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Changemaker Scholars

Do you want to live your life in a way that makes it a better place for others? The Changemaker Scholars program helps students build the skills and knowledge to address society’s most pressing issues through direct service, business as a force for good, systems change and more.

Changemaker Scholars gain exclusive access to personalized mentoring, skill development, and career preparation that will position them to be difference makers in the world. Scholars will learn alongside each other in the classroom and community from their first year through senior year at Drake. The program provides access to experts in the community, hands-on learning opportunities with start-ups and non-profits, and education in entrepreneurism, leadership and civic engagement. Scholars take what they learn and put it to work in their communities through mission-driven work and model the spirit of Drake’s inspiration statement that together we transform lives and strengthen communities.

Changemaker Scholars will:

  • Take courses that emphasize civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and leadership
  • Learn about systems change by confronting the root causes of issues and exploring ways to transform structures and power dynamics
  • Get out into the community with site visits to non-profits and businesses that serve as a force for good, and meet and network with community leaders
  • Participate in hands-on experiences such as doing a service-learning project with a local non-profit and working alongside small-business owners
  • Take part in leadership and professional development opportunities like the Civic Action Academy
  • Receive personalized mentoring from staff, faculty and community members and assistance obtaining internships and paid employment
  • Have the opportunity to earn a minor in Leadership

This 4-year program is open to any entering first-year student in any major who has been admitted to Drake.

All members accepted into the program will receive a renewable $5,000 scholarship for four years.

Please apply for this program using the same login credentials as your Drake application. Interested students should apply by Feb. 1. (Late applications will not be accepted). Students may be asked for an interview. 

Apply Today!

Student Benefits

Student Benefits:

  • $5,000 annual renewable tuition scholarship for 4 years
  • Internship/project-based opportunities including with non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses that serve as a force for good
  • Professional development, training opportunities, and conferences
  • Resume building and networking opportunities
  • Advising and mentoring from staff, students, and community experts
  • Opportunity to earn a minor in Leadership or entrepreneurship 
  • Deeper understanding of civic engagement and changemaking


Requirements for Participation:

  • Demonstrated commitment to service and social justice as evidenced through high school involvement
  • A desire to engage meaningfully in issues of social justice and social change throughout Des Moines while at Drake
  • Eligible candidates must have a minimum of 3.0 high school GPA on a 4.0 scale.  Official school transcripts must be postmarked or submitted with your application for admission by February 1, 2024.

Academic Program Requirements:
Scholars will take the following courses together as a group, in addition to their major-specific coursework, AOIs and electives:

Year 1:
First Year Seminar, 024: We Show Up: A Critical Look Community Service & Volunteering (3 credits). In this FYS, students will address concepts, issues, and practices related to charity, volunteering, and social justice. Utilizing classroom discussions, various readings, and service learning, students will spend time in reflective observation, conversation, and writing to articulate their individual contributions to common good. We will wrestle with the notion of good intentions and question how to best show up to make a difference.

Changemaker Scholars Seminar, INTD020 (1 credit). This class will include tenants of social change, time for reflection, internship preparation and skill-building, and getting to know fellow Changemaker Scholars. 

LEAD 001 – Foundations of Leadership (1 credit). General topics include the definition and basic tenets of leadership, how leadership differs from management and power-wielding, and the traits/characteristics of leaders and followers including credibility and integrity. Students will read classic works in leadership and create action plans for leadership engagement and development.

Changemaker Scholars Seminar, INTD020 (2 credits). In this Spring as a part of this class, students will complete a project-based mini-internship with at least one other Changemaker Scholar at a local business or organization. Students can expect to engage approximately 5 hours a week during the semester for this project. 
*By completing and passing both semesters of the Changemaker Scholars Seminar, students will fulfill the Engaged Citizen AOI

Year 2: 

ENTR 101 – Introduction to Entrepreneurship (3 credits). This course features hands-on work where you have the opportunity to develop your own business! Regardless of your interest in business and entrepreneurship, this course teaches you how to think critically and creatively and problem-solve, all skills that employers want to see.

Drake Business Clinic Project-based Internship
- with the other Changemaker Scholars, work with the Entrepreneurship Department and/or a local business to help address a need, taking what you've learned from Entrepreneurship 101. Project will be guided by faculty and/or student leader. 

Years 3 & 4:
Engagement as a Changemaker in your chosen discipline
Serve as mentors to first-year Changemaker Scholars
Optional internships in preferred field 

All 4 years students will participate in a monthly gathering for all Changemaker Scholars.

Click for a more detailed Changemaker Scholars 4-Year Plan

Application Process


  • Entering first-year students must apply for admission and submit all required application materials to the Drake University by February 1, 2024.
  • In addition, applicants must complete and submit the separate Changemaker Scholars application by Feb. 1. Please log in using your Office of Admission application credentials. (If you have not yet started your admission application, you must start it before you can set up a scholarship/special program application.) Click here to see the application questions.  Late applications will not be accepted.
  • Some applicants may be asked for a follow-up zoom interview
  • Recipients will be notified in mid-March. Students who are selected must enroll at Drake by May 1, 2024 in order to hold their place in this program.

Frequently Asked Questions


It says Changemaker Scholars will live near each other in the residence halls. Do I have to live on campus in order to be a part of the program?
No, local students may live at home with commuter status.

Can I still choose my own roommate?
Yes, you can still choose your own roommate.

What is the time commitment?
In addition to the required courses, Changemaker Scholars will participate in community projects/mini internship the springs of their first and second years, at a minimum. Internships will be approximately 5-10 hours a week. 

Does this mean I shouldn’t be involved in other things?
While the Changemaker Scholars Program should come as a priority, it is encouraged that students find other student organizations and activities they are interested in. You should think carefully about the time commitment of the program and the time commitments of other opportunities you are considering. 

Will I need a car?
Students are responsible for getting to and from their service/internship sites. Most places in the Des Moines Metro are accessible by Des Moines’ public transportation system, DART, which is free with a Drake ID. Drake also offers a free bike library!

Do I have to be a certain major?
No, Changemaker Scholars can be in any major! 

I am not a business major – will I benefit from the entrepreneurship class?
Yes! The skills learned in Introduction to Entrepreneurship will benefit people of all majors. It helps develop critical thinking and creative problem solving skills to help address challenges in any sector.

Will I still be able to study abroad? 
Yes - we believe that studying abroad can be a great cross-cultural experience and help students broaden their worldview. Students will have the flexibility in their schedule to study abroad (please work with advisor and the study abroad office).

Will I get paid?
Changemaker Scholars receive a renewable $5,000 tuition scholarship for up to 4 years.

Are there any stipulations to the scholarship?
The scholarship cannot be combined with Tuition Exchange awards or the National Alumni Scholarship. The scholarship is not available for summer or J-term. Satisfactory Academic Progress is required for renewal.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL SCHOLARSHIPS ARE RENEWABLE (UP TO 4 YEARS TOTAL OR UNTIL A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IS EARNED) IF REQUIRED ACADEMIC STANDING AND GRADE POINT AVERAGE ARE MAINTAINED. For students entering one of Drake’s joint undergraduate/graduate degree paths, refer to the table below to see how undergraduate awards (including Fine Arts Scholarships) are impacted.


Scholarship Availability

Law 3 + 3

Undergraduate awards available for 3 years or until first year of Law Program (L1).

Doctor of Pharmacy

Undergraduate awards available for 4 years or through the 2nd year of the Pharmacy Program (P2).

Masters in Athletic Training

Undergraduate awards available for 3 years or until the first year of the Athletic Training Program (AT1). There is a one-time, $5000 scholarship for AT1.

Occupational Therapy Doctorate 3+3

Undergraduate awards available for 3 years or until the first year of the OTD program (O1). There is a one-time, $5000 scholarship for O1.


**Information subject to change. Program is dependent on receiving funding. 

Contact Amanda Martin, Assistant Director of Community Engaged Learning,

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