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Community Development Fellowships

Fist Bump TNI

The Thriving Neighbors Initiative (TNI) 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 opportunity offers an in-depth exploration of community partners and services which will be hosted at community partner agencies within the Greater Washington Neighborhood, home to the Thriving Neighbors Initiative. TNI 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.


  • 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 Engagement

  • Engage in the community for six to ten hours per week throughout the academic year (September to June) at host agency site
  • Identify host organization opportunities that align with Thriving Neighbors goals
  • In conversation with your host organization, propose and produce a final project to be presented at year-end celebration
  • Serve as liaison between the Ignatian Center and the host organization

Student Leadership

  • Co-facilitate quarterly orientations and lead student reflections for Arrupe Weekly Engagement.
  • Serve as a resource and mentor for SCU students who participate at the host organization in Arrupe Weekly Engagement
  • Participate in bi-weekly fellowship meetings and quarterly site supervisor meetings
  • Attend two student leader retreats (fall and spring)
  • Assist with ignatian Center events, as appropriate

Interns receive a modest stipend.

2017-2018 Community Development Fellows

2017-18 CDF 

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.

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 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.

Application Schedule

Stay tuned for applications! Questions? Contact us.