Frequently Asked Questions about the Summer Service Fellowship

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Is it necessary that I have experience at an organization in order to work there as a Fellow?

It is possible to become a Fellow without prior experience at a community organization. However, if you choose to apply at a new organization, be sure to do your research to make sure it would be a good fit and the project(s) you would like to accomplish fit their needs. You will need to demonstrate in your application and interview that you are knowledgeable about the organization, the work you will be doing, and how you will implement your ideas at that site. 
 

Who makes the strongest candidates for a Summer Service Fellowship?

Individuals who would make strong candidates have the ability to work independently on projects, have proven their ability to accomplish goals they set for themselves and their work, and are interested in learning about the larger impact of their work. Typically, we select candidates who have some past experience at the service location they propose. The Summer Fellowship allows them the time to take that experience to the next level. It often leads to a stronger application because they can take ownership of the project and more clearly articulate goals. However, this is not always the case. Individuals have been selected that have little experience and plan to use the summer to explore a new opportunity.  


What should I do if I really like the idea of working for a Memphis non-profit this summer as part of the Fellowship but am uncertain about what projects might be the best fit for me?

Feel free to set up a time to meet with Marie Lindquist. She can help you determine what opportunities might be the best fit for your past experiences, future aspirations, and current skill set.   


Do I need to contact the Memphis non-profits where I would like to work before submitting my application?

Yes, you do need to meet with them in order to find an organization willing to supervise your work this summer and complete the Non-Profit Endorsement Form. You may even want to set up a meeting with a couple of non-profits in order to determine which you feel is the best fit for your interests and which has work for you to accomplish this summer that is the best fit for your skills and talents. This is the time for you to determine if they are a good fit for you and also the time for the organization to determine if they would like to endorse you as a candidate. Therefore, you should prepare for these meetings similar to preparing for interviews. Bring the application’s Non-Profit Endorsement Form with you to give to the organization that you feel is the best fit so they can complete and return it.  


What should I do if I have a project idea but am uncertain about which Memphis non-profits I should contact?

If you have a unique idea, set up a time to meet with Marie Lindquist. The meeting will help you consider if the project can be accomplished during a nine-week summer experience, how it could be funded, and which community organization(s) will need to endorse it.  


What happens if I meet with a non-profit and they are unwilling to endorse my candidacy?

The non-profit does not have to endorse you if they do not feel you are a good fit for their organization or that the work you are proposing is not a good fit for organizational needs at this time. If that is the case, they can:
(1) Talk with you about other projects that the organization needs accomplished and see if you are interested in that work. The projects you propose should be a good combination of projects that meet the organization’s needs but also projects that you are excited about accomplishing for them and that fit your interests and future aspirations.
(2) Let you know that they do not feel you are a good fit so you can explore other non-profit sites to propose as a Fellowship. If you are uncertain about which non-profit to approach next, feel free to contact Marie Lindquist to get ideas.
(3) Complete the Endorsement Form and let the Selection Committee know that they do not feel you are a good fit. If they do not endorse your candidacy but the Selection Committee still feels you are a good fit for the experience, the Selection Committee will work with you to determine other non-profit sites that might be willing to endorse a project that you are considering.   


Can I receive credit for the Fellowship?

The Rhodes Summer Service Fellowship is approved for Foundation 11 credit. Talk to your academic advisor and/or the Registrar’s Office about what you need to do to obtain credit for this experience.  


Why are Fellows required to live on-campus?

Living together allows for a learning community to be built among the three Rhodes CARES summer programs: The Rhodes Regional Institute, the St. Jude Summer Plus Program, and the Summer Service Fellows. Regular programming, both social and educational, is offered. Also, informal interactions helps build community among these groups and gives time for shared learning and personal growth. Everyone, including students who are from Memphis or who have off-campus apartments must live on-campus.  


Why can’t I have another job or go to school in addition to being a Fellow?

The Fellowship requires 40 hours a week. In order to fully engage during the Fellowship experience, participants need time to socialize, rest and recuperate. Plus, the programming, though extensive, is designed to allow the Fellows a change in atmosphere from the frenzy of the academic year.  


How does summer housing work?

You are provided with housing for the entire summer. Although Fellows are guaranteed a room for the summer and Rhodes CARES covers the cost of that room, you need to fill out a Summer Housing Application which will be available from the Residence Life Office. On that form Fellows can indicate a roommate choice. Fellows do not have to room with someone from their individual program, but roommates must come from one of the three Rhodes CARES programs.  


Can I make changes to my project after I receive the Fellowship?

If you are awarded a fellowship and discover compelling reasons to alter your project or non-profit site, you may propose changes to the Program Director.