McGrath Scholars

2023 McGrath Scholar Graduates

Our Mission

The McGrath Scholars Program 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, Monday evenings: January through April.
  • Retreat opportunity, two days off-campus in the Marin Headlands
  • 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 that challenge the common good

McGrath Scholar Eligibility

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

All registered Juniors and Seniors enrolled in Spring 2024 will apply in Fall semester 2023. Acceptance into the program will require an essay-based application and an interview with the course faculty or a member of the McGrath Scholars Interview Team.

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:

2024 Recruitment PROCESS

The recruitment process for Cohort 6 of the McGrath Scholars Program begins in the Fall semester. The recruitment process begins with nominations followed by written applications. Applications serve as the first round of our selection process followed by an interview process. Not all applicants will be offered an interview. Once interviews have been completed, the Selection Team will convene to determine the next cohort of McGrath Scholars. Below is the Spring 2024 (cohort 6) recruitment timeline: 

  • Applications Open: Tuesday, August 22 |
  • Applications Due:  Tuesday, October 3 by 11:59 p.m.
  • Virtual Interview Offers: Friday, October 13 by 5 p.m.
  • Interview Period: Monday, October 23 - Thursday, October 26
  • Program Offers: Friday, November 10 by 5 p.m.

Application Process

In order to be considered for the McGrath Scholars Program, all applicants must complete the online applications which include: 

  • Resume Upload 
  • 4 Essay Response Questions

We strongly encourage letters of recommendation to come from staff/faculty who can speak to your academic and/or leadership performance. Letters can be written by USF and non-USF affiliates who can best speak to these qualities. 

If you would like to include a letter of recommendation, have your letter writer email it to us directly at


2024 McGrath Scholars

McGrath Scholars



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.

Take a look at the capstone project focuses from our 2024 McGrath Scholars as well as copies of their slide shows from our annual Capstone Project Presentations. 

Members: Bailey Steadman, Will Hawkins, Memar Ivy, Isabella Williams

 Our project began while we were volunteering at City Hope when we noticed
that one guest was not getting the resources they needed due to the inability of non-profits to communicate and share resources. After weeks of research, experience with members of the unhoused community, and many iterations of our prototype we concluded that resources needed to be centralized. To facilitate this, we focused on building community and reciprocity between non-profits, because when relationships are built, it becomes easier to share ideas and resources.

Our prototype not only gets nonprofits talking to each other, but also provides an organized place for the unhoused to find the services they so desperately need.

Executive Summary 

Presentation Slides

Members: Felicia Mitchell, Cyrus Ahanin, Carson Okano, Jash Mehta

This project was completed with design thinking in mind as we developed our own experiences, combining them with the personal accounts of those around us. Using the process of storyboarding, POV and EQ trainings, and How Might We frameworks, we aimed to help nonprofits provide safety, dignity, and care to the unhoused in San Francisco. With all this in mind, we came together as a group to ideate, conduct secondary research, and collect the feedback of those around us to land on a direction that accomplishes our goal while keeping the values of our mission. Finally, we created a pitch representing this process and detailing our prototype to share with our stakeholders, partners, and peers.

Executive Summary 

Presentation Slides

Members: Zana Lawrence, Evan Cajigas, Naomi Villaruz

Our app, “It’s Giving Time” serves as a bridge between nonprofits and college students, aiming to increase volunteer engagement and awareness. Through the app, students can easily explore a wide range of volunteer opportunities based on their interests, availability, and skills. The platform provides a safe space for students to connect with nonprofit organizations, organize their volunteer shifts, and increase their community engagement. Ultimately, our app enables college students to create a meaningful impact in their communities while also promoting personal growth. Likewise, nonprofit organizations will benefit from the heightened volunteer engagement facilitated by our platform.

Executive Summary

Presentation Slides


Members: Evan Harper, Jewel Jurisprudencia,Maya Visconte

We created Community cookbook that has two main components: the connection center and the collaborative cookbook. The connection center holds the interactive map, the ‘finding connection’ page, and the chat feature. The cookbook offers the space for nonprofits to feed the community to share culturally significant recipes, aiming to diversify the meals being shared to honor the cultures of
their visitors.

Executive Summary

Presentation Slides

Members: Alfa Belen, Jared Murti, Samantha Martinex, Alexis Hall

Our project aims to create diverse and innovative solutions that produce sustainable outcomes and empower the unhoused individuals in San Francisco. Our project will promote collaboration between us, the Pack Rats, and nonprofit organizations while hoping to decrease the stigma of working with the unhoused population. We want to increase public awareness about nonprofit organizations that serve the unhouse and address the challenge and issue of volunteer retention.

Executive Summary 

Presentation Slides

Members: Amel Murray, Kemelyn Alvarado, Magdalena Macias

After partnering with Larkin St. and understanding the need to identify unhoused
youth in SF so that they may be aware of the resources available to them, we
knew a broad campaign on the Invisible Narrative would be beneficial. Our
design can be used on different varying forms of media and advertising platforms.
The Invisible Narrative campaign material includes questions asking the observer,
“Does your home...Change every night? Depend on someone else? Feel unsafe?”
which are followed by statistics on the unhoused youth population increasing
awareness of the high rate of unhoused youth. More importantly, the campaign
material lists Larkin Street Youth Services information.

Ensuring that anyone engaging with our content is informed on the services given by youth organizations such as Larkin. We knew it was important to also educate the
general public on resources available to young people who are unhoused or who
are at risk of facing homelessness to minimize the effects of the
Invisibility Narrative.


Executive Summary

Presentation Slides

McGrath Scholars Mailing List

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