Advocates for Community Engagement (ACE)

The Advocates for Community Engagement (ACE) Program develops socially responsible, civically engaged student leaders who facilitate quality service-learning experiences for all stakeholders and advocate for the common good of the community.

ACEs make a one-year commitment to work onsite at Bay Area nonprofit organizations to facilitate meaningful service-learning experiences for USF students. Primarily, ACEs act as liaisons between their host organizations, USF faculty, and service-learners to ensure the needs and expectations of all stakeholders are accounted for and prioritized. Additionally, ACEs contribute to service project development and oversight, facilitate regular reflections, and engage in their own direct service activities at the host organization. To ensure that ACEs are prepared to take on their responsibilities and supported throughout their experience, the Leo T. McCarthy Center provides a training curriculum designed to cultivate and hone their skills, knowledge and sensitivities as advocates for social justice.

"I truly believe being an ACE is the best experience a student can get in their undergraduate career. I will forever be grateful for what I have learned in the ACE program, and I know it has completely shaped the path of my future and how I choose to participate in this world." - Amanda Mitchell, 2015

  • 2014–2015 ACEs conducted over 65 reflective dialogues in the spring semester 
  • 2014–2015 ACEs worked with over 271 service-learning students during the year
  • Alumni ACEs have continued their studies into a range of programs including medical school, City and Regional Planning, and International Peace Studies
  • Alumni ACEs are now working as social workers, educators, non-profit leaders, and are even employed at their former ACE host sites

Program Details

  • ACEs work 8-10 hours/week during the academic year
  • Training includes a two-day spring orientation, five-day fall training, three-day winter retreat, and biweekly group meetings on Fridays 4:00-6:00pm
  • Leo T. McCarthy Center staff meet with ACEs once a month to provide mentorship and advising around issues related to the ACEs’ work, professional development, and personal growth
  • ACEs are paid $16.30/hour for the first year and a $0.50/hour increase for each subsequent year
  • Participation in the ACE program is not for academic credit
  • Host organizations are selected through an application process and are paired with ACEs at the discretion of Leo T. McCarthy Center staff
  • The program requires one year commitment

Download ACE Program Goals and Objectives

How to Apply

ACEs apply and are selected the spring prior to the academic year during which they would serve. The application process includes completion of the online application (link below), list of references, and participation in an interview with the selection committee.

We are not currently recruiting for the upcoming academic year.

To be eligible to apply, students must:

  • Be a rising sophomore or higher (undergraduates only)
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or provide a compelling explanation for why GPA is below requirement
  • Demonstrate that they have already fulfilled the USF service-learning requirement
  • Commit to a full year in the program and to participate in the spring orientation, fall training, and winter retreat

Download ACE Job Description

ACE Resources

The following resources are intended for current Advocates for Community Engagement to use when planning reflections.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you determine which organizations are ACE host organizations?

The host organizations for the ACE program are organizations that have participated in the Leo T. McCarthy Center’s Community Partner Service-Learning Seminar. This seminar is offered twice a year to give community partners the tools to be effective co-educators in a service-learning experience. After partners participate, they can apply to host an ACE for the upcoming year. We select ACE host sites from the applicants we receive.

If I’m hired as an ACE, do I get to pick my own host organization?

We do try to give ACE finalists a sense of the organizations that will need ACEs. We also ask you to share the social issues you are passionate about, the skills you are bringing, and the knowledge you would like to gain. Ultimately, Leo T. McCarthy Center staff aligns those factors with the needs of the organization and the supervisor’s style to determine the best fit for ACEs and ACE host sites.

Should I still apply for the program even though I’m only available for one semester and not the whole year?

Yes, please still apply for the program but be sure to indicate which semester you will be gone. Sometimes we have current ACEs who plan to study abroad or graduate in December, so you may still be eligible.