Summer Fellowship

fellowshipsThe Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship is named in honor of Jean Donovan, an American woman who lived, worked, and died in solidarity with the impoverished and oppressed of El Salvador in the 1980s. The Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship is designed to encourage and support undergraduate students who desire to deepen their understanding of social justice issues through a summer community-based learning experience of 5-7 weeks. The Fellowship provides $2,000 in grant funding to recipients who work a minimum of 30 hours/week with a non-profit organization locally, domestically, or abroad. All undergraduate students who will be returning to Santa Clara University for the following year are eligible. The grant is intended to help cover costs for the summer experience, such as travel, lodging, and program costs. It may also be used as a stipend for students who engage in unpaid work in the community closer to home. It may not be used toward formal study abroad programs.

Mission Statement

The Jean Donovan Fellowship offers undergraduates a high-impact community-based experience rooted in the Ignatian Center's mission of a Faith that does Justice. Fellows work with organizations in communities with little access to wealth, power and privilege in the US and internationally. Fellows deepen their understanding of solidarity and vocation through pre-and post-experience gatherings that engage students in reflective practices informed by Ignatian Spirituality.

Learning Objectives

Central to the Fellowship experience are the relationships that students develop with individuals and communities throughout their summer experience. It is through these relationships that Fellows begin to deepen their understanding of solidarity and vocation and work toward these learning objectives.

  1. Cultivate a greater understanding of the assets and challenges facing the community in which the Fellow works.
  2. Grow in commitment to specific key virtues of solidarity, simplicity, and compassion/empathy.
  3. Develop a broader and deepening understanding of personal vocation.
  4. Develop a deepened faith life.
  5. Explore the meaning and intersections of service, authenticity, and humility.


Responsibilities of Jean Donovan Fellows
  • Santa Clara undergraduate students in good academic and behavioral standing who will be returning to campus during the 2015-2016 academic year are eligible to apply for the Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship.  Students studying abroad for 1 quarter or semester during the 2015-2016 academic year are eligible to apply. Students that have not participated in previous summer Fellowships will be given priority over students that have participated in Summer Fellowships such as the Global Fellows and Global Social Benefit Fellows program.
  • Applicants are responsible for contacting and applying to work with a non-profit community-based organization of their choice. By the time of application applicants should be in contact with desired placement to discuss plans for Fellowship experience.  Refer to Helpful Hints, Program Placement Resources, and Example Projects for additional information. Fellows seeking support with this process should contact Valerie Sarma, JDF Program Director,
  • Due to safety and other risk management concerns, Donovan Fellows are unable to work in countries where a Travel Warning has been issued by the US State Department.
  • Donovan Fellows are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours/week with a non-profit community-based organization locally, domestically or abroad for 5-7 weeks during summer 2015. Donovan Fellows are unable to receive monetary compensation from the organization for their work (without special approval from the Donovan Fellowship program director).
  • Donovan Fellows receive a stipend of $2000. Of these funds $1800 is awarded in spring 2015 and the remaining funds will be awarded in fall 2015 after all Fellowship commitments have been met. This award may be used to cover transportation, lodging, and program costs. It may also be used as a stipend for students who engage in unpaid work in the community closer to home. It may not be used toward formal study abroad programs.


Donovan Fellow Meeting Responsibilities

1) Donovan Fellows participate in 5 meetings (1.5 hr./mtg.) during the spring quarter. These meetings are scheduled for the following dates:

  • Wednesday, April 8th 7:00-8:30pm 

  • Wednesday April 22nd 7:00-8:30pm 

  • Wednesday, May 6th 7:00-8:30pm 

  • Wednesday, May 20th 7:00-8:30pm 

  • Wednesday, June 3rd 7:00-8:30pm

2) Donovan Fellows participate in a weekend retreat to discuss and reflect upon their summer experiences during the fall quarter – October 2-4, 2015 (winter quarter if students are abroad in the fall).

3) Donovan Fellows participate in 3 additional meetings during the fall quarter 2015.

4) Donovan Fellows participate in selection process and preparation process for the following year's recipients in Winter and Spring quarters 2016.

Laurie Laird Jean Donovan Fellowship

Laurie LairdLaurie Laird was instrumental in implementation of the Jean Donovan Fellowship when it was created in 2000 through a gift from the Jesuit Community and leadership from Catherine Wolff. Students were seeking to deepen their commitment to social justice and were limited with options as many community-based and local organizations did not have the resources to offer a funding, which students needed to assist with expenses for the following academic year. Through Laurie's leadership the structure for the Fellowship including a comprehensive preparation process and post-experience retreat. There have been over 150 Fellows who have served throughout the world since the Fellowship was created. Many of these Fellows have considered Laurie as a mentor to them on their journey to live more fully into the Ignatian values of solidarity, simplicity and compassion. 

In 2013 Laurie relocated to Portland, Oregon where she serves as the Associate Director of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Northwest. She leaves behind a great legacy through her leadership at the Ignatian Center and her contributions in the field of community-based learning.  Each year a Jean Donovan Fellow seeking to work on issues related to food justice, women in the developing world or with local organizations will be selected in honor of Laurie. This Fellow will have the opportunity to share his/her proposal and to meet with Laurie. Gifts to this Fellowship should be directed to the Ignatian Center's Laurie Laird Jean Donovan Fellowship.


Application Process

  • Review Responsibilities of Jean Donovan Fellows and Donovan Fellow Meeting Responsibilities in the section above.
  • Application Deadline - February 4th 3:00PM
  • Fellowship Notification – February 20th
  • Deadline for Acceptance of Fellowship –March 1st  

Additional Information

Helpful Hints

Program Placement Resources

Fellows and Projects

Paintbrush Diplomacy

Find out about the Ignatian Center's collaboration with Paintbrush Diplomacy to facilitate artwork exchanges locally and abroad. Read More

Contact Information

Valerie Sarma:


The application deadline for 2015 Fellowships has passed.



Read more about Megan Anders, a Donovan Fellow who was profiled in the NCAA final four magazine.

Fellowship Profiles


Read more about the experience of past Jean Donovan Summer Fellows.