The Freedom Fellows

Founded in 2021, the Freedom Fellows program draws inspiration from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an accomplished religious leader, scholar, and activist who exemplified the utmost qualities of leadership. The program serves to close equity gaps for historically marginalized student populations, including:

  • Students who identify as of color
  • Students who are first-generation in college
  • Students from economically under-resourced families or communities

This program will allow students to develop skills revolving around selflessness, community relations, self-agency, the importance of education, practical decision making, and choosing love over hate.

Program Mission

The Freedom Fellows at Benedictine College prepares students to create a more humane and just world for the equal dignity of persons through reflecting the high standards of faith, leadership, and notable community service exemplified by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Program Objectives

A Benedictine graduate works with a child at a community center

  • To create future leaders who are driven to accomplish their goals and provide opportunities for others.
  • To convey that true human dignity is universal, inalienable, and intrinsic.
  • To disseminate the Christian gospel in understanding that we must put our faith into action for the service of the common good.
  • Participants will become efficient in public speaking and develop strong communication skills.
  • Fellows will learn the importance of advocating for others and demanding a just environment. Fellows will practice responding to racial, religious, social, and other injustices consistent with Catholic Social Teaching.
  • All fellows will show yearly improvement in their cumulative GPA.

Program Highlights

Students work on a computer in a classroom

  • Summer Internship: Students will have the opportunity to participate in King’s Scholar Program (Partnership in Boston)
  • Summer Program: Fellows will stay for 3-4 weeks in the summer and mentor/tutor Atchison public school students; teaching English, Math, socioemotional skills, and problem-solving skills.
  • Distinguished Speakers: Fellows will meet and have personal interactions with guest speakers who exhibit exceptional leadership skills in their fields.
  • Mentoring/Coaching: Every Freedom Fellow will be assigned an upperclassman or alumni mentor to discuss college and workplace navigation.
  • Campus Involvement: Fellows are expected to join a campus club or take on a leadership role on campus.
  • Workshops: Fellows will learn study habits, how to network, time management, and presentation skills. Fellows will take a deeper look into the concept of humanity and love through the philosophy of MLK and the Black Church.
  • Courses: Fellows will be required to take the following courses; Leadership, African American History and Legacy of MLK.

Program Benefits

Students posing for a photo on campus

  • Development: Increased knowledge in self-worth and the human dignity of the person. Greater love for one’s community and the development of skills that will serve Fellows throughout school and the workplace.
  • Training: The program will help participants become proficient in public speaking and developing strong communication skills. Fellows will learn the importance of advocating for others and demanding a just environment. They will practice responding to racial, religious, social, and other injustices in ways that are consistent with Catholic Social Teaching.
  • Scholarship: Fellows who meet all requirements will receive a full-tuition scholarship.

Join the Fellows


  • Minimum high school GPA of 3.0
  • Notable community service work
  • Involvement in high-school

Students who do not meet the academic requirements but have shown tremendous leadership qualities and community service resume, may be considered for acceptance into the program.


  • Six (6) program applicants accepted each year
  • Submit online application and participate in two rounds of interviews
  • Please submit your resume with your application (see sample resume)
  • Application deadline is January 15 for acceptance the following fall

Apply Now


Tyler Shephard

Tyler Shephard
Director of Student Support and Engagement
Director of Freedom Fellows