Community Fellows, Summer 2024



Now in its 26th year, the Community Fellows program is a unique partnership between Vassar College and local non-profit and governmental agencies. The Office of Community-Engaged Learning (OCEL) aims to build long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with community organizations in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, and the greater Hudson Valley. By developing and centering partnerships, the OCEL provides students with the opportunity to learn alongside community partner organizations and make real-world connections to enhance their academic experiences. 

In the Community Fellows Program, students apply to support organizations with specific projects that align with their social justice passions and enhance their academic learning. Our community partner organizations serve as important co-educators and co-mentors of our Vassar students and the OCEL funds the Vassar students in an effort to best support community-based organizations in the Poughkeepsie area. 

The Community Fellows Program upholds the college’s mission by engaging students and community partners in the following ways:

  • Supporting capacity building with community partners by responding to community-identified projects
  • Providing students with an opportunity to experience meaningful work in non-profit and governmental sectors
  • Investing in the future of our community through public scholarship and engagement
  • Enhancing the relevance of a liberal arts education to a purposeful life

This program is open to all first years, sophomores, and juniors.

Program Timeline

  • Student Applications Open – Friday, February 2, 2024
  • Student Applications Close – by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2024
  • Extended Application Deadlines for select positions – Friday, April 12
  • Community Partners Interview Students – March 21st – April 10th
  • Community Partners Final Decisions Submitted to OCEL – April 10th
  • OCEL sends offers to students by email – April 11, 2024
  • Student acceptance deadline – by 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 12th
  • First day of Community Fellows kick-off meeting – Tuesday, May 28, 2024
  • Start Date at Community Partner Organization – Wednesday, May 29, 2024
  • Community Fellows & Community Partner Dinner – Friday, May 31st, 2024
  • Students off for break – Thursday, July 4th & Friday, July 5th 
  • Last day of Community Fellows program – August 2, 2024
  • Community Fellows Symposium (students and partner organizations) – TBD

Student Expectations

  • Attend Community Fellows Kick-Off Meeting on Tuesday, May 28
  • Students work full time (35) with a community partner organization from Wednesday, May 29th – Friday, August 2nd
  • Attend weekly cohort meetings (on Wednesdays from 5-7) with OCEL Team
  • Work in person, unless otherwise agreed upon with the organization
  • Live in the Poughkeepsie area (either on campus, or finding housing on their own)
  • Attend individual check-in meetings with OCEL Staff throughout the summer
  • Write 2 critical reflection one-page papers throughout the summer 
  • Create a presentation for the Community Fellows Symposium and present work to campus and community partners


The stipend amount is agreed upon by all Vassar Summer Academic Research Programs. Students will receive two payments during the summer, which will total $5,000. For more information on summer room and board, please visit the Office of Residential Life website. Financial aid can be applied to the cost of housing.


Bus: Taking the Dutchess County bus is free to all Vassar students! Take Bus Route L to get to many agencies within Poughkeepsie. The bus pick-ups at the corner of Fairmont & Collegeview Aves, across the street from Elizabeth Boutique. It stops on the 00:26 and 00:56 of every hour Monday to Friday, and once per hour on Saturdays and Sundays. Simply hail down the bus as it arrives.

Vassar Vehicle: If there are additional transportation needs and if a student has a license, the OCEL can support the student (financially and logistically) in registering with Safety and Security to reserve a Vassar Vehicle for transportation to and from their Community Fellow position.

Community Fellows 2024


Email OCEL Director, Elizabeth Cannon ( or OCEL Associate Director, Jean Hinkley (