McGrath Scholars

Our Mission

The McGrath Scholars of the Change the World From Here Institute was created to develop critically aware and goal-oriented system thinkers who are motivated to change their communities for the common good.

The program will facilitate and nurture leaders who practice cooperative, collaborative and inclusive leadership; engage in both courageous and compassionate action; cultivate changes in values by re-framing and reinterpreting situations, and practice contemplative self-reflection. 


The McGrath Scholars Program is an opportunity for students to enroll in a unique, 2-credit leadership course and join an exceptional cohort of peers, further enhance their skills, and engage in an experiential project.

  • Resume builder as a McGrath Scholar

  • Accelerated short-term class, Wednesday evenings: January through April 2021.
  • Retreat opportunity, two days off-campus in the Marin Headlands
 (on hold during COVID 19 restrictions)
  • Enhanced learning through peer-to-peer interactions and networking

  • Special recognition as a McGrath Scholar at graduation
  • Invited to an annual McGrath Scholar alumni network


The McGrath Scholars complete a two-credit leadership course (USF 300) that approaches leadership through the holistic development of the student via academic lessons, skills and engagement taught through a leadership retreat, and leadership mentoring through peer support.

  • Self-transformation
  • Vision and Systems
  • Courageous Action
  • Change and Collaboration

Experiential Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and model personal values of integrity and ethical leadership, and engage with those ideas in larger scales and contexts
  • Demonstrate key leadership and personal values through community relationship-building with courage and compassion
  • Manage ambiguity and work in a self-directed way
  • Incorporate creative thinking and innovation in daily leadership practice
  • Demonstrate the ability to problem solve and recommend solutions for systems, problems, and issues the challenge the common good

McGrath Scholar Eligibility

USF Juniors and Seniors from all schools and colleges are welcome to apply.

All registered Juniors and Seniors enrolled in Spring 2021 will apply in Fall semester 2020. Acceptance into the program will require an essay based application and an interview with course faculty or a member of the Advisory Board. The cohort of McGrath Scholars will be limited to roughly 25 undergraduate students. In order to be selected, you must apply to be considered. Have a question about the program? Email us at:


Capstone Projects

Each cohort of McGrath Scholars is broken down into smaller teams that work together through the semester to develop a capstone project. Each project must produce a plan for a tangible outcome that benefits the common good in our city, country, or worldwide community.  Scholars are encouraged to be innovative in their project development by designing new technologies, products, or services unseen in societies.

members of the 2020 cohort

2020 McGrath Scholars Capstone Projects

Despite a mid-semester shift in course instruction from in-person seminars to online classes due to COVID-19, these Scholars employed their resilience to continue their capstone project development. Take a look at the capstone project focuses from our 2020 McGrath Scholars as well as recordings of their presentation from our annual Capstone Project Presentations. 

Members: Enyolli Martinez, Cassie Murphy, Sade Odukogbe, Bowen “Bobby” Zhang

Team Gem plans to address the issue of teaching/informing students about sex education, specifically sexual consent, on college campuses. Beginning with USF, Team Gem hopes to shift how college students engage in conversations around sexual consent through the use of social media platforms, workshops, and curriculum integrated into the classroom.

View presentation »

Members: Mack Callicrate, Alexandra Hamilton, Mutale Mulenga, Kyla Obillos

In today's society, it is important to provide care for others. Team Lemonade plans to do this by supporting people who struggle with addiction that do not have a home or access to general medical assistance. Their service aims to provide support during the road to recovery, re-insertion into society and employment, and tools to maintain a healthy future for patients post-rehabilitation.

View presentation »

Members: Sameer Isaaq, Darla Mariduena, Lillian Saunders, Josine Torres

Team G.O.A.T's project focuses on communities that are facing gentrification. They look at how community gardens can be used to preserve culture, hxstory, and reflect the change we want to see in our society. Their project, called “Cultivating Community!” functions as a class in SFUSD elementary schools that focuses on teaching young students how to grow and maintain their own garden and care for their crops.

View presentation »

Members: Ya’qub Elmi, Jenny Jeong, Ethan Tan, Arianna Vazquez

Team Wavy plans to address the misconduct of police violence toward homeless individuals. With the use of community-based listening circles and resources from various mental health professionals/organizations, they aim to equip officers with the proper knowledge and tools to appropriately approach homeless communities in the Tenderloin and SOMA districts.

View presentation »

Members: Nicholas Banaria, Aileen Becerra, Kenya Miller, Jenica Paragas

KAJN Persuasion's project, "Health is Wealth," aims to address the issue of food insecurity within the lower-income communities of San Francisco, particularly focusing on the lack of healthy food and dietary education. Their goal is to create a free website that includes services such as quick and healthy recipes, healthy eating tips, and information on local food pantries.

View presentation »

Members: Sharif Adam, Evelyn Castro, Zachary Jorin, Joanne Vieira Norman

Rooted's project, Unity Through Love, plans to shine a light on how gentrification affects the K-12 educational system. With Brown and Black youth being disproportionately punished in the public school system, their goal is to reform punishments and encourage self-growth by using constructive conversations, peer counseling, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

View presentation »

Want to stay up to date with the McGrath Scholars Program? Join our mailing list for information about fall recruitment, cohort selection, capstone projects, and more!