The Chicago Semester Fund

The Chicago Semester Fund benefits the entire program with a special focus on supporting strategic initiatives and City Fellows internships. These areas of support enable the program to offer life-changing opportunities for students as they pursue their vocational callings, emerge as professionals and engage the city faithfully.

 

How does your gift make a difference? Your gift contributes to our work with students in three areas.

 

  1. Chicago Semester walks alongside students as they pursue their vocational callings. While many students’ callings have been nurtured on their home campuses, Chicago Semester provides the opportunity to pursue these callings in a dynamic new context.

      • This work begins when Chicago Semester staff connect individually with each student to discuss internship options. Once an internship site has been chosen, Chicago Semester engages students weekly through a professional seminar course that gives opportunities to engage and reflect with peers and professors. Each semester our team of experienced staff and faculty commit to meeting one-on-one with every student on several occasions, providing guidance and support for students living out their vocational callings.
      • Students also choose from a wide variety of elective courses designed to explore broader perspectives on urban issues, systems and institutions in the city. Students thrive as they explore these perspectives, often leading them to gain clarity and confidence in ways they can live out their vocational callings.
    1. Chicago Semester equips students to emerge as professionals. Each student receives individual mentorship from an internship site supervisor. This supervisor, supported and trained by Chicago Semester staff, is committed to helping the student develop, guided by student-designed learning goals. In addition, Chicago Semester offers professional development workshops to students on topics including interviewing, networking and job searching skills.

      • Over 90% of Chicago Semester alumni report feeling deeply connected with a network of people in their field (based on Chicago Semester’s 2020-2021 Program Evaluations).
      • Chicago Semester alumni score 50% higher than the average college graduate on proficiency in professional skills in the workplace (based on 2020-2021 internships supervisor scores and the 2021 Report on Employer Views of Higher Education, commissioned by the Association of American Colleges and Universities).
    1. Chicago Semester prepares students to engage the city faithfully. Through neighborhood visits, field trips and cultural events, students are encouraged to discover the histories and realities of the city, challenged to recognize injustices and how we perpetuate them, and invited to advocate for and work toward redemptive hope.

    • When students first arrive in the program, staff introduce these calls to action through orientation workshops, posing questions like “What does it mean to be a good neighbor here in Chicago? How has God been at work in the city?” All students get the opportunity to address this question through the Civic Engagement Assignment which prompts them to contribute to social justice in their own neighborhoods and reflect on the experience.
    • These assignments and invitations provide students with the opportunity to acknowledge a hopeful narrative of God’s presence in the city and explore how they might continue serving in their own neighborhoods and communities beyond their semester in the program.

Impact Reports

Read more about how your support impacts Chicago Semester students by reviewing our Impact Reports. Your support makes an impact on every student in Chicago Semester. Join us in this life-changing work today.

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