Vision of Mercy Fellowship

Center for Community Engagement and Service

The Vision of Mercy Fellowship offers undergraduate students a high-impact, community-based experience rooted in Salve Regina's mercy mission. Fellows work with local, domestic or international organizations committed to the materially poor, to peace and justice, and to advocacy and action related to the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy.

The fellowship supports undergraduate students who desire to deepen their commitment to the vision and works of mercy through a summer learning experience of five or more weeks. These experiences are an opportunity for students to discern how best to dedicate their lives – professionally or vocationally – to the work of mercy. All students who will be returning to Salve Regina for the following academic year are eligible.

The fellowship provides up to $3,000 in grant funding to recipients who work approximately 30 hours per week with a nonprofit organization locally, domestically or abroad. Funding is intended to help cover costs such as travel, lodging and program fees. Up to three fellowships may be awarded each year.

  • Must be an undergraduate student, in good academic standing, enrolled for the current academic year, who will be returning to Salve Regina for the following academic year. Students studying abroad for one semester during the academic year are eligible to apply.
  • Must demonstrate a commitment to the materially poor, to peace and justice and to working with advocacy groups in keeping with the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: Immigration, earth, racism, nonviolence and women.
  • Must submit an application highlighting your commitment to individuals and/or populations impacted by one of the critical concerns, identifying the partner organization with whom you would be working and reflecting on how this fellowship might inform your future vocational or professional interests.

  • Describe your vision of mercy and justice in the world and in your local community. Explain how you have developed this understanding and commitment and what your vocational and professional hopes are beyond Salve Regina. Describe your past experiences working with the materially poor, working to advance peace and justice, and/or advocacy and action related to the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy. Include details such as names of agencies or advocacy groups, dates and locations of your service. Reflect on how these experiences and your studies at Salve Regina have shaped your larger vocational and professional aspirations related to our mercy mission.
  • Describe your specific proposal for the fellowship in detail, including the local, domestic or international community-based organization you will partner with and your proposed project within the fellowship. Include contact information for your fellowship site, proposed dates of service and proposed activities as part of the fellowship, as well as your budget proposal (up to $3,000). Also describe your vision for addressing the particular critical concern that is the focus of your fellowship, reflecting on the larger structural realities that inform this critical concern, and consider how your fellowship engages with these larger realities locally or globally.

Finalists will be invited to participate in an interview process with the director of community engagement and service, the vice president for mission integration and members of the fellowship committee.


Community-based organization engaging the critical concerns: Applicants are responsible for contacting the nonprofit organization to arrange for their fellowship commitment. By the time of application, you should be in contact with your desired placement to discuss plans for the fellowship experience. Kelly Powers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service, is available to support prospective fellows in determining an appropriate community-based organization.

Location restrictions: Due to safety and other risk management concerns, fellows are unable to work in countries where a level 3 or 4 travel advisory has been issued by the U.S. Department of State.

Time commitment: Fellows are expected to work approximately 30 hours per week with a nonprofit, community-based organization locally, domestically or abroad for five weeks or longer during the summer. Fellows are unable to receive monetary compensation from the organization for their work without special approval from the director of community engagement and service.

Use of funds: Fellows receive a maximum grant of $3,000. This grant may be used to cover transportation, lodging and program costs, and may also be used as a stipend for students who engage in unpaid work at their community partner during their fellowship. The grant may not be used toward formal study abroad programs. A full budget designating use of funds is required with the application.

Formation and reflection: Fellows are required to participate in two preparation meetings (1.5 hours/meeting) during the spring semester. Fellows are also required to maintain a reflection blog during the fellowship period and submit a reflection report following the fellowship experience. During the fall semester following their fellowship, fellows are also required to participate in a daylong retreat to discuss and reflect upon their summer fellowship. Fellows that study abroad in the fall semester will participate in the retreat during the spring semester. Fellows may also be asked to participate in selection and preparation for the following year’s fellowship recipients.

Recipients are selected by the Vision of Mercy scholarship/fellowship committee, a self-perpetuating group of approximately 5-7 individuals, the majority of whom are Sisters of Mercy, mercy associates or Salve Regina alumnae.

Potential recipients are chosen by the committee’s consensus agreement based on the required criteria, with special emphasis placed on the content and quality of the applicant’s proposal, the fellowship interview and the strength of the letters of support. The ideal recipient will approach the materially poor and the underserved in the tradition of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy. The recipient will be devoted to advancing the human condition of individuals and communities, especially those who are impoverished, disadvantaged or downtrodden. In short, he/she will be committed to advocate for the core values of the Sisters of Mercy.

Student Testimonials

Elizabeth Baza ’24

Major: Cultural and historic preservation, Italian studies minor

Fellowship site: Newport Community School

“The idea for my Vision of Mercy project was borne out of necessity,” Baza said. “Thompson Middle School students, after coming back to school full-time, had an increase in roughness between peers and this became worrisome to the faculty and staff.” In collaboration with Tracy Shea, director of the Newport Community School, she developed an initiative to use Salve Regina students as hall monitors. Baza created a training plan and outlined eligibility requirements and expectations. She also developed an incentive plan designed to promote nonviolence among the Thompson student population.

Major: Elementary education, minor in special education

Fellowship site: Generation Teach

Generation Teach recruits high school and college students to address racial injustice and inequity in education by engaging elementary and middle school students in summer learning. “Today’s educational opportunities are not as they were years ago,” Gomez said. “Room for improvement in the system remains.” During the month-long internship, she worked alongside the program director, participated in department meetings and collaborated with other teaching fellows and support staff. “Finding an organization that your interests align with can be a struggle,” Gomez said. “I am thankful Salve offered this opportunity. I am looking forward to making a difference with racial injustice and inequity in education.”

Major: Marketing, minor in business administration

Fellowship site: Bike Newport

During the academic year, Kaszuba volunteers at Bike Newport as a Service Advocate. When presented with the opportunity to apply for the fellowship, she knew she couldn’t pass up the chance to serve during Bike Newport’s busiest season. Throughout the fellowship, Kaszuba helped to organize Bike Newport’s database, assisted with bike rentals and designed posters promoting the rental program. “I learned a lot during my time at Bike Newport and through my fellowship,” she said. “While I didn’t exactly know what my summer would consist of, I enjoyed it very much and had a great experience through this opportunity.”

Major: Administration of justice, minor in psychology

Fellowship site: Conexion Latina Newport

Conexion Latina Newport supports the city’s Hispanic/Latino community. The organization offers resources such as home-buying workshops and vaccination clinics, works to address the root causes of immigration and seeks to provide a better life for immigrants on Aquidneck Island. During her fellowship, Keller experienced firsthand the difficulties that Spanish-speaking residents face when seeking support. She worked to spread the word about Conexion Latina to employers throughout Rhode Island, maintained the website and connected with immigration lawyers who could assist the organization. “Working alongside incredible people and learning more about the problems in the community were a great experience for me,” Keller said.