UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship

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UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship

The UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship is a leadership and talent development initiative aimed at building a robust pipeline of high-achieving African Americans engaged in education in America. The program selects undergraduate juniors from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to participate in a 10-week summer experience that includes leadership development, a paid internship with an innovative K-12 educational organization or school, and participation in an education reform case competition. Upon competition of the ten week summer experience, Fellows have access to additional coaching and skills development aligned with K-12 career pathways during their senior year of college. 

Tentative program dates for Summer 2022 - May 25, 2022 – July 29, 2022

Additional Requirements:

* ALL majors are welcome!

* Must be able to commit for the full 10 weeks of the fellowship

* Willingness to relocate for the summer (for in-person internships)

* Have demonstrated leadership experience as a college student on campus or within the community

* One letter of recommendation from a college administrator or college faculty member. The recommendation will be reviewed before semi-finalists are announced. 

 Selection Process and Timeline for 2022

Phase 1: Application is open Monday, November 1, 2021 – Friday, January 28, 2022, 11:59pm ET. The selection committee must receive your letter of recommendation by February 4, 2022. Letters of recommendation can either be submitted through the application portal or sent via email to: k12fellow@uncf.org. Please include your first and last name in the subject line for all email communication.

Phase 2: Select applicants will advance to the semi-finalist round. Notifications will be sent to all semi-finalists by February 14, 2022. Semi-finalists must complete and submit a one-way video interview by March 7, 2022, at 5:00pm ET.

Phase 3: Select candidates will advance to the finalist round. Notifications will be sent to all finalists by March 31, 2022. During phase 3, students will meet with a representative from a designated host organization and participate in the final screening process, which includes: Host Organization/Fellow Matching (April 2022). Finalists will be matched with a host organization based on organizational fit and the student’s specific area(s) of interest in the education sector.

Notification of internship placement will be sent by May 2, 2022

Main Components of the UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship

Paid Summer Internship – The paid summer internship exposes Fellows to professional careers within schools and innovative K-12 education organizations. Fellows are expected to work 30-40 hours per week (virtually or on-site) and assume full staff responsibilities during their internship. Fellows work to complete projects focused in areas such as advocacy, policy, research, marketing, and/or education/teaching. They are deployed as interns to organizations and schools located in such cities as the District of Columbia, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Memphis, and Nashville. Examples of internship host organizations include Achievement First, National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, Mastery Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools, Tennessee Department of Education, KIPP DC Capital Teaching Residency, Thomas B. Fordham Research Institute, Uncommon Schools and many more. During their internships, Fellows acquire new skills, gain an understanding of the professional needs of education organizations, and make meaningful contributions.

UNCF Student Leadership Conference (SLC) – Students accepted into the Fellowship are required to attend and participate in 3 days of leadership and professional development training prior to starting their internships. Held annually in Washington, D.C., SLC provides students an opportunity to learn skill sets that are needed to be successful interns and early career professionals. Conference attendees will enhance their critical thinking skills; learn strategies to support effective verbal and written communication; build their knowledge of collective impact and collaborative work styles, improve their networking skills, and practice problem solving via real-world scenarios.

Education Reform Case Competition – The case competition is a required component designed to strengthen Fellows’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. The case study focuses on developing solutions to address a specific K-12 education issue in an assigned city, state, or local school community. Fellows are placed in groups of 3 – 5 members that virtually collaborate to complete their team assignment. Fellows complete their assigned activities for the case competition during evening and weekend hours, so it does not interfere with their internship responsibilities. Teams incorporate their knowledge of the current educational landscape through research and analysis and their individual assessment of the resources and policies needed to improve education. The Education Reform Case Competition serves to foster innovation, collaboration, and creativity amongst Fellows.

Alumni and Closing Conference – At the end of the paid internship, Fellows travel back to Washington, D.C. and are joined by alumni of the fellowship to conclude their summer experience. This conference is required and provides an opportunity for Fellows and alumni to network with industry leaders and change agents in the education field. Fellows will reflect on their summer experience, create a success plan that leverages the skills they have acquired, learn about post-graduate fellowships and graduate school, and meet with job recruiters.

Senior Year Experience – To further Fellows’ professional development post their summer experience, a year-long program has been developed to provide additional supports and resources. During their senior year of college, Fellows who successfully complete the internship will have access to an online community with mentoring, career coaching, graduate school and fellowship application assistance, and job search assistance. Participants may also be eligible for book vouchers and/or small stipends.

Alumni Community and Networking Opportunities – This Fellowship component aims to support alumni even after they have completed their undergraduate degree with the goal of (1) assisting alumni in securing entry-level career positions in educational organizations and (2) cultivating alumni exposure to networking opportunities with education leaders. All alumni will have access to an online community that will feature job opportunities, career-related resources and materials, and virtual mentoring. Additionally, alumni will be offered select opportunities to participate in national conferences sponsored by leading education organizations, as well as local events, where they can share their experience with the community and inspire future UNCF K-12 Fellows. Select alumni will be invited to join the Alumni Council.

UNCF will secure and cover summer housing and travel for all in-person engagements - Summer travel includes travel to Student Leadership Conference, Host City, Alumni and Closing Conference, and Home City. Fellows are responsible for daily transportation to and from their internship and daily meals while in Host City.

For additional information, please email: k12fellow@uncf.org  

Hear from Successful UNCF K-12 Alumni

Alphonzo Choice | Claflin University

Janae Simoneaux | Prairie View A&M University

Jatericka Connelly | Florida A&M University

Essence Thomas | Dillard University

Daniel Primous | Morehouse College

Sydney Price | Spelman College


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