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Q: What is the Civic Fellows Program?


The Civic Fellows program is a 10-month, non-resident, merit-based “fellowship” that provides an opportunity for students to do something exceptional.  The program includes a diverse cohort of rising juniors or fellows recruited from Memphis area colleges and universities.

Fellows focus on current topics of obvious and chronic injustice and specifically study the role of inequality in their choice of designated areas.

The Fellowship includes research and hands-on experience, access to civil rights experts and community leaders, weekly leadership meetings, and quarterly speakers’ series.

The program structure comprises:

  • A 2-month Summer Research Institute where Fellows gain a comprehensive knowledge and an enhanced understanding of the Civil Rights movement in Memphis and the region and of its impact on and relationship to the students’ research project.
  • An 8-month Community Learning Placement where each Fellow works with a designated Community Partner to gain hands-on knowledge and to help the partner advance their work.
  • Two end-of-fellowship projects where Fellows draw from their expertise to:
    • Develop a researched-based white paper (final paper) highlighting their recommended solutions for creating positive, practical, and innovative change.
    • Develop a 15 to 20-minute capstone presentation that each Fellow will present publicly at a gathering where Memphis community leaders and policy-makers and Apex partners, supporters and stakeholders will attend.

Q: What is expected of a Civic Fellow?


Civic Fellows should be ambitious and energetic in their pursuit of stimulating progress for Memphis’ targeted impact areas. They do so through full participation in transformative work with their cohort, and with The Apex Institute’s designated Partners and stakeholders.

Participants must sign an agreement in which they acknowledge and dedicate themselves to the Fellowship curriculum and the scope of work it involves. This includes, but is not limited to, creation of an Apex Institute white paper (final paper) and a 15 to 20-minute public presentation discussing community priorities and opportunities, underscoring relevant policies and laws regarding their chosen impact area.

Q: Are Civic Fellows expected to participate in every aspect of the program?


The Civic Fellowship requires active and engaged participation, which is critical to creating a meaningful experience. Fellows are required to participate fully in every aspect of the Fellowship.

Q: What is the time commitment?


Fellows are required to allocate the necessary time to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the programming, which encompasses the 2-month Summer Research Institute, the 8-month Community Learning Placement, and the final project.
  • Commit to spending 10 hours a week engaged in and contributing to the work of a selected nonprofit or government agency during the Community Learning Placement.
  • Commit to spending the required time for the Summer Research Institute’s daily sessions that are held Monday through Friday, generally 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. These hours can change, but with notice.
  • Devote time for any required follow-up with designated community partners.
  • Devote time needed to research, develop, and complete a final paper discussing community priorities and opportunities, underscoring relevant policies and laws regarding their chosen impact area.
  • Devote time needed to prepare for the capstone presentation, which is a 15 to a 20-minute public presentation held at the end of the Fellows’ junior year.
  • Ensure their final paper meets the standard for publishing in The Apex Institute City Report.
  • Participate in all activities and programming that underscore a collaborative community experience.
  • Participate in the full programming of the Fellowship gatherings/events and field trips.

We are looking for Fellows who are eager to explore the possibilities and potential roles they can play in the broader Apex Institute programming, such as: serving as mentors, spokespersons for the Fellowship, bloggers, and writing about their experience for a wider audience.

Q: Where are the Summer Research Institute sessions held?


The location of the Summer Research Institute sessions can vary. Generally, they will be conducted at a community partner’s location– such as at the National Civil Right Museum, Stax Museum, etc. Other sessions will be held at our various education partners’ locations. Our education partners are:

  • Christian Brothers University
  • LeMoyne-Owen College
  • Rhodes College
  • University of Memphis.

Fellows will receive notice of the location well in advance of the session.

Q: Who are the Community Partners?


Our community partners are non-profits and community-based organizations whose missions and work align with that of The Apex Institute. These organizations serve as active learning communities for the Fellows. Their leadership and staff provide additional mentoring to the Apex Fellows as they refine their research and shape their capstone project.

Q: What distinguishes an Apex Community Partner?


Apex Institute Partners:

  • Understand and actively addresses disparities in Memphis
  • Create stellar community service opportunities
  • Encourage and elevate innovative civic and community engagement to advance equity and equality
  • Promote cultural awareness and continuing education

Q: What is the Community Partner Role?


Community partners play a vital role in the overall Fellowship experience!

They provide their assigned Fellows with a stable and supportive work environment while challenging the Fellow throughout the 8-month community works assignment that addresses a pressing need related to their core mission.

Q: How are Fellows’ community placements determined?


Fellows are placed with community partners based on their choice of Apex impact areas.

Q: How are Fellows recruited?


Fellows are recruited from our four Memphis-area college/university partners:

  • Christian Brothers University
  • LeMoyne-Owen College
  • Rhodes College
  • University of Memphis

Q: How often do you accept applications?


We select a Fellowship cohort every spring.

Q: How many Fellows do you select each year?


Annually, The Apex Institute selects a cohort of eight rising juniors.

Q: What is the application timeline for the 2019 Fellowship?


Students may apply during the application period of March 15, 2019 thru April 5, 2019 via the “Apply Here” link on this website.

Q: Why should I apply for an Apex Civic Fellowship?


There are many benefits of an Apex Institute Fellowship to you and the community.

Our Civic Fellowship provides students the freedom to advance innovative approaches to solve intractable problems while providing the opportunity and support to make an impact and create lasting value in the community.

Students have the opportunity to learn about historical civil rights struggles from civil rights experts. They benefit from direct experience working with non-profits whose vital services move us closer to equality. They gain enhanced knowledge of how community leaders and organizations work−independently and in collaboration with others−to address inequality and inequity. They have the opportunity to publish their research findings and recommendations in The Apex City Report for the benefit of our community.

Q: What distinguishes an Apex Civic Fellow?


Generally, Apex Institute Fellows:

  • Show curiosity about Civil Rights history and how that history influences us today and, particularly, how that history influences The Apex Institute-designated impact areas
  • Demonstrate an ability to work and conduct research independently
  • Are motivated and self- directed
  • Have demonstrated integrity
  • Display interest in bettering the lives of individuals affected by injustice
  • Are organized, able to multi-task, and adapt to diverse work environments

Q: What are the qualifications for a Civic Fellow?


The qualifications to be an Apex Institute Civic Fellow are:

  • Fellows must be a rising junior at a college or university in Memphis.
  • Fellows must have a competitive GPA.
  • Fellows are knowledgeable and proficient in the use of current social media platforms.
  • Fellows have effective communication in both speech and writing.
  • Fellows demonstrate the ability to conduct applied research.
  • Fellows thoughtfully conceive and complete objectives.
  • Fellows show initiative.
  • Fellows believe they can make a difference in the Memphis community by bringing new perspectives relative to addressing inequity, inequality, and injustice.
  • Fellows desire to be leaders and facilitate change.
  • Fellows are diverse, innovative, and encompassing in their research.

Q: What is the process for selecting Fellows?


The Apex Institute utilizes a multi-step process to identify the best possible candidate for the Civic Fellowship.

Applicants are vetted by a committee of Apex Institute leaders, partners, and supporters. The final selections of each Fellow are made by The Apex Institute Executive Team and the Civic Fellows Selection Committee, which is made up of our college and university education partners. We aim to build a cohort that is racially, culturally, and economically diverse that is representative of multiple areas of study.

Q: How do you notify selected Civic Fellows?


Applicants will be notified via email. The selected Fellow must respond via email accepting the offer within 5 days. Chosen Fellows must be prepared to attend the following events:

  • Civic Fellows Welcome Dinner
  • The Summer Institute Orientation

Q: Do Civic Fellows receive college credit for their Fellowship?


Civic Fellows may receive college credit as deemed appropriate by each academic institution

Q: How can I learn if my college or university awards college credit for Fellowship?


Please contact your academic institution to determine if and how college credits will be awarded.

Q: What are the College and University contacts?


College and Univesity contacts for The Apex Institute are:


Dr. Leslie J. McAbee

Director, CBU AutoZone Center for Community Engagement

Christian Brothers University


Dr. Jeremy Whittaker

Chief Operating Officer-Academic

LeMoyne Owen College


Dr. Charles Hughes

Director of the Memphis Center of the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies Rhodes College.


Mr. Zachary Carr

Assistant Director, Leadership & Service, Student Leadership & involvement

University of Memphis

Q: Does The Apex Institute accommodate applicants and Fellows with disabilities?


The Apex Institute will provide accommodations as deemed necessary for qualified applicants and Fellows to participate in the selection process and in the Fellowship.

For more information, please contact the Program Director at

Q: Do Fellows receive a stipend?


Fellows receive at $3,500 stipend for participating in the Summer Research Institute and a $2,500 stipend for the Community Learning Placement.

Q: How are stipends paid?


Summer Research Institute stipends are paid in biweekly installments beginning June 14 and ending July 26 with the conclusion of the Summer Research phase of the program.

Community Learning Placement stipends are paid in biweekly installments beginning August 23 and ending May 8 with the conclusion of the Community Learning Placement phase of the program.

Q: Does the program cover the costs of travel for the Fellowship activities and events?


The Apex Institute covers transportation and accommodations via Uber or Lyft for Fellows as needed.

Fellows must request transportation by sending an email to 24 hours prior to the date transportation is needed.

Q: Does the program cover the costs of housing during the Fellowship?


The Apex Institute does not cover the cost of housing during the Civil Rights Program Fellowship.