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Jean Donovan Fellowship

The Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship (JDF) 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. This Fellowship is designed to support undergraduate students who desire to deepen their understanding of social justice issues through a summer community-based learning experience of 6 weeks or longer. The Fellowship provides $3,000 in grant funding to recipients who work a minimum of 30 hours/week with a non-profit organization.

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.

Jean Donovan was a lay American woman who went to El Salvador in 1977. Jean was seeking more meaning and purpose with her life and after local volunteer work in Cleveland she went to El Salvador to work with war refugees. Jean had very little knowledge of where El Salvador was or its history but a strong conviction that it was where she was meant to be. Jean accompanied a refugee community in La Libertad and was providing nutrition, shelter and transportation to communities facing devastation during the war.

Jean along with Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel were murdered by the Salvadoran Military in December 1980. Jean’s life has come to represent an authentic transformation rooted in humility, faith and fellowship. It is increasingly important for today’s students to connect with the suffering in our world, and enable their own transformations. The Jean Donovan Fellowship allows students to create this opportunity, and the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education provides the guidance for critical reflection in a structured and nurturing environment.

“Jean Donovan was twenty-six years old when she went to El Salvador, and she was very much a child of her time. She was not a saint or a hero. She was idealistic and vulnerable; she had a great sense of fun, and she was hungry for life and experience.”

-Salvador Witness: The Life and Calling of Jean Donovan by Ana Carrigan p. 8

“What moved me about Jean’s story and what compelled me to want to write about her, was her youth, her accessibility, the integrity and modesty with which she approached her task as a lay missioner, and her political naivete. She never lost the innocence she brought to the complicated world in which she found herself. Jean was not trying to impress anyone. She went to El Salvador searching for more meaning and purpose in her life. She found what she was looking for helping the war victims of a humanitarian catastrophe caused by U.S. and Salvadoran government policies. Working in the refugee camps and among the orphans of El Salvador’s war, for the first time in her life she met the face of extreme poverty and need, and she was awed and humbled by what she saw. She opened up her large and generous heart and embraced this strange new culture, the culture of poverty and as she did so she lived out the eternal paradox, that only by giving can you receive, and only when you are useful do you find happiness.”

-Salvador Witness: The Life and Calling of Jean Donovan by Ana Carrigan p. 9

Watch the Documentary "Killed in El Salvador: An American Story"

Lori Laird

Laurie 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. She leaves behind a great legacy through her leadership at the Ignatian Center and her contributions in the field of community-based learning. Through Laurie's leadership the structure for the Fellowship includes a comprehensive preparation process and post-experience retreat. Laurie worked with over 150 Jean Donovan Fellows. 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 served as the Associate Director of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Northwest and currently serves as the Director of the Moreau Center at University of Portland. 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.

Central to the Jean Donovan Fellowship are the relationships that Fellows develop with individuals and communities. 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.

How the Fellowship Works

Accompaniment-based ServiceAt the heart of the Jean Donovan Fellowship is that idea that Fellows accompany people with less access to wealth, power and privilege. Fellows should seek placements and be in a role to work directly with or alongside people served by the host organization. Accompaniment-based work should comprise approximately half of a Fellows work responsibilities ~15 hours/week.  

Simple Living - A core value of the Jean Donovan Fellowship is simplicity. Donovan Fellows are asked to embrace this value, which is rooted in the Ignatian value of Detachment. Living simply fosters increased presence, attentiveness to spirituality, justice and environmental sustainability.

Placement, Location, DatesFellows should seek a placement with a non-profit and/or community-based organization where at least half of the Fellow’s work is accompaniment-based service. Suggested steps for communicating with organizations include:

  1. Fellows are encouraged to do thoughtful research before reaching out to organizations.
  2. Fellows are expected to work for 6 weeks, or longer. Start and end dates for the Fellowship can be based on Fellows’ availability and organizational needs. 
  3. Fellows are encouraged to reach out to 1+ organizations via email and phone and should have a minimum of 1 phone conversation with volunteer coordinator/supervisor at the organization. Questions that may guide those conversations are the following:
  • Tell me more about the programs/services your organization offers.
  • What are the community needs your organization is addressing? 
  • Tell me about some of the clients or community served through your organization.
  • What are current issues facing your organization and community?
  • Is there an opportunity for me to volunteer with your organization? Are there opportunities for me to work in a role accompaniment-based service with your organization and what might this look like?

Placement Organizations - In recent years Fellows have worked and had very meaningful in-person experiences with the following organizations:

  1. Sacred Heart Community Service - San Jose 
  2. St. Anthony Foundation - San Francisco 
  3. Faithful Fools - San Francisco 
  4. Rachel’s Women’s Center - San Diego 
  5. International Rescue Committee - Various locations
  6. Virginia Garcia Memorial Health - Portland
  7. Boys and Girls Club - Various locations
  8. The LGBT Youth Space - San Jose
  9. Community Legal Services - East Palo Alto 
  10. Soccer without Borders - Oakland
  11. tUrn Project - Santa Clara 

BudgetThe Fellowship stipend is $3,000 and is an important consideration for Fellows, especially when considering location and length of summer work. Fellows receive $3,000 in spring 2023. Fellows have equally meaningful experiences regardless of budgetary constraints. Fellows are eligible to seek funding through other SCU programs as well as outside of the University. 



Eligibility - Santa Clara undergraduate students in good academic and behavioral standing who will be returning to campus during the 2023-2024 academic year are eligible to apply for the Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship. Students studying abroad for 1 quarter or semester during the 2023-2024 academic year are also eligible to apply.

Applicants are responsible for contacting and applying to work with a non-profit community-based organization of their choice in the US. There may be some limited opportunities to work internationally and applicants will be able to indicate this on the application. By the time of application submission, applicants should be in contact with their desired placement to discuss plans for Fellowship experience. For assistance with this process refer to:

Helpful Hints
Community-based Organization Resources

For additional information. Fellows seeking support with this process should contact Valerie Sarma, Senior Program Director for Student Engagement and Special Projects.

  • Due to safety and other risk management concerns as of now, all Fellowship placements will be in-person within the United States and internationally.
  • Donovan Fellows are expected to work for a minimum of 30 hours/week with a non-profit community-based organization for a minimum of 6 weeks or longer during summer 2023. Donovan Fellows are unable to receive monetary compensation from the organization for their work (without special approval from the Fellowship Director.)
  • Donovan Fellows receive a stipend of $3,000 in spring 2023. This award may be used to cover transportation, lodging, and program costs. It may also be used as a stipend for students who engage in unpaid work in their communities.
  • Donovan Fellows participate in 4 meetings (1 hr./mtg.) during the spring 2023 quarter.
    Meetings take place: Thursdays  |  5:30 - 6:45 PM  |  Ignatian Center (990 Benton)
    • April 13
    • April 20
    • April 27
    • May 4
    • May 11
    • May 18 - International Orientation
    • June 1 - JDF Send-Off
  • Donovan Fellows may participate in an overnight retreat in Spring 2023  - TBD
  • Donovan Fellows participate in a weekend retreat to discuss and reflect upon their summer experiences during the fall quarter – TBD (OR winter quarter if students are abroad in the fall).
  • Donovan Fellows participate in 2-3 additional meetings during the 2023-2024 academic year including: Meeting with Listening Companion, supporting marketing & communications efforts on behalf of the Fellowship.
  • Donovan Fellows participate in the selection process and preparation process for the following year's recipients in Winter and Spring quarters of 2024.

Summer 2023 Jean Donovan Fellows 

The 2023 Jean Donovan Fellows will engage with communities from around the country, both in-person and virtually. Selected host-organizations focus on social justice issues ranging from healthcare to immigration.
To read more about their experiences and those of past Jean Donovan Fellows, please visit our Donovan Fellowship Blog
Navigate here to Anisha Malani JDF 2023

Malani '26

Web Design & Engineering
Ashraya Old Age Home
Kota, India

Navigate here to Bea Ricafort JDF 2023

Ricafort '26

826 Valencia
San Francisco, CA

Navigate here to Camryn Brown - JDF 2023

Brown '24

Psychology & Music

Navigate here to Caroline Harrington JDF 2023

Harrington '24

Child Studies

Navigate here to Cash Stocks JDF 2023

Stocks '24


Navigate here to Christina Nelson JDF 2023

Nelson '24

Majors and Minor:
Sociology & Spanish Studies
Sustainable Food Systems
Garden to Table
San Jose, CA

Navigate here to Chris Lane JDF 2023

Lane '25

Political Science & Spanish Studies
Yomol A'tel Chilón
Chiapas, Mexico

Navigate here to Daniel Martinez JDF 2023

Martinez '24

Religious Studies
Kino Border Initiative
Nogales, Mexico

Navigate here to Elsa Kinney JDF 2023

Kinney '25

Biology & Public Health Science
Camp Kesem at SCU
Santa Clara, CA

Navigate here to Felicia Montes JDF 2023

Montes '25

Political Science & Ethnic Studies

Navigate here to Grace Davis JDF 2023

Davis '25

Political Science & Philosophy
Equality Ohio
Columbus, OH

Navigate here to JDF 2022 Grace Yonkers-Talz

Yonkers-Talz '24

Child Studies & Women
& Gender Studies
Kino Border Initiatives
Nogales, Mexico

Navigate here to Joy Peters JDF 2023

Peters '25

Public Health Science
La Mesa Verde
San Jose, CA

Navigate here to Juana Melgoza JDF 2023

Melgoza '26

Marketing & Political Science
Boys & Girls Club
Lamont, CA

Navigate here to Laura Clark JDF 2023

Clark '24

Philosophy & Religious Studies
International Rescue
San Jose, CA

Name   Placement
Annabelle Oldham '24 Amigos de Guadalupe, San Jose, CA
Bella Estrada '25 Dreams for Change, San Diego, CA
Daniel Martinez '24 Catholic Worker, San Jose, CA
Emma Samaniego '24 Attorney General, Hartford, CT
Gabby Yabut '23 SCU's tUrn / ABS CBN Foundation, Philippines
Grace Yonkers-Talz '24 SCU's tUrn, Santa Clara, CA
Hannah Trillo '23 SCU's tUrn / Our City Forest, San Jose, CA
Madi Smith '24 Hopelink, Seattle, WA
Megan Imai '23 Boys and Girls Club, Santa Cruz, CA
Pascale Wojcik '23 SCU's tUrn / ACES, Aspen, CO
Petra Glenn '23 SCU's tUrn / Climate Action Coalition, Hailey, ID
Rachel Stattion '24 YWCA, San Jose, CA
Isabela Ramirez '24 MEarth / Project Fleri, Monterey County, CA
Nandni Saraogi '25 Nirdhan, Kolkata, India
Name   Placement
Chanel Bullock '22 SCU tUrn, Santa Clara, CA
Elizabeth Chimalpopoca '23 Independent School Alliance, Culver City, CA
Maria De La Lima '22 EduCare Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Preeti Devulapalli '23 The Arc, Portland, OR
Rosalie Dillon '22 YouthSpace, San Jose, CA
Sasha Eros '23 Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose, CA
Natalie Henriquez '23 Community Legal Services, East Palo Alto, CA
Natalie Hoffman '23 Heartfire Missions, Arizona
Jessica Hwang '22 Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose, CA
Jacqui Jones '23 Faithful Fools, San Francisco, CA
Gloria Karekezi '23 SCU's tUrn, Santa Clara, CA 
Maryam Khatoon '22 International Rescue Committee, San Jose, CA
Carolyn Kuimelis '22 Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose, CA
Yvonne Lu '22 Sonrisas Dental Health, San Mateo, CA
Robert O'Brien '23 Project Fleri, Annapolis, Maryland
Dhanya Paul '23 StandUp for Kids, Silicon Valley, CA
Liliana Regpala '22 Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose, CA
Ciera Robinson '22 La Mesa Verde at Sacred Heart Community Services, San Jose, CA
Marie Schauer '22 The Primary School, East Palo Alto, CA
Meghana Sinnappan '22 Sex Ed for Social Change, Washington D.C.
Oladayo Thomas '22 Soccer Without Borders, Oakland, CA
Kimberly Wood '24 SCU tUrn, Santa Clara, CA
Name   Placement
Shakira Asuncion Perez '23 Northeast Legal Aid, Lawrence, MA
Jessica Britt '21 International Rescue Committee (IRC), Sacramento, CA
Holden Gordon '21 Andre House, Phoenix, AZ
Seamus Hudnut '20 (MS '21) D-Rev, San Francisco, CA
Emma McCurry '21 La Mesa Verde, Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose, CA
Claire Murphy '22 Compass Center for Women and Families, Chapel Hill, NC
Caitlin Toth '21 Community Housing Works, San Diego, CA
MayWallace '21 Kagha la Themba, South Africa
Name   Placement
Abigail Alvarez '22 RespectAbility National Leadership Program, Washington DC
Kendra Bean '20 Malama | Ke Ola Health Center, Maui, Hawaii
Benjamin Davidson '20 Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation & Four Worlds United, Portland, OR
Lorena Delgado Marquez '22        Mount Saint Vincent, Denver, CO
Ali Fetter '21 IVHQ, San Jose, Costa Rica
Hiwad Haider '22 International Rescue Committee, Oakland, CA
Hana Seastedt '20 Swiss-Laos Hospital, Laos
Gladys Hilerio '20 Esperanza International, Tijuana, Baja CA, Mexico
Christian Jimenez '21 Maximo Nivel, Cusco, Peru
Maya Kuchan '21 IVHQ, Kathmandu, Nepal
Christopher Lundrud '20 Parque por la Paz Villa Grimaldi, Santiago, Chile
Vidya Pingali '20 HEAL Charity: Health & Education for All, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India
Victoria Salcedo '21 Rachel's Women's Center - Catholic Charities, San Diego, CA
Riley Scherr '21 IVHQ, San Jose, Costa Rica
Emily Swanson '21 Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose, CA
Name   Placement
Annalicia Anaya '20 International Institute of the Bay, San Francisco, California
Lauren Cherrey '21 Vive Peru, Tujillo, Peru
Kristin Godfrey '19 Root & Rebound, Oakland, California
Mary Maas '21 Women's Lunch Place, Boston, Massachusetts
Richard Matthews '19 Jesuits Province, Talasari, India
Makda Mehari '20 Placement via National Union of Eritrean Youth, Eritrea
Ciara Moezidis '21 Maximo Nivel, Cusco, Peru
Victoria Montes '21 ELI Abroad - Focus Area: Youth, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Maria Muñoz Yepez '19 IVHQ Quito/Inti School, Ecuador
Javier Ortega '20 Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose, California
Samantha Perez '19 Connect 1-2-3 - Focus Area: Human Rights, Argentina
Christopher Tian '21 IVHQ, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Vivian Vo '20 Momentum Crisis Center, Concord, California
Kaitlin Wheeler '19 IVHQ - Focus Area: Environmental Justice, Philippines
Madeline Wilcox '19 BorderLinks, Tucson, Arizona
Name   Placement
Nicholas Chan Abalimi, Cape Town, South Africa
Sarah Craven Vive Peru, Peru
Bridget Flaherty Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, Masiphumelele, South Africa
Ciaran Freeman Commonweal Magazine, New York City, New York
Jack Herstam The Message Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
Madison Hokans-Csurilla International Volunteer HQ, Uganda
Margaret Katheryn LaFountain   The Telling Room, Portland, Maine
Jessica Lew-Munoz St. Raphael's Roman Catholic School, Cape Town, South Africa
Talia Menezes YWCA of Bangalore, Bangalore, India
Harshitha Mogallapalli The Mountain Volunteer/Her Farm, Nepal
Jenna Salinas Center for Employment Training-Immigration and Citizenship Program, San Jose, CA
Cooper Scherr Projects Abroad, Cusco, Peru
Veronica Shulte Virginia Garcia Memorial Health, Portland, OR
Nicholas Spragg Nomi Network, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Grace Zimmerman Narayan Seva Children's Home, Bali, indonesia
Name   Placement

Alejandra Budar

Child and Family Health International, Bolivia

Marlene Cerritos-Rivas

Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, New Bedford, MA

Andrew Descourouez

Martin de Porres Catholic Church, Soweto, South Africa

Julie Dinh

Kinh Luan School, Vietnam

Saron Goitom

Miracle Babies, San Diego, California

Audrey Gozali

Amartya and Agua Sustenable, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Elleni Hailu

Walta Maternal and Child Health Care Organization, Ethiopia

Rani Hanstad

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Oakland, California

Maggie May

Resilient Families Program -SCU | San Jose, California

Athena Nguyen

Maximo Nive, Cusco, Perul

Isaac Nieblas

Cali-Immigration, Santa Clara, California

Sriruthi Ramesh

Equal Community Foundation Pune, India

Meheret Semma

SOS Children's Village - Nigssie Eshetie Village, Ethiopia

Thelma Valadez

Thriving Neighbors Initiative - SCU | San Jose, California

Kassamira Carter-Howard  

US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, Washington, DC

Sergio Olmedo-Ramirez

CIESED, Mexico, Puebla, Mexico

Resources & Opportunities

Jean Donovan Fellows  |  Making an Impact

Srisruthi Ramesh '17

Building a Life Disconnected from Home

Excitement, gratitude, sadness and nerves - all the feelings Sri Ramesh '17 carries with her as she embarks on a 10-month AIF Clinton Fellowship in India, the location of her 2016 Jean Donovan Fellowship.

Read Sri's Story

Promoting Love, Positivity, & Solidarity

Ciara Moezidis ‘21, ASG President and 2018 Jean Donovan Fellow, strives to emulate the best of the #BodyPosi movement with the #BroncoPosi campaign #BroncoPosi's purpose is to encourage love and promote positivity.

Read Ciara's Story
Ciara Moezidis