Ambassadors for Civic Engagement

Work as a Team on Important Community and Policy Issues

The Ambassadors for Civic Engagement Program provides an opportunity for graduate students to apply their classroom education to the community through a robust, long-term experiential fellowship that will address a critical community and/or policy issue with a focus on effecting positive community outcomes. Through the course of this program, students will work as a team and will increase their understanding of social issues, strengthen their social responsibility, heighten their understanding of human diversity, and learn from their peers, all while responding to the challenges of our communities. 

Three diverse and competitively selected graduate-level Elsie Ambassadors from a wide-range of backgrounds and experience will work as a team with a community partner to address a specific organizational, policy or community issue.

When is this program offered?

This program is offered every academic year and lasts from October through April


  • Earn $13 per hour for 15 hours per week
  • Work with an interdisciplinary team of students to increase a community partner's capacity to undertake a large initiative
  • Connect with community leaders and executives 

Program Commitments

  • Seven-month program (Oct. - April)
  • 15 hours per week at partner site or working on project
  • Team meetings with Elsie Forum staff to discuss the project and experiences


  • Any full-time, graduate student pursuing any degree
  • Must be a graduate student on the Oakland campus


Students apply online and participation is awarded on a competitive basis. 

Application Due Date: Sept. 6, 2019

Application Requirements

  • Unofficial transcript 
  • Resume
  • Students may upload a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or supervisor with their application (optional) 
  • Civic Engagement Essay - three-page maximum, double-spaced and your essay should address the following:
    • Explain how you believe you can contribute to the identified community partner? 
    • What skills and experience do you have related to the initiative’s focus?
    • Why are you passionate about this issue or area?
    • What do you hope to gain by participating in this program?
    • What are your plans post-graduation?

Selection Process

This program follows a two-staged review process. First, a committee will review each applicant's written materials and will recommend applicants for an interview. Second, those recommended for an interview are contacted to schedule face-to-face interviews with the committee. After the interviews, the committee deliberates and selects the finalists. The program has about three available positions each academic year. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I be doing if I am selected as an Elsie ACE?

Three graduate students will work as a team with a community partner to address a specific organizational, policy, or community issue. The Elsie Forum will work closely with the selected community agency to outline the mentoring responsibilities of the host organization, define student responsibilities and time commitment for the project, and identify the training goals and evaluation process to assess attainment of the goals. The activities while on site will depend heavily on the selected community partner.

Monthly team meetings will occur on campus to compliment internship activities. The monthly sessions will focus on leadership development, guided discussion about the project, as well as guest lecturers from the nonprofit sector.

Where have Elsie ACEs worked in the past? 

The inaugural year of the program was 2017, and Elsie ACEs worked with Adagio Health and assisted with the planning and implementation of its first women's health policy symposium and networking event entitled Transforming Women's Health. Elsie ACEs also assisted Adagio with establishing a Western PA Women's Healthcare Consortium and assisted with the organization's advocacy efforts of Title X. The 2018 class developed an advisory plan for the Allegehny County Department of Human Services on their PA Get Help Now marketing campaign and outreach strategies.