Leader/Creative Fellowship

The annual Leader/Creative F​​​ellowship provides The Chicago School students in Chicago, Southern California, and Online with the opportunity to create, implement, and evaluate a community based project of their choice at a non-profit organization. This year, up to four students on each campus will receive a $1,000 fellowship and support from the Community Partnerships Department. Fellowships are offered to students who create their own project and present their idea to the Community Partnership Department. Emphasis is placed on project feasibility, sustainability, innovation, and integration of community need into the project goals and outcomes.

Applications for the fellowship begins in January, Fellows are selected in February, for specific dates please email Dr. Nadia Rojas Jones at nrojasjones@thechicagoschool.edu

Fellowships - Oakley Square - Homework Help Room & ExSEL

Through the DFSS grant, Community Partnerships in collaboration with The Community Builders Inc. at Oakley Square Apartments in Chicago, provides fellowships for $1,000 - $2,000 for students providing tutoring to K-5th graders in reading or social-emotional learning curriculum to     K-9th graders weekly. Programs begin in October and goes through the first week in June. Opportunities for these Fellowships will be promoted at the Chicago Fall Job & Volunteer Fair in September.

​Current Fellowships

 2023 - 2024 Fellows

 2022 -2023 Fellows

 2021 - 2022 Fellows

Creative Fellowship Rec​ipient 

Southern California:

Aaron Engelberg, Clinical Psychology: Ableism Workshop for Faculty 

It is well-documented that ableism is promulgated in higher education and psychology. This was further impressed upon me during my initial clinical training at TCSPP in which the perspectives and voices of disabled people were not incorporated into my education or training. Vignettes, the center of this project, is one way to change this. By completing this workshop, clinical faculty are trained how to incorporate a wider range of commonly negated identities in their teaching vignettes. And because vignettes are how instructors, and thus students, conceptualize clients, client conceptualization is also viewed through a multicultural lens. I will then use This is taken a step further by then contributing to the scientific community with a novel, diversity-centered rubric in which vignettes are appraised.

Sophia Ortiz, Clinical Psychology: Assisting Cal Poly Pomona Womxn's Center

The Cal Poly Pomona Womxn's Center fellowship position initially caught my eye as it provides a lovely combination of my strongest area of expertise and experience (LGBTQ+ populations, gender, and sexuality) with the area of my professional life that I am currently working toward fortifying and expanding (training and consultation). I would be honored to have the opportunity to continue to grow professionally in an environment where I can also be in direct service to my community, and this position appears to offer just that.

Marla King, Applied Clinical Psychology: Support Group for NAMI

The goal of this project is to create a greater sense of community and support within our members that may be struggling with feelings of isolation. This is open to anybody who is feeling depressed or anxious after the pandemic. There may be some people that are struggling to get back to work among other issues. ​Family and friends who have loved ones with mental health problems are also welcomed to attend these meetings in order to find support in their experience.​

Lo LeChien, MFT: Dismantling White Supremacy. A Safe Circle with Music and Self Exploration.

In 2021, addressing issues of white identity, white privilege, and dismantling white supremacy in communities that benefit from white privilege is still considered taboo. Many white people avoid taking a hard look within, ignore having uncomfortable conversations, and are reluctant to do the “deep, raw, challenging, personal, heartbreaking, and heart expanding work" (Saad, 2020, p.5) that could implement lasting change towards racial justice and healing. This initiative seeks to build a more Beloved Community on TSCPP campuses by providing a safe, healing container for students of all backgrounds to deconstruct white identity, dismantle white supremacy, and put anti-racism into action. I will conduct this project through utilizing the Circle Way format of discussion where there is not 'expert' in the room and responsibility/leadership is shared within the group.

Alagna Valsesia, MFT: Mindfulness Program for Schools. 

I have been lucky enough to have had a plethora of mindfulness resources made available to me. These resources helped me learn how to process emotion, practice self-awareness, and have ultimately led to fantastic opportunities to learn healthy control over myself and my behaviors. In my time since beginning mindfulness practice, I have worked with integrative teachers, taken on leadership opportunities in my home community with mindfulness in schools, and even spent a month of 2015 with the spiritual teacher Ram Dass practicing meditation. The initial meetings with students will primarily focus on the basics of mindfulness, with engaging easy exercises that allow students to adjust to the language and approach. Moving forward, my goal is to engage with the students with a variety of different mindfulness platforms focusing on somatic experience. For example, experimentation with movement, breath, posture, and expression. As sessions continue, I would like to incorporate mindfulness practice with sound and, if Covid restrictions permit, smell and taste. I will know that this project is a success if the students come out of the experience feeling that they have learned a new skill to process and differentiate emotion in a way that reflects clear and earnest self-reflection and assessment.

Amanda Wheeler, MFT: Positive Self Image and Eating Disorders for Schools

​The school psychologist at Magnolia Science Academy has voiced the increase in concern for middle and high school students with body image issues or eating disorders. I would like to put together a presentation for both groups that brings the topic to the forefront of discussion and addresses these problems. I will approach the presentation from a systems perspective since it is a greater societal problem that has increased exponentially in the last few years. I would like to address social pressures to be thin as well as have an interactive/ processing component to the presentation about self-confidence and ways to be healthy. I am also a certified personal trainer so would like to go into the effects of eating disorders from both a fitness and psychological perspective.


Goldi Gill, PhD Business Psychology: Mental Health Resources for BIWOC

Create an online space for mental health resources (curated from Health Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association and many more organizations), art, and stories for Black, Indigenous, and women of color (BIWOC). This space will include mental health resources specifically for BIWOC. Also, this space will host room for BIWOC to share their art, poems, and stories regarding the impacts of mental health, to assist others with uplifting spirts and bringing awareness to this important issue.

Domenica D. Ottolino, International Psychology: Literacy Program for Adult Spanish Speakers 

The community has a high number of Spanish-speaking adults with low or no literacy skills in their native language. They are also parents in our district. As a bilingual social worker, I will work to engage these adult/parents in an on-going literacy program. I have extensive experience in community engagement and educating parents through one-on-one or group programs; furthermore, my bilingual and bicultural skills would be beneficial.

Madison Wade, BA Psychology: RBT Resources

RBT resources will be a platform dedicated to streamlining and supporting the lives and well-being of Registered Behavior Technicians and other behavioral health professionals working closely with Autists (individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder). Idealized as an app, the platform will offer continuous contact with ABA principles; daily encouragement; organizational resources; food for thought; journal prompts; and wellness tasks. Equipped with a habit-tracking component, the main goal of the platform will be to reduce stress and increase self-efficacy in service providers. This mission is intensely important, as RBTs' mental health directly affects the quality of care their clients receive. As an RBT myself, just 5 months away from graduating and that much closer to reaching my goal of becoming a BCBA, I am dedicated to the field; the children we serve; to tending to mental health of clients and service providers; and to the dissemination of knowledge regarding trauma-informed care.

Pattie Harris, MA Psychopharmacology: Master Gardener Certification Program with Inclusion of Indigenous and Cultural Values. 

The program highlights permaculture, sustainable gardening, water conservation, and food production for urban youth in San Diego county, California. We are focusing on restoration and improving individual environments with urban/tribal youth who have few prospects for employment. The program highlights honoring elders and traditional Indigenous knowledge. The program emphasizes caring for resources, respect, and responsibility. We will teach marketable skills for students to build self-reliance and personal regenerative wealth. This course includes growing food, conserving resources, and lasts 36 weeks to certify youth in our community with marketable job skills. Incorporation of overall curriculum and learning standards to prepare underserved indigenous youth to pass the California master gardener certification program in addition to our American Native cultural program certification. ​


Masha Johnson, School Psychology Ed.S.: (Virtual) Homework Help Room Lead

Vanshika Gupta, Applied Behavior Analyis Doctoral Program: (Virtual) Homework Help Room Lead

The Community Builders Inc. - Oakley Square apartments and the Sue Duncan Children's Center work collaboratively with The Chicago School to provide Homework Help Room, a virtual tutoring program, focused on assisting youth, K-8th, with reading skills.  The Homework Help Room virtual leads oversee the Zoom space each Tuesday and Thursday during the school year, allowing students and tutors to come together to meet in breakout rooms to address academic deficits and encourage youth on their goals. The Leads are responsible for engaging students and preparing them to join their breakout rooms.  They offer fun activities while students wait for their tutors to join.  

 2020-2021 Fellows

Stephanie Chan

​​Stephanie Chan, Applied Behavioral Analysis Doctoral student in Chicago, is developing a comprehensive early piano skills curriculum using CBS for children.  She will be creating presentation and work books in collaboration with her partnership with the Society of Behavior SciAnts.

Laith Higa​zin

Serving and Leading - Insight Digital Magazine

Laith Higazin, Industrial Organization Masters Student in Los Angeles, conducted learning and development consulting to address the mental wellbeing of educators at MSA7. He designed and implemented a virtual wellbeing development program for 31 educators by applying adult learning theories, Clifton Strengths training, and the PERMA model of well-being. He also provided strengths-based leadership coaching to and developed a close relationship with the principal, Meagan Wittek. at MSA7. He will be organizing and executing post-training evaluation of training effectiveness using survey tools in the coming months.

 2019-2020 Fellows

Princess Reggie
Princess 2.jpg

Princess Reggie, M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy at the Los Angeles Campus will be working with partner site, Casa de la Familia. Princess developed a series of parenting workshops that were free to the public and offered in both English and Spanish. The topics covered were relevant to all parents, but also targeted those who have been separated from their children due to immigration deportation and detention, divorce, and loss of a parent for any reason

​​​​Dr. ​​Dana Stamps​
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Dana Stamps, Masters in Counseling student at the Chicago Campus, worked with a local CPS school with her Focus Fairies Mentoring program.  The program focused on providing education in life skills areas related to high school and college readiness, career development, and financial literacy.​

 2018-2019 Fellows

Ma​keba Boykins

Makeba Boykins, Ph.D. student in Counselor Ed and Supervision at the Chicago Campus, will be working with partner site, La Casa Norte. Her project will involve providing training to the staff and youth on multiculturalism and trauma informed care. Makeba’s project will assist program staff in providing quality care to marginalized youth receiving housing through La Casa Norte’s Solid Ground program.

Troy “Xavier” Leonard

Xavier Leonard, Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at the Los Angeles Campus, will be working with partner site, Love Home, Inc. to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) around the issue of domestic violence. His project’s goals are to shine a light on the LBGTQ community and their experience of intimate partner violence that has received significantly less identification and intervention from law enforcement and community mental health resources.

 2017-2018 Fellows

Mariana Lopez

Mariana Lopez, Masters in Counseling Psychology student at the Chicago Campus, will be working with partner site, Las Moradas. Her project will involve utilizing mindfulness and a culturally responsive support and psychoeducational program that will bring awareness, reduction of stress, and increase overall sense of well-being for low SES LatinX elderly population.

Christopher "Chauncey" Watson

Chauncey Watson, Ph.D. student in Organizational Leadership and Psychology on-line, will be working with partner site, Mandate. Chauncey’s project will focus on developing and implementing a training curriculum for healthcare providers to engage black men who have sex with men in HIV prevention and treatment services more broadly.

 2016-2017 Fellows

Jessica Evans

Jessica Evans is currently an online student with The Chicago School, in the Educational Psychology and Technology (EdD) program with a concentration in Higher Education Learning and Technology. Her project will work with the Calloway County Extension Office in Kentucky. The Calloway County Extension Office 4-H Youth Development program emphasizes hands-on learning opportunities to support leadership development, civic responsibility and citizenship. An evaluation of the Calloway County Extension office will be conducted to identify current strengths and limitations culminating in a strategic plan to improve services offered. This collaborative endeavor aims to better identify specific needs of rural school-aged children in Western Kentucky through implementing programming that supports social development and cooperative learning.

Brent Pereira

Brent Pereira is currently a student at the Chicago campus, in the Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD) program. He will be working with our community partner site Become, Inc. Become: Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (Become) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to nourish communities affected by poverty and social injustice in order to make their vision of a thriving community a reality. Through training, education, coalition building, and Culturally Responsive Evaluation, Become, Inc. has developed an innovative model for community change called Culturally Responsive Community Development. As a Student Leader Fellow, Brent will spearhead the implementation of Become’s Cultural Engagement Initiative in which he will interview members of communities affected by poverty and social injustice and promote asset based community development.

 2015-2016 Fellows

Rose Irby Wilkins

Rose Irby Wilkins, an online Ph.D. candidate in the Organizational Leadership program, implemented a program at Clark Atlanta University as part of Community Partnerships’ Leader Fellowship. Using the “School Scrimmage Personal Development Coaching Model” she sought to provide student athletes with critical tools that will facilitate positive academic and social outcomes while also providing support mechanisms that coaching staff can use to sustain the program. According to a 2015 report by the NCAA, only 60% of college athletes graduate, with undergraduate matriculation toward a degree averaging six years. Irby Wilkins says of her fellowships experience: "I am truly inspired when given an opportunity to support others through personal development coaching or share in making a difference in the lives of others. What has been most inspiring over the past weeks is the collaborative spirit and support from staff at CAU as well as the engagement of student athletes in this project. I believe that opportunities provided, not only serve student needs, but also offer great social value for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology as well as the partnering institution Clark Atlanta University."

Sharon Asonganyi

Sharon Asonganyi, a Ph.D candidate in the International Psychology program on the Washington D.C. campus, implemented a program at the Renaissance Center for Culture and Education (RCCE) as part of Community Partnerships’ Leader Fellowship. This creative writing program used the art of storytelling to connect the elder French Immigrant community in Washington D.C. with children in the RCCE’s French Immersion and Cultural Arts programs. Asonganyi says of her fellowship experience: "I am thrilled to be part of a new initiative at the Renaissance Center. It is exciting to create, implement, and evaluate a new project with the support of the community. Both of my parents were givers [..] My parents instilled in me through their selflessness that serving others is a natural part of life. We are all part of a shared humanity. I learned from my parents that we can give in many ways whether it is as a skilled professional or simply having time and the willingness to be in service to another."

Tsvetomila (Mila) Kachovska

Mila Kachovska, a Ph.D. candidate in the Business Psychology program on the Chicago campus, was a fellow with partner site Become, Inc. As a Strategic Planning and Development Fellow, she worked with the leadership team to provide support and coordination through the execution of responsibilities that are vital to the success of the organization’s mission and vision. Central to this role was to facilitate strategic planning, monitoring, and reporting through providing support and oversight. She developed a comprehensive business strategy that aligned with the mission and vision of the organization, as well as implemented business initiatives with the assistance of the leadership team.

 2014-2015 Fellows

Anusha Subramanyam

Anusha is currently a doctoral candidate in the Applied Behavior Analysis program where she is working on completing her dissertation. Anusha is passionate about promoting pro-social behavior through education, and she applies this passion through her work with the fellowship. Her goal under the Leader Fellowship is to establish an after-school instructional clinic where early elementary school students will receive intensive, individualized academic support. She hopes to start her own non-profit organization one day that provides services to a given community in need, and she believes this fellowship experience will help her develop skills necessary to effectively lead an organization.

Alicia Anderson

Alicia is currently a student in the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and the recipient of the 2014-2015 Community Partnerships Leadership Fellowship with Become, Inc. She received her undergraduate degree from DePaul University, a university whose mission emphasizes diversity, community service, and social justice. Alicia feels that these principles are engrained in her. Both her academic background and her experience living in different areas of Chicago, witnessing dearth and disparity, informed her decision to pursue higher education at The Chicago School. Alicia feels honored and excited to work with Become, Inc. this academic year because their goal of creating social justice and community change closely align with her aspirations. She hopes to ultimately create a positive social impact in marginalized and underserved communities, optimizing the potential and resources within these communities, and helping to create social justice and equality of opportunity.

​​To learn more about past Leader Fellowship projects, click here.