The Spirituality, Service and Social Change Fellowship integrates spiritual exploration with service to communities in the Bay Area. Established nearly two decades ago for students considering careers in the ministry, the fellowship was reorganized in 2003 to attract students from diverse religious and spiritual traditions.

The H. Michael Stevens Family, the Franklin Fund and Stanford’s Office for Religious Life (ORL) collaboratively support this fellowship opportunity. Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, dean of Religious Life, serves as an academic mentor to the students who are awarded this fellowship. She meets with the fellow(s) to determine academic preparation for summer service and post service advising.

These partners are committed to helping students clarify individual personal beliefs that motivate actions toward social justice. Through a variety of activities, the program provides a forum for students to question and examine the complementary connections between direct service and public policy. Activities include direct service, selected readings and a weekly discussion seminar.

Spirituality, Service, and Social Change fellows have a nine-week, full-time summer experience working at organizations identified by Haas Center staff. Fellows may work in arenas such as health care, education, human rights, environmental justice, hunger and homelessness, youth empowerment, immigrant rights, and affordable housing. The fellowship also includes a weekly seminar facilitated by fellowship organizers to discuss readings and work experiences.

Students may also identify and research their own placements; however, those students must effectively demonstrate that their intended partner organization is a well-run organization, inclusive, non-proselytizing and non-partisan. Students interested in working with a particular organization are encouraged to apply, and staff will work with them to assess the appropriateness of this placement.

Each Spirituality, Service and Social Change Fellow receives a base stipend of $4,000 to support travel and living expenses during the summer. Financial aid is available to students who qualify.


Spirituality, Service, and Social Change Fellows are required to work at least 35 hours/week for nine consecutive weeks during the summer. Other program commitments include the following:

Spring Quarter

  • Attend a program orientation April.
  • Meet with academic mentor at least once. 
  • Design a personal learning plan for summer.


  • Update staff with changes to contact information.
  • Share learning plan with site supervisor and update accordingly.
  • Attend weekly seminar sessions and complete assignments including a spiritual autobiography.
  • Complete a brief preliminary report.
  • Submit a final report, complete a program evaluation, and correspond with donor(s) as requested by fellowships program staff.

Autumn Quarter

  • Meet with academic mentor at least once. 
  • Participate in outreach activity to share your experiences and help publicize the program.

Eligibility and Selection Process


Up to six Spirituality, Service, and Social Change Fellowships are awarded to currently enrolled undergraduate students from any academic discipline. Graduating seniors may apply with the understanding that preference is given to competitive, continuing undergraduate applicants. Applicants vary in academic interests, community service involvement and experience. The selection committee makes an effort to select a diverse group of fellows from different spiritual and academic backgrounds.

Selection Process

For those who seek assistance, advising is offered in January to help students develop their applications.

This fellowship is intended for individuals whose application, references, and interview demonstrate

  • a desire to explore the roles of service and spirituality in their communities and lives
  • a commitment to community involvement through previous service experience
  • an open and inclusive approach to individuals with differing backgrounds including religion, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, and other identities

Complete applications are screened, finalists interviewed, and fellows selected by a committee with the intention to award fellowships prior to spring break. Committee decisions are final.


Submission deadline for application materials, including unofficial transcript and recommendation, is February 3, 2015, at 11:59 pm (PST). All documents are time stamped upon receipt. Application materials received after the posted deadline are not accepted.

A complete fellowship application includes the following three components:

1) Application Form

  • list of related academic coursework
  • three relevant work or volunteer/public service experiences
  • three bullets of honors/awards
Personal Statement

The personal statement questions are your opportunity to express why you are interested in this fellowship experience. The selection committee is interested in both your personal and academic reasons for applying to this program. Please ensure that you are thorough and specific in your responses to the questions. Respond to each question separately; each response should be approximately one paragraph (4 to 5 complete sentences) in length.

  • What are your personal motivations for applying for this fellowship?
  • How have you prepared for this particular fellowship?
  • How does this particular fellowship contribute to your academic success at Stanford?
  • What do you feel is your biggest challenge(s) in accomplishing your fellowship goals?
  • How do you measure the success of your personal contribution?
Community Partner Questionnaire

Supervisor from host organization must provide a written response to each of the following questions. When asking for written responses, be sure to indicate that all answers should be approximately one paragraph in length (4 to 5 sentences per paragraph). Cut and paste supervisor's answers in the appropriate section of your application. Supervisor's name and email address should also be included.

  • Please provide general information about your organization, including its mission, when the organization was founded, and current number of staff.
  • Please outline the job/project description. What tasks and responsibilities do you foresee offering this student during his/her fellowship? What goals does your organization hope to accomplish with the assistance of this fellow?
  • Please indicate the requisite skills necessary for serving in this fellowship.
  • How has your organization identified systemic problems and developed a strategy to offer solutions versus providing services that perpetuate a state of need?
Supplemental Questions
  • How do you describe your religious or spiritual practice(s), if any? Note: This program provides a forum for students from any religious tradition—including those who claim no religious affiliation, agnostics, and atheists—to examine, question, explore, and express the connections between spirituality and social change (150 words maximum).
  • How do you relate to people with religious or spiritual commitments substantially different from your own (150 words maximum)?

2) Recommendation

Provide Stanford faculty/staff recommender with detailed information about the fellowship(s) for which you are applying.

3) Transcript

Please submit an unofficial transcript via Stanford Axess.

  • Go to the Student Center tab from the Axess home page.
  • Click on "My Academics."
  • Click on “View my unofficial transcripts.”
  • In the drop down menu marked as “Career” select “undergraduate.”
  • Click the green button “View Report.”
  • Save pdf file with your name and email to .

Contact Information

For more information, contact .