Student Funding Opportunities

Community Engagement Experiential Learning Stipend (CEELS)

Over the summer, CCESR launched the Community Engagement Experiential Learning Stipend (CEELS) Program. Our Center encourages all students to engage in experiential learning opportunities but understands that not everyone has the financial resources available to take on unpaid roles. As a result, the CEELS program was created. Students were able to apply and receive $18/hr with a maximum of $3,000. Priority was given to students with financial barriers and those with internships engaging with local communities. 

Due to the success of the program, CCESR will continue to provide these stipends each semester. We are currently accepting applications for the Fall 2023 semester. For more information about the stipend and how to apply, click here

CCESR Student Ambassador 

One member of the CCESR team is our Student Ambassador. The Student Ambassador is a motivated, committed, and active student who believes in the mission of the Center: university-community collaboration is characterized by mutual benefit and reciprocity, and we need to integrate teaching, research, and service through community. Our Center also values the importance of experiential learning and strives to provide students with multiple opportunities, including internships, volunteer work, and service-learning projects.

To spread that message to as many students as possible, the Student Ambassador provides outreach to student clubs and organizations, tables at student-centered campus events (i.e., Club Fairs, Open House, Admitted Students Day, etc.), and assists CCESR in our various events and service projects. In addition to their work with students, they also serve as a student voice in our collaborations with community partners by sitting on our Community Engagement Advisory Board and Civic Engagement Task Force.

This position has an expectation of an average of 5-10 hours a week (some weeks will require no hours, some might require 10), with occasional weekend work. A stipend will be provided for each semester.

We currently have a Student Ambassador for the Fall 2023 semester, but if you are interested in this position for future semesters, please email

O’Neill Scholarship Programs 

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O’Neill Public Service Scholarship

In 2009, the O’Neill Public Service Scholarship was established to honor the legacy for the late Governor William A. O’Neill. He appreciated the value of education and, as governor, increased funding to Connecticut colleges and Universities. As a result, a portion of the earnings from the O’Neill Endowed Chair, housed within CCESR, is used to support scholarships for undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree program leading to a career in public service (e. g., government, education, not-for-profit, etc.).

These scholarships are specifically intended to support students in Central’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) who seek to follow the remarkable example set by Governor O’Neill during his long and distinguished career of public service. The EOP program assists with enrollment at Central for high school graduates or general equivalency diploma (GED) recipients who are the first in their family to attend college, are low-income or are from traditionally underrepresented groups at the university level. 

Since 2009, the Chair has provided over $330,000 in Governor William A. O’Neill Public Service Scholarship program funds for EOP students. 

John Lewis Institute Scholars

Central Connecticut State University launched the John Lewis Institute for Social Justice on Feb. 25, 2022, which is now housed under the Center for Community Engagement & Social Research & O’Neill Chair. The Institute seeks to empower a new generation of leaders to follow Lewis’s call to build a better and more just world, one that is marked by hope and focused on liberation. Their collective work is designed to create intellectual and civic spaces to allow for a deeper understanding of the roots of injustice, while also fostering and nurturing efforts to eliminate it.  

Working with cohorts of student Social Justice Scholars, the Institute’s goals include developing their leadership and advocacy skills, while helping them to explore public service careers. The wider goal of the Institute is to engage with the campus and the local community around Social Justice issues.

Students can apply to be a part of a JLI cohort and, if selected, will receive a scholarship of $750 per semester. During their two years as a JLI Scholar, they will attend a retreat, participate in seminars and scholar development, complete an internship, create a Central Social Justice Program or Initiative, and participate in a free spring break service trip.  At the end of the two years, JLI Scholars will be recognized for their work and receive a Presidential medallion to wear at commencement.

If you are interested in becoming a JLI Scholar, click here