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Advocates for Community Engagement (ACEs)

The Advocates for Community Engagement (ACE) Program develops socially responsible, civically engaged student leaders who facilitate quality service-learning experiences for all stakeholders and advocate for the common good of the community.

ACE_trainingACEs make a one-year commitment to work onsite at Bay Area nonprofit organizations to facilitate meaningful service-learning experiences for USF students. Primarily, ACEs act as liaisons between their host organizations, USF faculty, and service-learners to ensure the needs and expectations of all stakeholders are accounted for and prioritized. Additionally, ACEs contribute to service project development and oversight, facilitate regular reflections, and engage in their own direct service activities at the host organization. To ensure that ACEs are prepared to take on their responsibilities and supported throughout their experience, the McCarthy Center provides a training curriculum designed to cultivate and hone their skills, knowledge and sensitivities as advocates for social justice.

"Part of the reason I enjoy being an ACE is because I am constantly learning. What I learn through my work as an ACE relates to my classes and always challenges me to reflect upon myself and my understanding of our society and the world in which we live . . . I hope to have a job in the future that constantly challenges me to learn more about pressing social issues." Annie Burson-Ryan, ‘12

  • 2012-2013 ACEs conducted over 65 reflective dialogues in the spring semester alone
  • 2012-2013 ACEs worked with over 200 service-learning students during the year
  • Alumni ACEs have continued their studies into a range of programs including medical school, City and Regional Planning, and International Peace Studies
  • Alumni ACEs are now working as social workers, educators, non-profit leaders, and are even employed at their former ACE host sites

Program Goals and Objectives

Program Details

  • ACEs work 8-10 hours/week during the academic year
  • Training includes a two-day spring orientation, five-day fall training, three-day winter retreat, and biweekly group meetings on Fridays 4:00-6:00pm
  • McCarthy Center staff meet with ACEs once a month to provide mentorship and advising around issues related to the ACEs’ work, professional development, and personal growth
  • ACEs are paid $12.30/hour for the first year and a $0.50/hour increase for each subsequent year
  • Participation in the ACE program is not for academic credit
  • Host organizations are selected through an application process and are paired with ACEs at the discretion of McCarthy Center staff
  • The program requires one year commitment

How to Apply

ACEs apply and are selected the spring prior to the academic year during which they would serve. The application process includes completion of the online application (link below), list of references, and participation in an interview with the selection committee.

Apply online now!

Application Deadline: March 5th

To be eligible to apply, students must:ACE Exercise 2013

  • Be a rising sophomore or higher (undergraduates only)
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or provide a compelling explanation for why GPA is below requirement
  • Demonstrate that they have already fulfilled the USF service-learning requirement
  • Commit to a full year in the program and to participate in the spring orientation, fall training, and winter retreat

For more information, please contact:

Andrea Wise
Assistant Director of Community-Engaged Learning
(415) 422-5205

Program Timeline

Timeline for 2013-2014 ACE Cohort

  • August 11 - 15, 2013: Fall training
  • Dec. 5, 2013: Fall Semester Celebration
  • Jan. 15 - 17, 2014: Winter Retreat

Tentative Timeline for 2014-2015 ACE Cohort

  • February 2014: ACE host sites are selected
  • March 2014: ACE Application Deadline March 5th
  • April 2014: ACEs are selected, April 26 2:30 - 8:00 mandatory new ACE training
  • August 11-15, 2014: Fall training
  • December 2014: Fall Semester Celebration
  • January 2015: Winter Retreat

Current Participants

ACE Julie Duffy HeadshotName: Julie Duffy
Major: International Studies
Year: Sophomore
Organization: Community Technology Network
Phone: (585) 730-9427
Site Supervisor: Crystal Schimpf

ACE Marisela Esparza HeadshotName: Marisela Esparza
Major: International Studies
Year: Senior
Organization: Episcopal Community Services
Phone: (510) 610-2359
Site Supervisor: Mallory Hasick

Name: Pepe Gil
Major: Politics/ Ethnic Studies
Year: Junior
Organization: Breakthrough
Phone: (805) 453-1653
Site Supervisor: Sasha Mungal

ACE Joey Jordan HeadshotName: Joseph (Joey) Jordan
Major: Sociology
Year: Sophomore
Organization: Project Open Hand
Phone: (781) 771-5742
Site Supervisor: Rachel Kamen

Taylor headshotName: Taylor Heath
Major: Sociology
Year: Junior
Organization: Collective Impact (Opportunity Impact/Mo' Magic)
Phone: (702) 810-7024
Site Supervisor: Tim Cheung

ACE Melissa Lewis HeadshotName: Melissa Lewis
Major: PASJ--Dance
Year: Senior
Organization: Seven Tepees Youth Program
Phone: (508) 579-0551
Site Supervisor: Jessica Torres

ACE Aundraya Martinez HeadshotName: Aundraya Martinez
Major: Politics
Year: Senior
Organization: Glide
Phone: (408) 394-0854
Site Supervisor: Ben Lintschinger

ACE Amanda Mitchell HeadshotName: Amanda Mitchell
Major: Theology & Religious Studies/ Psychology; PSCE Minor
Year: Junior
Organization: Casa Bayanihan
Phone: N/A
Site Supervisor: Heidi Kallen

ACE Maria Poyer HeadshotName: Maria Poyer
Major: Environmental Science
Year: Junior
Organization: Meals on Wheels
Phone: (408) 839-5425
Site Supervisor: Danie Belfield

ACE Eric Schroer HeadshotName: Eric Schroer
Major: Philosophy; Legal Studies/Politics Minor
Year: Senior
Organization: Bayview/Hunters Point YMCA
Phone: (805) 630-7395
Site Supervisor: Celestino Ellington

ACE Bria Temple HeadshotName: Bria Temple
Major: English
Year: Junior
Organization: African American Shakespeare Company
Phone: (281) 702-7184
Site Supervisor: Sherri Young

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you determine which organizations are ACE host organizations?

The host organizations for the ACE program are organizations that have participated in the McCarthy Center’s Community Partner Service-Learning Seminar. This seminar is offered twice a year to give community partners the tools to be effective co-educators in a service-learning experience. After partners participate, they can apply to host an ACE for the upcoming year. We select ACE host sites from the applicants we receive.

If I’m hired as an ACE, do I get to pick my own host organization?

We do try to give ACE finalists a sense of the organizations that will need ACEs. We also ask you to share the social issues you are passionate about, the skills you are bringing, and the knowledge you would like to gain. Ultimately, McCarthy Center staff aligns those factors with the needs of the organization and the supervisor’s style to determine the best fit for ACEs and ACE host sites.

Should I still apply for the program even though I’m only available for one semester and not the whole year?

Yes, please still apply for the program but be sure to indicate which semester you will be gone. Sometimes we have current ACEs who plan to study abroad or graduate in December, so you may still be eligible.