Community-Engaged Fellows

Part of the university-wide initiative, DU Grand Challenges, CCESL powers the Community-Engaged Fellows program who are DU advanced undergraduate (3rd year and above) and graduate students that are passionate advocates for the public purpose of higher education and DU’s public good mission. They have experience working with communities to address identified needs and solve public problems. They believe in the power of authentic community engagement to support thriving communities and understand its utility as a method for research, teaching, and creative work. They seek to integrate community engagement into their own scholarship and future professional endeavors.


The 2022 - 2023 application is now closed. Check back in May 2023 for next year's application.

Questions? Email Us!

What do Community-Engaged Fellows do?

Advancing Community Engagement at DU

Fellows serve as ambassadors of community engagement within their units as well as across campus by supporting the work of CCESL including attending and supporting CCESL events, tabling to raise awareness of CCESL, support Scholar recruitment, and giving presentations to departments/units, student organizations, and classes. 


Each Fellow mentors a cohort of CCESL Student Scholars, providing guidance and facilitating critical reflection in action-planning, relationship development, ePortfolio creation, and topics specific to Scholars’ community engagement projects. Each fellow is matched with CCESL Student Scholars based on shared research interests, personal and professional goals in social justice, and/or community-engaged endeavor. 

Community-Engaged, Collaborative Work

Fellows develop and implement a community-engaged project, with at least one community partner, aligned with their personal, professional, and academic development goals. Fellows may come into the program with a project idea or may develop an idea early in the Fall Quarter. Community-engaged projects include scholarship (e.g. as part of their thesis/dissertation research) as well as other creative, collaborative work.

Fellowship & Peer Learning

Fellowship – including peer learning and support – is a core benefit and responsibility of CCESL Fellows. Fellows actively participate in weekly professional and personal development hosted by CCESL Staff for hands-on workshops and peer support. Workshop topics include but are not limited to youth/adult partnerships, power/privilege/oppression, community-engaged methods, and theories of the public good in contemporary American higher education.


Fellows engage in ongoing reflection and support the reflective practice of the Scholars they mentor. All CCESL students, including Fellows, create a critical reflection ePortfolio to curate artifacts, document and assess their learning, and make connections between their work and their field of study, professional identity, etc.


Additional Details

Fellows receive access to project funds, opportunities to participate in ongoing community-engaged research efforts, professional development, mentorship, and access to a network of peers who are using community engagement in their scholarly pursuits. They are paid an hourly wage of $20.00/hour for 10 hours/week during the academic year.

Fellows must be able to commit 10 hours a week to the program. That commitment includes a standing 90-minute weekly team meeting and an individual bi-weekly 30 minute check-in. Fellows are asked to spend at least 4 hours a week in the CCESL office and/or at CCESL-sponsored events. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis.


Full Position Description

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The Community-Engaged Fellows Application

The 2022 - 2023 application is now closed. Check back in May 2023 for next year's application.

Email with Questions

2022-2023 CE Fellows Projects

  • Jackie Tran

    What Does It Mean to Belong?

    In the wake of the racial injustice protests, organizations have increasingly been exploring and implementing DEIB initiatives, but this equity focus has not necessarily resulted in environments of belonging. Jackie's project would explore what it means to truly "belong" as a BIPOC individual in traditionally and predominantly white spaces, including higher education (DU) and the nonprofit and philanthropic space. Project activities may include: research into current DEIB initiatives; interviews with BIPOC students, faculty, staff, and community partners; ideation on how to create and sustain safe and brave spaces.

  • Shubham Sapkota

    Buddhist Teachings & Values as Pedagogical & Research Methods

    Shipra's project is focused on trying to understand how best we can make use of Buddhist teachings and values as pedagogical, program, and research methods at DU. Shipra is hoping to build upon the past two years of work, and come up with a concrete plan on how these methods can be applied into research and teaching. This includes exploring how it would look like for gallery/museum exhibitions and examining ways to demonstrate them in a decolonized manner that does justice to indigenous and local communities.

  • Ash Mach

    Participatory Action Research Project on Community Music Programs in Denver

    Ash will assist the Arapahoe Philharmonic in their community engagement programming. This will include revitalizing previous projects that were paused due to COVID as well as developing a new program for young composers.

  • Natcha Srimaneerungroj

    Stories of Researchers

    Surrounded by researchers who study social problems such as homelessness and human trafficking Natcha is inspired by their leadership, impact, and their story leading up to today. Natcha plans to use these connections to create a project involving creative writing or a visual which will tell the inspiring stories of 5-6 researchers she is closely connected to (from  DU, CU Anschutz, UC Denver, and MSU). 

  • Jenna Wyatt

    Metro DNA Liaison

    The Metro Denver Nature Alliance (Metro DNA) is a growing coalition of non-profit, government, research, and private sector members seeking to align nature-based efforts to ensure more equitable access to nature and to promote healthy people, communities, and natural places. Jenna Wyatt will assist with organizational/project management and assist with logistical support for the Regional Equity Assessment and the Regional Conservation Assessment. Jenna is the Organizational Intern for Metro DNA, who has a long-standing relationship with DU.

  • Colleen Cummings

    Valverde Movement Project

    Colleen is planning to work on the Valverde Movement Project as a community-engaged fellow. The Valverde Movement Project is a project that focuses on naming harm, centering harm, and building on collective strengths. She will be building an organizing committee that has goals of movement building in and for the community. 

  • Lusungu Chirambo

    Empowering Girls through Education

    Lusungu plans to collaborate with different charities that focus on empowering and keeping girls in school and keeping them from child marriages.

  • Derek Brannon

    Strive Prep

    Derek will be continuing two projects, both of which center on ecological minded education and care. For the last two years, Derek has been part of a research team that is a collaboration between the Graduate School of Social Work, Metro State University, and Denver Public Schools. They are currently co-creating a ecological minded professional development curriculum with a team of teachers from the district. This effort is running parallel with another project with similar goals, but focuses on working youth activists in DPS. For his second project, Derek will continue mentoring DU undergraduate students, helping them craft sustainability curriculum for STRIVE Prep, a middle school in DPS.

  • Naichen Zhao

    K-12 Education Equity

    Naichen will work on a K-12 equity project alongside a CCESL-connected faculty member who has been collaborating with Westminster High School on a STEM mentoring program. 

  • Bennett Shapiro

    Environmental Justice in Denver

    Bennett will be researching environmental justice in the Denver Metro area by focusing on the health and wellness benefits of urban green spaces, as well as issues of access and equity in those spaces.

  • Mona Moayedi

    Revival of Roots & Heritage

    Mona will work on a series of projects whose objective is the revival of the ancient roots and cultural heritage of the colonized people and emigrants, and to dissolve the otherness in a multicultural society providing familiarity, engagement, and inclusivity. 

    cultural decolonization; activism against racial, gendered, and ethnic oppression through academic research, education, art, music, and public events.

  • Brandon Arneson

    Youth Organizing

    Brandon and Dani Chavez will support youth organizing with high school students at Dr. Martin Luther King Early College. Guided by community organizing principles, their team will aid DMLK students to learn the power of their voice and to identify, research, and take action on an issue they are passionate about.

  • Dani Chavez

    Youth Organizing

    Dani Chavez and Brandon Arneson will support youth organizing with high school students at Dr. Martin Luther King Early College. Guided by community organizing principles, their team will aid DMLK students to learn the power of their voice and to identify, research, and take action on an issue they are passionate about. Dani will also be working with Valverde Movement Project on youth community outreach to better understand community needs.

  • Calvin Lee

    Online Media Platforms & Identity Formation

    Calvin is interested in exploring how online media platforms (social media, gaming, Twitch, etc.) influence individual and community identity formation in ways that are similar and different than in other environments. Calvin is also interested in understanding how these modalities affect the experiences of individuals and communities holding marginalized identities. 

Note: All CCESL programs, including this one, undergo an antiracist, anti-oppression review at least annually. This year, changes were made to program materials and applications based on that review.