Trinity Fellows FAQs

Below are frequently asked questions and answers for those interested in the Trinity Fellows Program. If your question is not answered below, please contact Trinity Fellows staff.

Expand all   |   Collapse all  

What are the benefits of the Trinity Fellowship?

Trinity Fellows engage in leadership development work for social and economic justice. Fellows gain professional work placement experience at a local nonprofit or community-based organization while obtaining a master’s degree in one of fourteen disciplines. Fellows enter the program as part of a co-learning cohort, so you will have a built-in network of colleagues to share the experience.

Financially, Fellows receive a full tuition scholarship, a monthly living stipend to supplement health insurance, books, and other living expenses. Fellows are also provided annual individual professional development funds.

Fellows have access to all student services at Marquette, enjoy a variety of free or reduced-rate memberships at local organizations, participate in a reflection as a group once per month, and are part of a reputable and respected program that is growing in recognition across the city.

Who should apply?

We invite those who meet our eligibility requirements and those who demonstrate the following to apply to the Trinity Fellows Program:

  • Are passionate about social and economic justice
  • Are committed to personal leadership development and accountability
  • Want to discover or explore vocation or purpose
  • Understand the importance of engaging in critical self-reflection and life-long learning
  • Want to advance, connect and support the next generation of innovative problem-solvers and community leaders
  • Want to strengthen and develop the capacity and infrastructure of Milwaukee-based nonprofits and public organizations
  • Want to contribute to and build a more just Milwaukee

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible candidates have successfully graduated with a bachelor's degree and have proven their commitment to social justice and service by either completing a full-time service program (examples: AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Public Allies) or have worked 2+ years full-time with a nonprofit organization, with a minimum of 1 year at one organization consecutively.

The length of full-time service commitment should be no less than 10 months; 1+ years preferred.  There is no time limit between close of service and application to our program.

To be eligible for the Trinity Fellows Program, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, Permanent Resident, or DACA recipient of the United States.

I have completed two (or more) part time terms of service. Would that make me eligible for applying to the Trinity Fellowship?

We require at least one full-time year of service (10 month minimum) OR 2+ full-time years working in the nonprofit sector (2 years total with a minimum of 1 year at one organization consecutively), so two part-time terms would not qualify.

Do I need prior experience working with a non-profit organization? 

Yes, either as a full-time service volunteer (10 month minimum) or full-time non-profit employee (2 years total with a minimum of 1 year at one organization consecutively). 

Regarding the service/nonprofit work requirement, must you finish your service or work prior to applying to be a Trinity Fellow?

You may apply while still in service or working, as long as your service or work commitment is completed prior to beginning the fellowship in August.

What makes a competitive applicant?

Applicants have to apply to both the Marquette University Graduate School program of choice and to the Trinity Fellows Program.  Applicants who are admitted to the Graduate School will then be considered for a fellowship.  Our fellowship selection committee considers the whole person - undergraduate academic background and grades, essays, reasons for applying/future goals, personal commitment to public service, letters of recommendation are all important factors in the decision. Our strongest candidates have solid academic credentials, demonstrate a strong personal commitment to public service, and have goals that fit the objective of our program, " to develop urban leaders with a commitment to social and economic justice".

Is this a paid fellowship?

Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship to Marquette, and a monthly living stipend to assist with health care, books, and living expenses. Many Fellows have successfully lived off the stipend without additional loans, but that is up to the individual Fellow. In addition, Fellows pay a participation fee of $675 per semester, or $2,500 total. Education awards from completing service may be used towards this fee.

Are fellows paid from the host organization where they would have their assistantship?

The Trinity Fellowship is funded for the most part through a grant from the Burke Foundation, and Marquette University. Our founder, Dick Burke, purposely designed the funding model of Trinity so that everyone had some “skin in the game.” Therefore, organization partners are required to pay a monthly fee to host a Fellow for the 21-month fellowship. Fellows receive their stipend from Marquette University and are considered graduate service assistants. Fellows are also required to pay $675 per semester over four semesters for program fees.

What is the length of the fellowship?

The fellowship length is 21 months long.

Will help be available for me when I apply to this fellowship?

We are happy to answer questions about the program before you submit an application. However, to maintain a level playing field for all applicants, we will not be able to review your application prior to submission. Additionally, our website is updated frequently with current program and application information, and we strongly encourage you to explore it.

Please visit our application instructions page for more information.

What would you recommend regarding letters of recommendation?

An ideal candidate submits 1 academic letter and 1 professional letter of recommendation. Your professional letters should be from someone in a supervisory role related to your full-time volunteer service or non-profit experience.

We know many applicants have been out of school for some time and it may be more difficult to obtain the academic letters. We strongly encourage applicants to do their best to secure these letters. Academic letters are important, as they demonstrate your ability to succeed academically above and beyond your transcripts and test scores. Each academic program sets their own admission requirements, so it is important to also follow their guidelines.

What is the application and acceptance timeline?

Applications are due in early January. The pre-selection of the top 25-30 candidates is completed in mid-February. The advisory committee receives the top 25-30 applications for review, and selection takes place mid-March. We do our best to inform selected Fellows of their award by late March, with nonprofit placement assignments taking place from April thru mid-May.

Does a fellow keep the same assistantship for both years while they are studying?

Trinity puts a good deal of emphasis on finding a good “match” between Fellows’ interests and agency needs and job descriptions submitted. Our goal is to place fellows somewhere they can be for the entire 21 months, to develop skills, take on leadership roles, and grow capacity within themselves and their placement agency. However, we realize that not every placement works out, and have reassigned Fellows to a different agency as needed.

How are Fellows and host organizations matched?

Upon being awarded, Fellows will participate in a 30-minute informal interview with staff to assess their interests, skills, and preferences related to their placement. Each Fellow will also review the Host Organization applications and rank them according to preference. Additionally, host organizations will review Fellow applications and rank Fellows according to preference. Based on these rankings, Fellows will have 2-3 interviews with potential host organzations. The Trinity Fellows matching committee will then select the Fellow's placement.  Placement at a host organization is mandatory component of the Fellowship and while there may not be a "perfect" match, the matching committee seeks as many points of alignment as possible between Fellow and placement.

Will I be guaranteed a job at my placement organization or another organization after the fellowship?

No, but we are committed to providing professional development support to each Fellow during and after completion of the Trinity Fellows Program. Graduates are part of a strong alumni network and are in a strong position to compete for jobs upon graduation.

What are the average GRE scores of students in the program?

Our fellowship selection committee really looks at the whole person when we review applications - undergraduate academic background and grades, essays, reasons for applying, service experience; letters of recommendation are all important factors and are carefully reviewed. Our strongest candidates have solid academic credentials, demonstrate a strong personal commitment to public service, and have goals that fit the objective of our program. It is important to note that GRE scores are not a requirement to apply to Trinity Fellows; rather, they are a required component of some of the masters programs we offer.

Regarding the GRE - in general, successful Trinity candidates are at or above the 70th percentile in at least one, and usually two out of the three areas tested (verbal and analytical, for example) – that said, we have some flexibility in this area; it is possible that we would award a candidate whose demonstrates strong credentials but does not have scores at the level mentioned above. We can provide interested applicants with average GRE scores in different programs as requested. Please note not all Graduate Programs require a GRE score.

Would I be able to pursue a dual degree or a Ph.D as a Trinity Fellow?

We do not offer Trinity Fellowships for dual degrees or Ph.D programs at this time.

Am I able to complete the Trinity Fellowship part-time?

We do not offer part-time fellowships.  Ours is a firm full-time 21-month study/work model, with Fellows expected to complete their Master’s Degrees in two academic years.  

Am I able to complete the Trinity Fellowship online?

Given that Milwaukee is a stakeholder of the Trinity Fellows Program, all Fellows are expected to live in the Metro-Milwaukee area during the Fellowship. The majority of Trinity programming, academic programs, and host organization's responsiblities will take place in-person pending concerns related to COVID-19. 

How competitive is the application and selection process?

In the coming year, we will award up to 12 fellowships. We expect about 70-80 qualified applications each year. In addition to having completed service in a full-time volunteer organization (AmeriCorps or comparable program) or 2+ years of full-time nonprofit work, applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Marquette University graduate program of choice. For the graduate school, the minimum acceptable undergraduate GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Exceptions may be made in some programs if other application credentials are very strong.

The twin goals of the Trinity Fellows Program are to educate leaders for the advancement of social justice and leaders for nonprofit organizations. Not all Trinity Fellows will enter nonprofit work after they graduate, but we hope that all will become leaders for social justice. Our fellowship selection committee really looks at the whole person when we review applications - undergraduate academic background and grades, essays, reasons for applying, service experience, and letters of recommendation are all important factors and are carefully reviewed.

What if I am not selected? Can I apply again?  

Those who are not selected are welcome to reapply again to the Trinity Fellows program.