Community Engagement Fellowship

street in Pittsburgh with Cathedral of Learning in the background

The Community Engagement Fellowship program is a community-based cohort program designed to foster experiential and integrative learning in affiliated community organizations.  Students will be matched to complete their MSW Field Practicum with community agencies in the Pittsburgh region that focus on service to minority communities. Students will gain a deeper understanding of community engagement and development skills that advance the goals and mission of the organization while also developing leadership skills. 

You can see 2019-2020 Community Engagement Fellows presentations here.

Applications Closed


Program Benefits

Training Stipend:

  • $4,000 for generalist placements
  • $6,000 for specialization placements

Field Placement Options:            

Students will be placed at affiliated agencies within the Pittsburgh area that focus on service and engagement with minority communities. There will be one student placed at each University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center.

Program Learning Objectives

Community Engagement Students will participate in a monthly interdisciplinary seminar meeting where they will join their peers to report on their progress, receive instruction, and learn more from local leaders in community engagement. Students will also participate in a guest speaker dinner each term. There will be a final presentation at the end of the year to community partners and Pitt faculty and students showcasing the work that students have completed at their Field Practicum sites. 

Participants will gain exposure and build skills in the following areas:

  • How to effectively outreach to improve community engagement
  • Working with elected officials
  • Building trust in communities to establish strong group and intergroup relations
  • Community Needs Assessments
  • Supporting community/organizational agendas through various local, state, federal and institutional resources
  • Professional organization leadership skills
  • Professional presentation skills

Participation Commitments

Ongoing participation is critical to the success of this training program.   It is estimated that students will spend approximately 5-8 hours per week on activities and meetings related to this training program.   Students are required to attend a monthly seminar (meeting) with their peers Attendance at these seminars is mandatory and will count towards students total field practicum hours.

Students will receive a training fellowship for their participation in the Community Engagement Fellowship. Generalist students will receive $4,000 and Specialized Practice students will receive $6,000.

The cohort month meetings will explore the following topics

  1. How to effectively and respectfully engage within the Hill District & Homewood
  2. Community engagement strategies
  3. Working with elected officials
  4. History of community organizing efforts in the Homewood Community
  5.  History of community organizing efforts in the Hill Community
  6. Community Needs Assessments


  • Full time MSW students within the Community Organization and Social Administration specialization

Application Requirements

  1. Updated resume
  2. Statement of interest
    1. Please answer these questions:
      1. Why is community engagement an important component to Social Work education?
      2. Why are you interested in learning more about community engagement?
  3. Unofficial transcript
  4. Letter of reference (can be professional or academic).

Please email this link to your recommender (professional recommendation from a work or internship supervisor is suggested). Letter of Recommendation forms can be found here

Selection Process (include process steps, including interview)

  • Number of positions:  8 (4 first year and 4 second year/advanced standing)
  • Composition of selection committee:  2 faculty members and 1-3 community members
  • Finalists may be interviewed by 2 selection committee members
  • All applicants will be notified of their status (accepted, wait-listed, and denied) by May 1st.

Time Line

Application Deadline:                                     March 15th

Interview and Review:                                   March 15 –April 24th

Notification:                                                   May 1st

Candidate Acceptance Deadline:                 May 15th

If there are unfilled positions, rolling applications will be accepted and reviewed:  May – July

Rolling application and wait list notification:  August 15th

Waitlist Policy

Once a student formally accepts a fellowship appointment, they will be removed from any other training program wait list. 

Contact Information

Program Administrator:                 Alicia Melnick, MSW, LCSW                                                         

Phone:                                                  (412) 624-4071