Summer Fellowship

fellowshipsThe Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship is named in honor of Jean Donovan, an American woman who lived, worked, and died in solidarity with the impoverished and oppressed of El Salvador in the 1980s. The Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship is designed to encourage and support students who desire to deepen their understanding of social justice issues through a summer community-based learning experience of 5-7 weeks. The Fellowship provides $2,000 in grant funding to recipients. All students who will be returning to Santa Clara University for the following year are eligible. The grant is intended to help cover costs for the summer experience, such as travel, lodging, and program costs. It may also be used as a stipend for students who engage in unpaid work in the community closer to home. It may not be used toward formal study abroad programs.

Mission Statement
The Jean Donovan Fellowship offers undergraduates a high-impact community-based experience rooted in the Ignatian Center's mission of a Faith that does Justice. Fellows work with organizations in communities with little access to wealth, power and privilege in the US and internationally. Fellows deepen their understanding of solidarity and vocation through pre-and post-experience gatherings that engage students in reflective practices informed by Ignatian Spirituality
Learning Objectives
Central to the Fellowship experience are the relationships that students develop with individuals and communities throughout their summer experience. It is through these relationships that Fellows begin to deepen their understanding of solidarity and vocation and work toward these learning objectives.

  1. Cultivate a greater understanding of the assets and challenges facing the community in which the Fellow works.
  2. Grow in commitment to specific key virtues of solidarity, simplicity, and compassion/empathy.
  3. Develop a broader and deepening understanding of personal vocation.
  4. Develop a deepened faith life.
  5. Explore the meaning and intersections of service, authenticity, and humility.


Responsibilities of Jean Donovan Fellows
Spend the summer working with youth in Los Angeles. Work with Habitat for Humanity in Chile. Teach English to children in Vietnam. Do you yearn to work for social justice? Let this Fellowship help!
  • Applicants are responsible for contacting and/or applying to a program or service organization of their choice.
  • Fellows participate in a 5-7 week summer community-based learning experience and receive a stipend of $2,000.
  • Fellows participate in a weekend retreat to discuss and reflect upon their summer experiences during the fall quarter – October 3-5, 2014 (winter quarter if students are abroad in the fall).
  • Fellows participate in a winter quarter symposium to share their experience with the broader Santa Clara community.
  • Fellows participate in selection process and preparation process for the following year's recipients.


Laurie Laird Jean Donovan Fellowship

Laurie LairdLaurie Laird was instrumental in implementation of the Jean Donovan Fellowship when it was created in 2000 through a gift from the Jesuit Community and leadership from Catherine Wolff. Students were seeking to deepen their commitment to social justice and were limited with options as many community-based and local organizations did not have the resources to offer a funding, which students needed to assist with expenses for the following academic year. Through Laurie's leadership the structure for the Fellowship including a comprehensive preparation process and post-experience retreat. There have been over 150 Fellows who have served throughout the world since the Fellowship was created. Many of these Fellows have considered Laurie as a mentor to them on their journey to live more fully into the Ignatian values of solidarity, simplicity and compassion. 

In 2013 Laurie relocated to Portland, Oregon where she serves as the Associate Director of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Northwest. She leaves behind a great legacy through her leadership at the Ignatian Center and her contributions in the field of community-based learning.  Each year a Jean Donovan Fellow seeking to work on issues related to food justice, women in the developing world or with local organizations will be selected in honor of Laurie. This Fellow will have the opportunity to share his/her proposal and to meet with Laurie. Gifts to this Fellowship should be directed to the Ignatian Center's Laurie Laird Jean Donovan Fellowship.


Application Process

  • The application is closed for the 2014 Fellowships.
  • Summer Fellowship Information Session - January 14th 7:30-9:00pm Williman Room
  • Learn more about the Jean Donovan Fellowship as well as other summer Fellowship opportunities.
  • Application Deadline - February 19th 3:00PM
  • Fellowship Notification - March 10th
  • Deadline for Acceptance of Fellowship - March 24th

Additional Information

Program Placement Resources

Helpful Hints

See the Fellows from 2000–12 and read example projects. Read More

Paintbrush Diplomacy

Find out about the Ignatian Center's collaboration with Paintbrush Diplomacy to facilitate artwork exchanges locally and abroad. Read More

Contact Information

Valerie Sarma:

Application Deadline

The application is currently closed.



Read more about Megan Anders, a Donovan Fellow who was profiled in the NCAA final four magazine.

Fellowship Profiles


Read more about the experience of past Jean Donovan Summer Fellows.