Elsie Hillman Civic Forum

Ambassadors for Civic Engagement


The Ambassadors for Civic Engagement Program (Elsie ACE’s) will seek to connect learning objectives in the classroom with meeting community needs through robust long-term experiential and academic projects that address a critical community and/or policy issue. 

Five diverse and competitively selected Elsie Ambassadors will work as a team with a strategic community partner to address a specific organizational, policy or community issue. The Elsie Ambassador program aims to recruit applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and experience; all full time graduate students on the Oakland campus who are in good academic standing are eligible. Enthusiasm, flexibility, and initiative are all key attributes for a successful Elsie Ambassador. The Elsie Forum strives to maintain a balance of the different academic disciplines in order to develop a vigorous and interdisciplinary team. 

Elsie Ambassadors will receive a monthly training stipend over the entire project period in support of their educational expenses and commitment to the program. 

The Elsie Forum will work closely with the selected community agency to outline the mentoring responsibilities of the host organization, define the student responsibilities and time commitment for the project, and identify the training goals and evaluation of those goals.

Additionally, the Elsie Forum will coordinate and host regular team meetings with the Elsie Ambassadors and an advisory team comprised of community and academic experts in the area of study. The advisory team will provide feedback on project design and implementation, assist with identifying resources, and support general discussion of issues that come up throughout the internship. 

The Elsie Ambassador program will provide opportunities for service, leadership development, and community engagement in partnership with local/regional organizations. This training program will also enhance student learning by increasing their understanding of social issues, strengthening social responsibility and heightening their understanding of human diversity while responding to the challenges of our communities.

Examples of Community Partners:

  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • The United Way
  • Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Allegheny County Health Department
  • Allegheny Conference on Community Development