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This fall, 13 rising social sector leaders will join the University of Chicago Booth School of Business as part of its growing Civic Scholars Program.

The largest cohort to date, the 13 new students will join 19 current students and 16 alumni of the program designed for emerging leaders dedicated to careers in social impact.

Launched in 2016 with support from the Neubauer Family Foundation, the Civic Scholars Program offers scholarships to Booth MBA students who work in the government or nonprofit sectors. Each fall, the program admits a cohort of students—known as Neubauer Civic Scholars—who together discuss and apply their MBA learnings to the social sector, support each other’s leadership journey, and offer unique perspectives within the larger Booth community. Students in the first cohort began their Booth education in 2016 and were all enrolled in the Weekend MBA Program. In 2019, the school announced plans to expand the program, opening the scholarship to students in the Full-Time MBA and Evening MBA Programs.

This year’s cohort includes six Weekend students, five Full-Time students, and two Evening students.

“We are pleased to welcome our largest-ever cohort of Neubauer Civic Scholars who will bring a data-driven approach to work in the government and nonprofit sectors, creating positive social change in the world,” said Starr Marcello, Deputy Dean for MBA Programs. “Scholars find a welcoming home in Booth, where students are increasingly showing an interest in social impact—from enrolling in social impact-focused curriculum to events and hands-on learning opportunities offered by Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.” 

Beyond the classroom, Neubauer Civic Scholars gain access to specialized programming, dedicated faculty directors, and unique opportunities to engage with industry leaders in the civic space. As Booth’s hub for social impact, the Rustandy Center partners with the Civic Scholars Program to ensure students are equipped with business fundamentals, evidence-based research, and practical experience that can translate into social sector careers. Part of the scholarship includes a commitment to continue working in the social sector after graduation.

Booth’s multidisciplinary approach to business education helps prepare future leaders by teaching fundamentals like finance, economics, and operations and connecting students with real-world experiences,said George Wu, the John P. and Lillian A. Gould Professor of Behavioral Science and faculty codirector of the Civic Scholars Program. “Our Civic Scholars programming really dials into how civic organizations operate, introducing students to key players and encouraging them to work on real-world problems like measuring a program’s impact or scaling it. This experience is invaluable for the future leaders of nonprofits, social enterprises, or in government.”

Dedicated co-curricular programming for Neubauer Civic Scholars includes biannual cohort retreats designed to hone specific business and leadership skills or engage deeper in a sector issue via community-based experiential learning. Scholars also engage with prominent civic and academic speakers through roundtable discussions and seize opportunities to take leadership roles within the student community.

Robert Gertner, the other faculty codirector of the Civic Scholars Program, said Neubauer Civic Scholars gain quantitative and qualitative tools for problem-solving and decision-making that apply across industries.

“Neubauer Civic Scholars are mission driven and eager to take on more of a role in operations, management, and strategy to tackle challenges in the public or nonprofit sectors,” said Gertner, the Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance and the John Edwardson Faculty Director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. “Booth is proud to help train this next generation of social sector leaders as they tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time.”

To learn more about the Civic Scholars program, visit You can also nominate individuals for the scholarship program through this online form or share this pdf. For more information, contact Wai-Sinn Chan at

Note: The deadline to apply for the 2021-22 admissions cycle is January 6, 2022 for Full-Time and February 11, 2022 for Part-Time.

A list of the incoming 2021 class of Neubauer Civic Scholars is below.

Neubauer Civic Scholars

Haven Allen, Chicago, IL
Weekend MBA Program
CEO and Cofounder, mHUB; Managing Partner, Product Impact Fund

Josh Anderson, Chicago, IL
Weekend MBA Program
Senior Fellow, Future Ed, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University

Alex Bue, Oakland, CA
Full-Time MBA Program
Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program Manager, Swords to Plowshares

Jason Coleman, Chicago, IL
Evening MBA Program
Executive Director and Co-Founder, Project SYNCERE

Jasmine Ferguson, Chicago, IL
Full-Time MBA Program
Senior Operations and Compliance Associate, Rocketship Public Schools

Ben Harris, Denver, CO
Full-Time MBA Program
Health and Social Systems Strategic Advisor, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

Rachel Huynh, Washington, DC
Full-Time MBA Program
Senior Program Associate, Results for Development

Aviva Kapust, Philadelphia, PA
Weekend MBA Program
Executive Director, The Village of Arts and Humanities

Laura Kinter, Chicago, IL
Weekend MBA Program
Executive Director, Awakenings Art

Lynnette Miranda, Chicago, IL
Evening MBA Program
Program Director, United States Artists

Agrima Nagpal, Haryana, India
Full-Time MBA Program
Management, Strategy, and Finance Associate for Malaria Elimination in Southeast Asia, Clinton Health Access Initiative

Louisa Shepherd, Memphis, TN
Weekend MBA Program
Director of Collective Impact, Epicenter Memphis

Jorge Silva, Chicago, IL
Weekend MBA Program
Managing Director, The Neo-Futurists; Global Arts Management Fellow, University of Maryland 

Read More Civic Scholars Program Stories

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