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Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows

The Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows is a cohort program for students with financial need who are committed to leadership, service, social justice, and exploring the Black experience. A preference is given to first-generation college students.

The CWLF Program includes scholarship aid as well as mentorship, leadership development, and other supports. Program participation requires a separate application. The chosen students form a group of peers (or cohort) who gather consistently from their first through fourth years at St. Thomas.

Contact Information

Kenneth Cooper, Ph.D (he/him/his)
Director of Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows
kenneth.cooper@stthomas.edu
651-962-5960
participants in ciresi walburn leadership fellows program

Program Goals

The Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows was formed to help develop independent, successful, and empowered leaders who become future civic, professional, and community leaders.

The CWLF Program aims to help graduating Fellows become gainfully employed in a degree-required profession or attending graduate school after four years at St. Thomas.

Incoming first-year students in all St. Thomas' baccalaureate programs are eligible for consideration.

What the CWLF Program Provides

  • Overview & Funding
  • Community & Support
  • Scholastic & Career Guidance
  • Personal Development
  • Why Cohorts Matter
  • Overview & Funding

    The CWLF Program is designed to support students with financial need who are committed to leadership, service, social justice, and exploring the Black experience It provides funds for school as well as mentoring, leadership development, and spiritual/emotional support for four years. Funding includes:

    • Tuition scholarships: $15,000 each year for first and second years, and $10,000 each year for third and fourth years (a total of $50,000 over 4 years)
    • Opportunity to earn wages for an internship or research project in your junior year
    • Opportunity and support for on-campus employment or work-study

    St. Thomas offers a number of merit scholarships and scholarships specific to individual areas of study. Receiving this scholarship may impact other funds you receive from the university. By federal regulation, no student may have financial aid in excess of their total Cost of Attendance (COA).

    Community & Support

    While funding is important, success in college also relies on having a community and feeling a sense of support; these critical elements of student achievement are included in the CWLF Program.

    • Consistent group (or cohort) of peers who gather regularly throughout their four years at St. Thomas for events, activities, and meals
    • Each cohort is assigned a mentor to act as a trusted counselor and guide
    • All CWLF Fellows are committed to living on campus as part of the Emerging Scholars LLC during their first and second years
    • Opportunities to participate in community service and civic engagement, along with involvement and leadership in clubs and organizations
    • Annual celebration dinner/gathering with all current and past Fellows/cohorts, families, faculty, St. Thomas staff, Ciresi Walburn Foundation board, and staff

    Scholastic & Career Guidance

    The CWLF Program provides structure and resources to help students stay in charge of their college experience, assisting students with tracking their credit hours, finding internships, networking, and building their resume or portfolio so they can leave college after four years and move into their chosen career.

    • Paid summer internship (or research project) following your junior year
    • Writing workshop with a professor at the University of St. Thomas
    • Academic advising, check each semester if "on track" for graduation
    • Summer leadership course which provides credits that count towards your degree
    • Finding and tailoring a professional business suit for each Fellow
    • Career planning, intern placement, and networking with Ciresi Walburn Foundation Board members and other companies (US Bank, Target)

    Personal Development

    The CWLF Program is ultimately interested in the development of the fellows, regardless of their chosen career path, and provides individualized tools and guidance for personal growth such as:

    • Mental health and spiritual support from an assigned advisor
    • Cohort retreat to attend a national conference, expenses paid by the program
    • Individual goal-setting/development plans with an Academic Advisor at the University of St. Thomas

    Why Cohorts Matter

    A cohort is a group of people who attend a program together, often for 2-4 years. By participating in the same activities (structured and casual), the group builds a bond and provides peer support for each other throughout the program.

    The cohort model, together with embedded mentorship, is a pillar of the CWLF Program. The cohort is expected to create a distinct web of lifelong mental, spiritual and academic support for the students and create accountability within the group for each other to strengthen the experience for each individual participant.

    Overview & Funding

    Overview & Funding

    The CWLF Program is designed to support students with financial need who are committed to leadership, service, social justice, and exploring the Black experience It provides funds for school as well as mentoring, leadership development, and spiritual/emotional support for four years. Funding includes:

    • Tuition scholarships: $15,000 each year for first and second years, and $10,000 each year for third and fourth years (a total of $50,000 over 4 years)
    • Opportunity to earn wages for an internship or research project in your junior year
    • Opportunity and support for on-campus employment or work-study

    St. Thomas offers a number of merit scholarships and scholarships specific to individual areas of study. Receiving this scholarship may impact other funds you receive from the university. By federal regulation, no student may have financial aid in excess of their total Cost of Attendance (COA).

    Community & Support

    Community & Support

    While funding is important, success in college also relies on having a community and feeling a sense of support; these critical elements of student achievement are included in the CWLF Program.

    • Consistent group (or cohort) of peers who gather regularly throughout their four years at St. Thomas for events, activities, and meals
    • Each cohort is assigned a mentor to act as a trusted counselor and guide
    • All CWLF Fellows are committed to living on campus as part of the Emerging Scholars LLC during their first and second years
    • Opportunities to participate in community service and civic engagement, along with involvement and leadership in clubs and organizations
    • Annual celebration dinner/gathering with all current and past Fellows/cohorts, families, faculty, St. Thomas staff, Ciresi Walburn Foundation board, and staff

    Scholastic & Career Guidance

    Scholastic & Career Guidance

    The CWLF Program provides structure and resources to help students stay in charge of their college experience, assisting students with tracking their credit hours, finding internships, networking, and building their resume or portfolio so they can leave college after four years and move into their chosen career.

    • Paid summer internship (or research project) following your junior year
    • Writing workshop with a professor at the University of St. Thomas
    • Academic advising, check each semester if "on track" for graduation
    • Summer leadership course which provides credits that count towards your degree
    • Finding and tailoring a professional business suit for each Fellow
    • Career planning, intern placement, and networking with Ciresi Walburn Foundation Board members and other companies (US Bank, Target)

    Personal Development

    Personal Development

    The CWLF Program is ultimately interested in the development of the fellows, regardless of their chosen career path, and provides individualized tools and guidance for personal growth such as:

    • Mental health and spiritual support from an assigned advisor
    • Cohort retreat to attend a national conference, expenses paid by the program
    • Individual goal-setting/development plans with an Academic Advisor at the University of St. Thomas

    Why Cohorts Matter

    Why Cohorts Matter

    A cohort is a group of people who attend a program together, often for 2-4 years. By participating in the same activities (structured and casual), the group builds a bond and provides peer support for each other throughout the program.

    The cohort model, together with embedded mentorship, is a pillar of the CWLF Program. The cohort is expected to create a distinct web of lifelong mental, spiritual and academic support for the students and create accountability within the group for each other to strengthen the experience for each individual participant.

    Applying to the CWLF Program

    The Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows program is for students with financial need. Selection for the program among qualified applicants will be based on a holistic review of each individual student, including consideration of:

    1. Commitment to the St. Thomas mission of dismantling racial inequities and ensuring the dignity of each person
    2. Demonstrated commitment to exploring the Black experience, as shown by experience with the Black community or work advocating for or supporting the Black community
    3. Demonstrated commitment to leadership, service, and furtherance of social justice and the common good
    4. Eagerness to participate in all program activities and motivation to succeed
    5. Commitment to meaningfully contribute to building and sustaining the cohort of fellows in the program (including participation in group activities and mentoring younger cohorts)
    6. US citizen or demonstrable indicia of commitment to work in MN after graduation
    7. Graduate of a Minnesota high school
    8. Preference given to first-generation college students

    Online Information Sessions about CWLF

    Prospective candidates are encouraged to attend an online information sessions to learn more about the Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows Program, including how to schedule an interview.

    How to Apply to the Ciresi Walburn Leadership Fellows program