams of 3 or 4 to submit more detailed proposals for their chosen projects toward the end of the fall semester. The project deliverables will vary from needs assessments to capacity-building workshops or program analysis/evaluation plans. Students will work on their projects throughout the spring semester, with support and guidance from faculty, staff, student mentors as well as community partners.

Students will work 5 hours per week throughout the course of the year.  The fall semester will be dedicated to working with a local organization to develop a project proposal, and in the spring semester students will execute the project deliverables and do a presentation at the closing retreat. 

What are some important dates to remember for the program?

Here are the key dates to keep in mind for the program:

February 12, 2024: The call for applications will open, inviting students to apply for the Policy & Social Impact Fellows Program

TBD: Students will be required to submit completed applications by this deadline.

Fall Semester: The program is scheduled to launch in the fall, with the opening retreat planned to take place in October. The retreat will include team-building activities, leadership seminars, and an introduction to key concepts in public policy and community engagement.

Spring Semester: Towards the end of the academic year, there will be a closing retreat and celebration of student accomplishments, marking the conclusion of the Policy & Social Impact Fellows Program.

How can students apply to the Policy & Social Impact Fellows Program?
To apply, students will need to complete and submit the Qualtrics application form, which will include providing answers to some demographic questions, uploading a resume or CV, and responding to three short answer questions. The application process will open in mid-February, and the deadline is tentatively set for mid-September.
Who can apply for the Policy & Social Impact Fellows Program?
The Policy & Social Impact Fellows Program is specifically designed for undergraduate students. It is open to undergraduate students from all majors and years (freshman to senior). The program welcomes students from diverse academic backgrounds who share a passion for public policy, international affairs, community engagement, and social justice. The interdisciplinary nature of the program encourages collaboration and learning across various fields of study.
Will there be financial incentives or stipends associated with the program?
Yes, students accepted into the Policy & Social Impact Fellows Program will receive a stipend of $2,250 for their participation in the program. The stipend is intended to provide financial support to the students throughout their involvement in the program.
Will students receive an academic credential?
Currently, there is no academic credential associated with the Fellows’ program. However, students will receive an OCC Policy and Social Impact badge on completion. We’ll also award Certificates of Completion during the closing retreat in April.
What kind of mentorship and support will be available to students in the program?
Students will receive mentorship and support from faculty members, staff, and/graduate students with expertise in the project area. Mentors and community partner contacts will provide guidance throughout the duration of the community-engaged projects. Leadership coaching from external consultants may also be available.

If you have any questions about the Policy and Social Impact Fellows Program, please email Jazmin Kent-Loera.