Student Fellows Program
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Application open for the 2023-2024 Racial Justice Student Fellows Program!
The purpose of the St. Petersburg / Pinellas Racial Justice Student Fellows Program (SPHERE) is to place students at the center of efforts to create systemic change, creating a pipeline for students to become involved in work related to anti-racist policy and movements, as well as racial healing and transformation. By supporting fellows financially and programmatically, SPHERE aims to cultivate a new generation of leaders who can help build a more just and equitable society.
The fellows learn about shaping policy and systems through a racial justice lens. They also discuss the mechanisms that enable racial healing and work on projects that support racial healing and transformation
Fellows are eligible to receive a stipend. The program requires up to 60 hours of time per semester and up to 120 hours for a part-time six-week summer internship.
Learn more and apply here.
2022-2023 Racial Justice Student Fellows
University of South Florida
St. Petersburg College
Stetson Law School
“I believe that my life experiences and social identities have shaped my leadership journey and future career as an attorney because I have seen first-hand the impact that a strong and powerful black woman can have on a community. I have observed and witnessed how they can inspire and move people to action. I have been inspired by the amount of time and energy that black women use to uplift and advocate for their communities, even when they are not compensated for it. Also, I have seen how the voices of black women can be silenced, even when their voices are the most important. I have seen how black people can be punished for speaking out against the injustices that they face, even when their outrage is justified. I have seen how black people can be overlooked, even when they are the most qualified. I have seen how black women can be taken for granted, even when they are the ones who are shaping the world. I have seen how black people can be excluded, even when they are the most knowledgeable. I have seen how black people can be judged wrongly, even when they are right. I have seen how black people can be criticized, even when they are speaking the truth. I have seen how black people can be underappreciated, even when they are the most successful. I have seen how black people can be undervalued, even when they are the most innovative. I have seen how black people can be overlooked, even when they are the most influential. These inequalities that I have observed in society have shaped my leadership journey and my qualifications to work as an attorney.
“I want to pursue a career in business and entrepreneurship and to lead a life of service. Through innovation and constantly working to improve things we can make life easier and better for everyone. I believe this fellowship will help me become a better leader who can take action on bigger and more important causes and also expose me to amazing people which will help grow me as a person. Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems. This fellowship will allow me to go to the root of the problem and understand from the people’s perspective. With enough knowledge provided by this fellowship I hope I can implement that into finding a better, more efficient solution to help minorities integrate into the society. “
“I believe this fellowship will greatly shape my leadership journey and career because I came into law school with a dream to use my law degree to work and progress racial equality in the south and I believe this fellowship would give me the direction and mentorship I need. In law school, it is easy to get off track of what you came into do, due to the pressure to work at certain law firms or make a certain amount of money, but in my core these things are not my values. My values are to help people and equal the playing field with my law degree. I believe this fellowship would direct me and keep me focused on my ultimate goal, to make America a more equitable place for all regardless of color, identity, or any other social label. I would also be connected with other students who have a similar focus and I would hope to collaborate with them. Finally, I believe this fellowship would be beneficial for both sides. I would benefit from being a part of his program by getting connected to people, places, and opportunities I may not have been exposed to otherwise. I would hope to benefit the St. Petersburg Racial Justice Fellows Program by bringing my own perspective as a sociology major and as a law student to perhaps build up the legal knowledge of the program and people in the program.”
“As an aspiring behavioral therapist and developmental psychologist, I believe the St. Petersburg Racial Justice Student Fellowship will further raise my awareness about racial and health inequity in our Pinellas County community. As a new resident, I have had minimal exposure to the needs of racial minority groups in our community, and I am a strong advocate for building relationships with people within local communities as the most effective way to create social change. I believe eradicating racial injustice is the main pathway for success in achieving health equity in our community, as well as the communities surrounding us.
I aspire to have my own psychotherapy office with similar goals to the TRHT center, specifically enabling racial healing and breaking generational opposition to mental healthcare within families of racial minorities. Actively practicing advocacy and empathy will immensely strengthen my ability to better support my future clients and their families. “
St Petersburg College
University of South Florida
Stetson Law School
“I believe this fellowship will expand my collaborative experience and exposure to different viewpoints. This will allow me to work on removing some of my own biases and limiting beliefs. Being able to network with students and faculty will expand my worldview and allow me to share mine. I am a collector of wisdom and knowledge. In my experience neither can be gained without purposely exposing ourselves to different views on how we internalize the human experience. A wise professor at SPC told me and my Mass Media class that “what you believe in your whole heart becomes your reality.” I added to those wise words and said to myself, “are you willing to have your reality shifted?” I say confidently yes, and this opportunity would be not only a way to have my reality shited. It will also contribute to the healing and improvement of our collective human experience. There comes a time in everyone’s life where the call to action rings in our ears like church bells. The person can choose to ignore the call to action and continue to live in a superficial world or answer the call and become part of the legacy of change. I am part of that legacy. Being part of the fellows program will allow me to be exposed to mentors and teachers who will continue to cultivate the flame of resistance that lives in me.”
“This opportunity would be exceptionally beneficial to my career and leadership development because, as a psychology major, my career will revolve around helping all people, of all cultures and races. Within my university, I have a growing leadership role as an orientation leader and the President of a student organization called Safe Circle: A Space to Discuss Addiction, a group designed to aid students within their recovery journey and/or discuss how they have been personally affected by substance use disorders in the hopes to build connections. Additionally, I am a mentor for a program on my campus called Umatter, which is a program designated to help students with intellectual disabilities transition to university life. Having the opportunity to further my leadership within my campus and the Saint Petersburg community through this fellowship will expand my knowledge and skillset on how to be the utmost role model. The positions I hold within my university entail being able to assist my fellow students in their success within the university and feeling a sense of comfort and acceptance plays a major role in their success. I am constantly trying to expand my understanding of diversity and how to be a better ally to m fellow students and members of my community.”
“I believe by learning about everyone’s culture, race, or background it will help all of us better understand each other and we won’t be so quick to make assumptions based on appearance.”
“This fellowship is the next step in my career that I have based on my desire to understand the many different fights for social justice. I started my journey as an intern during my bachelor’s program in 2018. I watched black and brown parents have their parental rights terminated for actions that were rooted in generational traumas created by a social system that profiled and excluded them from a better understanding. I then spent the next four years of my career working in women’s rights and expanding the understanding of the many forms domestic violence can present itself in a family unit throughout Florida’s social service and law enforcement agencies. On July 1, 2022, I was promoted to Refugee Integration Coordinator for a local resettlement agency. In less than 30 days in my new position through several interactions with clients and colleagues, I was inspired more than ever to start advancing my career in racial justice and equity. After years of experiencing life through the lenses of the many intersections of my identity, there is one lens that will always have a greater impact on how I see society and that just so happens to be the one part of my identity that society sees first. “