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Swarthmore Civic Scholars

Meet the inaugural cohort of Swarthmore Civic Scholars! Clockwise from top left: Shamsa Belgrave '26, Pedro Cruz '25, Happy Hadia Ingabire '26, Clara Ximena Villalba '26, Carolin Obispo '26, and Lena Massengale '25.

Linking academics with action empowers students to tap into the rich body of knowledge, experience, and passion that fuels them, while providing communities with students trained to contribute to their social change efforts. We call this "Engaged Scholarship." The Civic Scholar program seeks to open new pathways for communities and campus to engage with each other, enhance networks (social capital) of students and community members beyond Swarthmore College, and increase capacity of both students and communities to achieve their civic and social responsibility goals. To that end, this program provides students with mentoring, education, training, and funding over two (possible three) years. Swarthmore Civic Scholars is a program of the Lang Center and the Richard Rubin Mentoring Program. 

Learning Goals

  • Increase understanding of community assets and stakeholders
  • Enhance capability for perspective taking, integration of knowledge and practice, and systems thinking 

Program Benefits

  • Funding for two summer experiences such as an internship, project, or research fellowship ($6000 for each summer)
  • Educational enhancement funding for two academic years ($1500 each year). Note: This funding is intended to serve as a resource for educational expenses outside the College's Cost of Attendance. Normal educational expenses are considered as part of the College's need-based financial aid program.
  • Mentoring from within Swarthmore College community, including alumni
  • Cohort gatherings

Selection Criteria

  • First generation and/or low income students
  • Demonstrated commitment to social change or civic action
  • Self awareness and critical reflection
  • Commitment to Engaged Scholarship


    • The Lang Center exists to support all Swarthmore students, regardless of political affiliations or views, age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. 
    • To be eligible for summer funding from the Lang Center, students must be (1) a currently enrolled Swarthmore College undergraduate in their freshman or sophomore year and (2) in good standing at Swarthmore College. 
    • If you are an international student (on an F1 or J1 visa) considering opportunities to work off campus (in either a paid or unpaid position), please contact Jennifer Marks-Gold before you accept any positions to ensure you maintain your legal status. 

    Not sure if you want to apply?

    • Contact Jen Magee (jmagee1) or Karen Henry (khenry1) for one-on-one advising. We are happy to meet with you!

    Examples of Education & Training 

    Fall Semester

    • Impact Gaps Canvas workshop 
    • Design Thinking workshop

    Winter Break

    • Walk through asynchronous, online systems change "crash course" over winter break (non credit bearing)

    Spring Semester

    • Take PEAC 009. Introduction to Engaged Scholarship course for credit during spring, ideally during your first year as a Civic Scholar.
    • Choose one Engaged Scholarship (ESCH) course to take for credit during fall or spring of second year within the program. 
    • System Thinking for Social Change workshop series 

    Note: This grant is not in service of Swarthmore College and does not create an employment relationship between the student(s) and Swarthmore College.

    Contact Person

    Jennifer Magee

    Director, Program Development, Implementation, & Assessment

    Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility

    Peace & Conflict Studies


    1. Phone: (610) 328-7320
    2. Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility 204

    Dr. Magee provides leadership and support for key programs of the Center that fund the work of social responsibility, including the Engaged Scholarship Research Grant program for faculty and for students: Lang Opportunity Scholarship Program, Lang Social Impact Fellowship, Pilot Project Grant Program, Project Pericles Fund of Swarthmore College, and Davis Projects for Peace. Office hours by appointment.