K Story Guide – Civic Engagement Scholar (CES)

LET’S TALK ABOUT your Civic Engagement Scholars experience:

Each year, the Center for Civic Engagement selects 20 – 25 student Civic Engagement Scholars (CESs) to lead their peers in partnerships with the local Kalamazoo community. In close collaboration with the CCE and community partner representatives, CESs facilitate ongoing programs in which over 150 of their peers work every week in public schools, non-profit and advocacy organizations and units of local government. In addition to coordinating complex projects, and training and supervising their peers, CESs conduct and share research on the issues their programs address. CESs create spaces for students to learn together and with community members about social, economic, and political issues in Kalamazoo, reflect on their experiences, identify potential solutions that build on community assets, and find their own sense of civic purpose.

LET’S TALK ABOUT the transferable skills acquired:

  1. Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving: Serving as a CES requires you to work with others to identify community issues and curate information about those issues in a way that is relevant to a college student audience. The ability to research content and share it with peers is critical to facilitating a successfully structured reflection with a group. The CCE emphasizes analytical skills that enable students to view issues from a systems perspective and connect the local to the global. The process of identifying a problem in collaboration with community members, learning more about it, educating your peers, engaging in service with them, and refecting upon the work represents the cycle of critical thinking necessary to solve complex problems both within a community and outside of it.
  2. Oral/Written Communications: A CES must aptly identify the appropriate means of communication, whether in written or oral form. Especially in a virtual environment, the ability to write and speak clearly, concisely, and professionally in emails, in virtual meetings, and in person, is important to building and sustaining respectful relationships with peers, community partners, and College faculty and administrators. Students in CCE programs are enabled to develop their own voices.
  3. Professionalism/Work Ethic: CESs engage with the local community and you are held to a high standard of professionalism as a representative of Kalamazoo College. Respecting others’ boundaries and understanding their priorities, following health and safety protocols set forth by partner organizations and the College, co-creating programming and assessment ideas, and appropriately resolving conflicts are all demonstrations of professionalism and strong work ethic.
  4. Teamwork/Collaboration: CESs work closely and regularly with each other, their partner organizations, and student participants to develop, lead, and assess programming, collaborate on complex logistics, and reflect upon the experience. You also work closely with staff members within the Center for Civic Engagement to identify community assets and needs; recruit, select and supervise peers who volunteer or are paid to work in specific programs; and plan events that build awareness of community needs, civic engagement in general, and strategies for finding solutions.
  5. Global/Intercultural Fluency: Collaborating with and informing yourself about diverse communities and community partners both requires and helps you build cultural humility. The ability to center another’s cultural identity in interpersonal experiences leads you to broader intercultural understanding and border-crossing, skills that are critical for working with diverse populations.
  6. Leadership: Those selected as CESs have already demonstrated leadership qualities in their previous civic engagement experiences. As a CES, you take engagement to a new level by recruiting others to community projects, coordinating engagement opportunities, and role modeling intentional, productive, civically-minded leadership. You are intrinsically motivated to educate others about distinct impact areas in need of community-based solutions.

LET’S TALK ABOUT sample resume action statements:

  • Coordinated, planned, and facilitated on-campus, on-site, and virtual civic engagement opportunities focused on issues such as education and health equity, immigrant rights, food justice, the vitality of the City of Kalamazoo, the school-to-prison pipeline, homelessness, youth development, and more. Examples include presentations, social media campaigns, and archive projects
  • Publicized engagement opportunities to college students and recruited participants for civic engagement activities and events
  • Selected, trained, and supervised peers to work sensitively and effectively with communities
  • Researched key impact areas to inform student participants about the needs, concerns, and opportunities to work with the local community
  • Created virtual content to educate the Kalamazoo College community about civic engagement and pressing public issues
  • Collaborated with the Center for Civic Engagement, fellow CESs, community partners, and College administrators to design and structure reflective activities that engage hundreds of college students in thoughtful conversations about their participation in the community
  • Followed appropriate reporting structures and crisis management protocols as set forth by community partners and College administration
  • Supported ## college undergraduates as we engaged in ## hours of service-learning engagement, specifically related to the following key impact areas:
  • Served as a liaison between ## student participants, partner organizations, and Kalamazoo College during planned civic engagement activities


Behavioral Interview Prompts:
Employers often ask questions about how you responded to specific situations. For example:

• Tell me about a time when you experienced a conflict while working on a team.
• Describe a time when you had to work well under pressure.
• Give me an example of a time when you showed initiative and took the lead.
• Tell me about a time when you made a mistake, and how you handled it.

You can use STAR as a framework to structure your response to behavioral interview questions.
• Describe the context and background for a Situation that’s relevant to the question.
• Explain the Task that needed to be completed. What was the goal?
• Outline specific Actions you took. How did you exhibit transferable skills?
• Share the Results of your actions. What was the outcome? What did you learn?