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Community Development Fellowships

Thriving Neighbors Initiative
Community Development Fellowships

The Community Development Fellowship is a paraprofessional community-based learning experience, which allows undergraduate students to obtain professional work experience while pursuing defined learning goals and objectives.

Social justice-oriented engagement with the community to enhance vocational discernment is the cornerstone of the program. The year-long commitment offers an in-depth exploration of community partners and services. These fellows will be placed in community partner agencies within the Greater Washington Neighborhood, home to the Thriving Neighbors Initiative (TNI) which is an initiative promoting engaged scholarship, teaching, and sustainable development facilitated by SCU’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. The initial focus of the TNI is on the five, predominantly Latino neighborhoods that make up the Greater Washington community in San Jose.

The program provides juniors and seniors with a rich and deep experience in the local community. Fellows are matched with a community partner for a full academic year, spending an average of six to eight hours per week in the community. The fellowship is designed to meet the needs of community partners but also to help fellows delve into individual passions and areas of interest. As liaisons, fellows serve as a resource for other SCU students doing community development work in the context of the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program while learning more about a profession in the public and non-profit sectors.


2017-2018 Community Development Fellows


Makinzi Myers '18 | Estrella Family Services


Makinzi is a senior from Port Orchard, Washington, pursuing majors in psychology and child studies and a minor in public health. She is passionate about early childhood education and helping less privileged children overcome obstacles. This led her to the Community Development Fellowship for a second year, as she believes it is an incredible opportunity to work with and learn from the amazing children in the community. Estrella Family Services is a huge resource to the children and families that it serves and this fellowship allows immersion into all that they do in their preschool classrooms.


Katie Reohr '18 | Sacred Heart Community Service


Originally​ ​from​ ​Portland,​ ​Oregon,​ ​Katie​ ​Reohr​ ​is​ ​a​ ​senior​​​ ​with​ ​double​ ​majors​ ​in​ ​Biology​ ​and​ ​Spanish.​ ​​ ​After​ ​graduation,​ ​she​ ​hopes​ ​to​ ​continue her​ ​education​ ​and​ ​work​ ​in​ ​a​ ​local​ ​medical​ ​clinic.​ ​​ ​ ​Her​ ​fellowship​ ​this​ ​year​ ​is working​ ​within​ ​the​ ​education​ ​department​ ​at​ ​Sacred​ ​Heart​ ​Community​ Service.​ ​​ ​Katie​ ​thrives while​ ​working​ ​in​ ​an​ ​after​ ​school​ ​program​ ​for​ ​kids​ ​ranging​ ​from​ ​six​ ​to​ ​fourteen​ ​years​ ​old.​ ​​ ​It​ ​is through​ ​this​ ​volunteering​ ​that​ ​her​ ​joy​ ​in​ ​creating​ ​bonds​ ​and​ ​helping​ ​children​ ​pursue​ ​their educational​ ​goals​ ​becomes​ ​apparent.​ ​One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bigger​ ​projects​ ​she​ ​is​ ​involved​ ​with​ ​​is​ ​teaming​ ​up​ ​with​ ​the​ ​5th​ ​graders​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Tech​ ​Challenge,​ ​hosted​ ​by​ ​the​ ​San​ ​Jose Tech​ ​Museum.​ ​​ ​Along​ ​with​ ​a​ ​other​ ​community​ ​members​ ​at​ ​Sacred​ ​Heart,​ ​she​ ​will​ ​help​ ​them understand​ ​the​ ​basics​ ​of​ ​machinery​ ​while​ ​creating​ ​a​ ​final​ ​product​ ​to​ ​showcase​ ​in​ ​April.​ ​​ ​She​ ​is excited​ ​for​ ​this​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​become​ ​invested​ ​and​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​such​ ​a​ ​loving​ ​and​ ​caring community.​ ​​ ​She​ ​is​ ​never​ ​anything​ ​other​ ​than​ ​welcomed​ ​and​ ​loved​ ​like​ ​a​ ​family​ ​member​ ​while working​ ​ ​at​ ​Sacred​ ​Heart. When ​not​ ​pursuing​ ​her​ ​passion​ ​of​ ​medicine, Katie​ ​is​ ​avidly​ ​playing​ ​soccer,​ ​participating​ ​in​ ​extracurriculars​ ​such​ ​as​ ​Peer​ ​Health​ ​Educators and​ ​Relay​ ​for​ ​Life,​ ​or​ ​volunteering​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Washington​ ​Health​ ​Clinic.​


Maria Muñoz-Yepez  '19 | Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School


Maria is a junior majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Urban Education and Ethnic Studies. She aspires to become a Child and Adolescent Psychologist that serves low-income communities. Her passion for building and promoting strong communities has led her to hold various positions on-campus and off-campus. Moreover, her experience with multiple community-based learning courses and interest in working with community organizations has led her to become a Community Development Fellow at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School. She hopes to use her skills to support Cristo Rey, but also learn from the students and staff there.

  • Must be a current sophomore or junior in good academic standing (2.5 GPA or better)
  • Must have previous experience working/learning with the community, preferably through the Ignatian Center
  • Must be able to commit six to 10 hours per week for a full academic year (includes travel time to/from site)

Community Placement

  • Engage in the community for six to eight hours per week throughout the academic year (Sept. to June) at host agency site
  • Serve as liaison to other community partners serving similar community needs
  • Participate in site visits and supervision meetings
  • Act as a liaison between the Ignatian Center and the host organization
  • In conversation with your host organization, propose and produce a final project to be presented to the organization and shared with the Ignatian Center.

Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program

  • Act as a resource person and mentor for SCU students who participate at the host organization in the Weekly Engagement Program
  • Assist with the Arrupe sign-up process and quarterly orientations and reflections for students
  • Act as a liaison between the Ignatian Center and other organizations similar to your host organization

Student Leadership

  • Participate in bi-weekly fellow meetings
  • Attend, Fall and Spring Retreat, and end-of-year celebration
  • Assist with ignatian Center events, as appropriate

Interns receive a stipend.

Staff Contacts

  • Image links to full content

    Rosa Guerra-Sarabia

    Senior Program Director for Community-based Learning

    Rosa Guerra-Sarabia serves as the Senior Program Director for Community-based Learning, overseeing the Arrupe Weekly Engagement Program. 

    (408) 554-5011  |