Vision of Mercy Fellowship
Vision of Mercy Fellowship
Center for Community Engagement and Service
Established by two faculty members who are also Sisters of Mercy, the Vision of Mercy Summer Fellowship recognizes students who are committed to the materially poor, to peace and justice, and to working with advocacy groups on behalf of underserved individuals, all in accordance with the mission of the Sisters of Mercy.
Fellowship recipients will approach the materially poor and the underserved in the tradition of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy. They will be devoted to advancing the human condition of individuals and communities, especially those that are impoverished, disadvantaged or downtrodden. Recipients are selected through a competitive application process by a committee of Sisters of Mercy and Salve Regina representatives.
The Vision of Mercy Summer Fellowship is designed for sophomores and juniors (with a preference for juniors) who already have a foundation in community engagement and are seeking an in-depth experience working on a public issue of interest related to their academic program.
Funding of $3,000 provides opportunities for students to pursue in-depth work on an issue through placement at an organization while laying the groundwork for independent community-engaged research. Preference is given to proposals for work based on Aquidneck Island, but applications for work throughout Rhode Island are also considered. Students will detail their focus on and experience with a particular issue of interest in their applications, but do not need to have identified an organization to work with.
Following acceptance of an applicant's proposal, Center for Community Engagement and Service staff will work with fellowship recipients to identify an appropriate placement with an organization. Following the five-week summer placement, students are encouraged to present their fellowship reflections the following academic year. For more information on Vision of Mercy Summer Fellowships, call Kelly Powers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service, at (401) 341-2440.
- 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.
Vision of Mercy Summer Fellowship applications consist of the following materials:
- Contact information for two Salve Regina references (one must be a faculty member who can speak to the applicant's academic abilities and skills).
- A 1-2 page, single-spaced fellowship proposal that includes clear ideas for the applicant's summer project, including area of interest, possible community organizations, likely location, type of project, target population and how the work will intersect with academic pursuits.
- An updated resume.
- 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.
Responsibilities and Commitments
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.
- Complete the project proposal and submit to the director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service before the start of the fellowship
- Group meetings via Zoom with the fellowship recipients in June and August
- One-on-one meetings with the director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service during the fellowship and at the completion
- Complete 2-3 slides to be used at a roundtable discussion in September with members of the Salve Regina community
- Promote the Vision of Mercy Summer Fellowship to the next class of fellows
- Write and submit three blog posts with photos (see attached for possible questions/reflections to consider
- Create and complete a pre and post survey with your mentor
- Checks in the amount of $1,500 will be distributed in May and September.
- Students will need to provide a W9 upon acceptance on IRS.gov.
- Please reference the tax reporting of fellowship income policy available upon request.
Determination of Eligibility
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.
2023 Fellowship Recipients
Carina Gallagher '24
Major: Criminal justice and criminology, minor in Spanish
Fellowship site: Turning Around Ministries
"Through my Vision of Mercy Fellowship, I have learned that you can truly make a difference in people's lives if you really try. Throughout my project, I was able to see how the work I was doing was making a difference each day. Even working on smaller tasks that did not seem as important as others made a huge impact on the community. It was great to see all the smaller tasks come together to create one big project."
Roseanne Lacy '25
Major: Psychology, minor in neuroscience
Fellowship site: St. Mary's of the Assumption School
"While I am not sure exactly what I want to do for a career, I am certain that I want to work in an environment where I am able to make a positive impact on those I work with and the larger community. This fellowship has helped to show me the kind of work environment that I hope to one day find myself in. At the school, there is such a strong sense of community. Everyone is always quick to offer up help, they are all very conscientious of the impacts of their actions, and seek to find solutions that will have the most positive impact on the students and the community as a whole. I feel as though everyone that I was able to work with during this experience has helped me to learn how I will strive to carry myself in my future career and in the world in general. Their strong values around service and promoting the growth of the people around them have provided me with a strong example of what I hope to bring to a future work environment."
Abigail Mensonides '24
Major: Social work
Fellowship site: EDGE New Jersey
"On an academic level, I feel a lot more gratitude than I ever had before for my educational experiences. This was one of the first times I got an opportunity to exercise a lot of what I learned in the classroom and it demonstrated to me that I've learned a lot more than I thought. And conversely, I feel like this experience has really changed the way I will spend my time in the classroom. I feel like I will be going into my senior year with a new perspective. Particularly, going into my senior field placement, I feel like I have a better understanding of how to make the most out of any experience while also sharing the skill I already have and I look forward to making that change moving forward."
Graysen Scherer '24
Major: Social work
Fellowship site: Higher Edge
"I have been able to see and be a part of an agency (that I didn’t even know existed before) that helps students in my area with navigating college and applications. I am able to spread the word in order to help more kids who want to further their education in the area. This experience has opened my eyes to more communities within the area I grew up in. I am very thankful to have found Higher Edge and learn about what they are about. I have always wanted to work with students in the realm of social work and this fellowship has deepened my desire for this and given me a glimpse of these students and their lives. It has made me even more excited about my future."
2022 Fellowship Recipients
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.
Wendy Gomez '23
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."
Katarzyna Osiecka Kaszuba '23
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."
Lia-Sophie Keller '22
Major: Criminal justice and criminology, 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 was a great experience for me," Keller said.