Cunneen Summer Service Fellowship

The Sr. Seton Cunneen, SNDdeN ’65 Summer Service Fellowship (Cunneen Fellowship) was established in 1996 to honor the work and commitment of Sr. Seton Cunneen SNDdeN ’65, former Campus Minister and faculty member at Trinity. Funded by the Maurice R. Robinson Foundation, the Cunneen Fellowship offers Trinity students the opportunity to participate in a paid ten-week community service internship as a way of exploring social issues and making a commitment to serve the good of the community.

This fellowship links the realities of direct service needs with larger social issues. Concentrating on particular issues and working closely with the agency staff enlarge the Fellow’s perspective on understanding the way the agency works and its impact on the greater good of society. Working with the particular population served by the agency, the Fellow learns firsthand the genuine needs and concerns of people in vulnerable situations.

Applicants may choose from any number of Trinity’s community partners, or may select a community service organization or NGO with prior approval of the fellowship committee. Choices depend upon the applicant’s interest, among which could be poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, ecological justice, community building through the arts, or human rights abuses. Students may consider working for an organization where they have already volunteered or worked, provided they strongly support its mission and want to learn more about that NGO or community service organization.

The placement site is expected to provide the Cunneen Fellow:

  1. An orientation to its organization
  2. Supervision
  3. Opportunities for feedback

The Site Supervisor, the Cunneen Fellow, and the Director of Campus Ministry participate in a site visit and an evaluation process that includes details of the Fellow’s participation and the program process. The Cunneen Fellow, the Site Supervisor, and the Director of Campus Ministry at Trinity Washington University sign a service-learning agreement that outlines the expectations of the Cunneen Fellowship.

At the conclusion of the 10-week fellowship, each participant is required to submit a case study that addresses a facet of her experience in the agency, exploring how the agency works to resolve or solve problems inherent in this vulnerable group.

Fellows are expected to present a talk about their work to the Trinity Community in the next academic year; such venues have included the service fair, a celebration of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, or the Sower’s Seed event. In each case, the presentation gives the Fellow the opportunity to share her knowledge and reflections, as well as to promote the Fellowship to the larger campus community.