Maine Community Fellowship

About the Program
Student Application
Community Partner Application
Davidson Summer Fellowship
Fellowship Placement Sites
Past Maine Community Fellowships
Program Contact Information

About the Program

CMM site visit 2013

The Maine Community Fellowship program provides students the opportunity to work and serve in the local community by way of a placement in a specific organization to address community issues while strengthening campus-community partnerships. Meant to capitalize on students' interests, the fellowship allows students to explore work in the public sector while developing an understanding of issues at the local level — what they are, and how to solve problems related to these issues by working with a broad spectrum of community leaders. This 10-week fellowship includes a $5000 stipend, and fellows are eligible for on-campus housing. In addition to their placements, students convene regularly with other fellows for reflection and problem solving. Most fellowship placements go from early June to mid-August.

As part of the program, fellows are required to:

  • Participate in an orientation to the program during the first week of June;
  • Convene regularly with other fellows and staff for discussion, reflection and problem solving and to identify common themes among participating agencies that might be addressed in the future;
  • Present a summary of the experience to participating agencies, students, faculty and staff at the end of the summer;
  • Participate in an evaluation of the program at the end of the summer to help craft future program components.

Interest in public issues, academic record, and financial need are all important criteria for fellowship applicants, although students not receiving aid are eligible if a paying summer job is a necessity. 

If you are interested in working on an environmental or sustainability-related project, please consider the Maine-Based Fellowships offered by the Environmental Studies program primarily for students majoring in Environmental Studies. For more information, contact Eileen Johnson.

Student Application

Students will be applying to individual organizations that are participating in the MCF program this year. Students can apply to up to 4 MCF organizations. The Maine Community Fellowship application for Summer 2018 is due on February 7, 2018 at 12pm EST. Application info and community partner placement options can be found in our MCF information sheet and you can access the application here.

MCF applications consist of the following materials:

  • Student contact information, basic financial aid information, and transportation options
  • A personalized resume & cover letter for EACH organization the student is applying to
  • Two listed references (just contact info, not letters), including at least one Bowdoin faculty member

Students are encouraged to utilize the Bowdoin Career Planning Center (CPC) staff and resources to craft personalized and compelling resumes and cover letters for this program. For more information on how to write a resume, visit the CPC's resume and cover letter resource pages.

Community Partner Application

Partners for World Health Scholes

Community partner organizations are selected through a competitive application process each year in November and December. Organizations looking for information on that process can see our Community Partner Information Sheet. The application deadline for community partners has passed for Summer 2018. Please look for more information on Summer 2019 in early fall and do not hesitate to contact us with questions in the meantime.

Applications must include the following materials:

  • Contact Information for the partner organization supervisor
  • A brief overall description of the fellowship position at the organization, including a description of the organization
  • Answers to the following questions:
    • What are 2 potential projects a fellow could take on in the summer?
    • What can the organization provide the student in terms of skills, professional development, connections to the community, and learnings about the organization?
    • How will the placement benefit or build capacity for the organization?

Organizations will be notified of their status in the second week of December. Organizations who are not selected as MCF sites may still find other Bowdoin students with summer fellowship funding to fill their needs. The McKeen Center can help facilitate this process.

Davidson Summer Fellowship

Named in honor of George T. Davidson, Jr. ’38, this fellowship is part of the Maine Community Fellowship program and honors a gifted alumnus of generous spirit who transformed thousands of people’s lives, young and old alike, through his teaching, mentorship, counseling and personal integrity.

This 10-week fellowship provides a $5,000 stipend and fellows are eligible for on campus housing. Davidson Fellows work with organizations that serve the needs of young people through direct service programs or research in areas related to youth.  

The 2017 Davidson Summer Fellow was Julianna Burke '18, who worked at ArtVan in Brunswick, ME.

Fellowship Placement Sites

Preble Street Colin

Please note that these were our 2017 placement sites. 2018 fellowship sites will be listed in December 2017.

ArtVan (Public Art/Diverse Communities) -- Brunswick, ME

ArtVan is a mobile arts therapy organization whose mission is to provide a creative and collaborative environment to encourage youth who have little or no arts access to fully express their imaginations, relationships and experiences within themselves, among their peers and across our communities. They bring arts to the people in their colorful painted van to those who have the least amount of social services, after school and summer activities available to them.

Fellows projects may include:

  • Design and implement an art therapy project to address the basic needs of under-resourced youth that deals with issues including self esteem, empowerment, pride in neighborhood, and isolation;
  • Learning about marketing and social media as a vehicle for program outreach. The fellow may develop a marketing plan or materials as well as outreach strategies.

Community Financial Literacy
 (Immigration/Financial Education) -- Portland, ME

Community Financial Literacy offers financial literacy courses and one-on-one financial counseling for individuals and families. Their services are open to all refugees, immigrants, asylees, and low-income individuals in Greater Portland and Lewiston/Auburn, Maine. 

Fellows projects may include:

  • Gathering data on immigrant and refugee services across the nation on economic sustainability. Their board has approved an extended mission so now they are working on finding ways to implement the new program including micro enterprise, facilitating funding for higher education to refugees, immigrants, and disadvantaged families. The Fellow will work on research and data collection to support these new initiatives. They will also assess best practices from other service providers;
  • Research and support the creation of a new education program on overdraft fees and overdraft protection that the organization plans to launch in 2017.

The Gathering Place
(Poverty/Homelessness) -- Brunswick, ME

The Gathering Place is a drop-in center a short walk from Bowdoin campus that serves the homeless and deeply poor of the Brunswick area. Their mission is to provide a safe, welcoming and comfortable space, where guests find respect, encouragement, companionship and hope. They provide hot drinks, snacks, games, computers and shelter. They invite a Bowdoin fellow to participate directly in this mission and pursue projects that provide scaffolding for improvements in their services. The fellow will work as a volunteer at the Day Shelter, getting to know guests and their needs, as a springboard to projects that help the organization set goals for better serving their guests.

Fellows projects may include:

  • The development of a “pathways to community services” database which will support a navigational tool that documents available community resources. A great deal of information could be compiled from web pages, but the fellow would also make phone calls and travel around the community to connect with resource providers in order to build a fuller understanding of possible connections between the organization and direct service providers;
  • Having recently completed a major capital campaign resulting in a new building and greater capacity for events, they are interested in increasing their services. Small initiatives, like adding Saturday hours, or larger changes, like scheduled programming with partner organizations, all rely on good understanding of the investments of volunteers and guests for success. Thus, they need a broad statistical sense of who they serve and the variability of their needs and interests. Some information can be drawn from observational data (70-80 people come to TGP on a typical day) and correlations (attendance is higher when the public library is closed). Additional data might be gathered in focus groups moderated by the fellow.

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
(Immigrant & Refugee Communities/Law) – Portland, ME

The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) is Maine’s only statewide legal aid agency dedicated to providing legal assistance on immigration issues to low-income immigrants. ILAP helps Maine’s immigrants keep their families together, gain protection from persecution and domestic violence, attain residency and work authorization, and become proud U.S. citizens. 

Fellows projects may include:

  • Develop and expand the capacity of ILAP's Pro Se Immigration Clinic. The Fellow will meet 1:1 with clients to assist them with completing and filing applications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Assist ILAP's Project Citizenship Program. ILAP is working to develop a workshop style program to assist clients in applying for U.S. Citizenship. The Fellow will be responsible for assisting with the coordination of these workshops as well as training volunteers on how to complete applications for U.S. Citizenship

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program
(Food Security) – Brunswick, ME

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program works to provide hungry people with access to healthy food, to improve the quality of their lives by partnering with others and serve them in a manner that recognizes their dignity. We assist households living at or below poverty in Brunswick, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Durham, Harpswell, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls, and Topsham. 

Fellows projects may include:

  • Supporting and implementing the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The fellow will devise and implement an outreach strategy to raise awareness and increase participation at 10 SFSP sites. In 2016, MCHPP served over 12,000 meals to children through the SFSP. The fellow will participate in daily meal preparation for 10 sites, followed by distribution of meals and supervision of children at a MCHPP open site in Brunswick. During the course of the summer, the fellow will create and administer surveys to children and their families to determine the effectiveness of the program. They will analyze the survey data, summarize and present findings for possible implementation. 
  • MCHPP is developing a pilot program of a mobile food pantry to increase the quantity and quality of food available food pantries to Harpswell, Durham, Lisbon and Lisbon Falls by reducing the barrier of transportation. The fellow will be researching potential sites, taking into consideration local food resources, transportation options and population density. If desired, they can participate in the GIS training offered by Bowdoin College to use this skill to depict the various factors considered in selecting potential sites. The fellow will consolidate the findings in a report to be presented to senior management and potentially the MCHPP board. 

Mitchell Institute
(Education Policy) – Portland, ME

The Mitchell Institute is the only statewide scholarship program and research organization in Maine. The mission of the Institute, established by Senator George J. Mitchell, is to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue, and achieve a college education.  They seek candidates with a passion for expanding access to education through a non-profit setting. The fellow will join a small, collegial staff in their Portland office to support the work of the scholarship program, assist with Maine-focused education research projects, expand marketing strategies, and help with other duties as needed. 

Fellows projects may include:

  • Collaborating with colleagues to plan and implement signature events and programs; 
  • Developing content for various Mitchell Institute communication channels to promote the organization’s offerings;
  • Assisting with distribution of an annual college student and alumni research survey; 
  • Collecting, entering, analyzing, and summarizing data using Excel and a new database. 

Portland Housing Authority
(Housing Policy/Immigrant & Refugee Communities) – Portland, ME

Together with its community partners, the Portland Housing Authority (PHA) provides and expands affordable housing and services that improve quality of life, build community, enhance safety and promote personal success for the people we serve and the neighborhoods in which they reside. The PHA provides safe, affordable housing options to over 2,700 households through its public housing and Housing Choice voucher programs. Around 75% of families living in Portland public housing have a country of origin other than the United States; most predominantly Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Fellows projects may include:

  • Support outreach efforts for the community needs assessments and development projects in public housing neighborhoods around the City of Portland;
  • Analyze data gathered; research opportunities to meet needs and overcome barriers; and based on these findings and analysis, make recommendations to the PHA to improve the use, efficacy, access to and interest in, its services;
  • The fellow will also support outreach efforts for our development department and possibly research opportunities, services, programs, and grants to address established needs and make recommendations to the PHA.

Preble Street: Maine Hunger Initiative
(Food Security) – Portland, ME

Driven by its mission, for over 40 years Preble Street has continuously responded to urgent and emergent social problems by meeting basic needs, developing and implementing solutions, and advocating for policies that eliminate the root causes of homelessness and hunger. The Summer Fellow will join Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative (MHI) in advocating for solutions to end hunger in Maine and helping low-income households move toward economic self-sufficiency. The Fellow will help expand access to USDA federal nutrition programs in Maine and support the work of Preble Street Food Programs—the largest emergency food service delivery operation in northern New England—distributing meals and pantry food to those who are homeless or hungry. The Fellow will develop an understanding of the causes and effects of hunger and poverty, the emergency food system, and public policy around hunger including government benefit programs, as well as volunteerism, community organizing, and group facilitation. 

Fellows projects may include:

  • Increasing access to USDA Federal Nutrition Programs including: 
    • Improving Food Supplement Program participation among seniors and working families. Project goals include increasing enrollment and participation through outreach and application assistance at food pantries and senior housing facilities and recruiting and training volunteers to further this work; 
    • Supporting and implementing the USDA Summer Food Service Program Summer Meals for Kids in underserved communities in across Maine. Project goals include identifying eligible sites, finding potential community partners and site locations, identifying strategies to increase program effectiveness by researching best practice models and providing recommendations; 
  • Supporting best-practices food delivery at Preble Street Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry to ensure a safe, respectful, low-barrier environment for Preble Street clients and help connect hungry people to programs that can help them move beyond hunger. 

Past Maine Community Fellows & Fellowships

Read more about our past fellows and the work they did with our community partner organizations:
20172016201520142013201220112010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 

Program Contact Information

For more information on the Maine Community Fellowship throughout the year please contact Tom Ancona

During the 2017-18 Academic Year, please feel free to contact our Summer Fellowship McKeen Fellows, Leah Howard or Liam Nicoll. Liam and Leah have office hours in the McKeen Center from 8a to 10a on Tuesday and from 2p to 4p on Thursday during Fall semester.