Social Impact Fellows

Collaborating across disciplines to solve today’s most pressing social challenges.

Through UB's Social Impact Fellows program, advanced graduate level students from the School of Management, School of Social Work, School of Public Health and Health Professions, and the College of Arts and Sciences create social innovation in Western New York. Together, our students collaborate, address pressing social issues and make an impact on our nonprofit community.

The program has received philanthropic support from the John R. Oishei Foundation, Charles D. and Mary A. Bauer Family Foundation, School of Management Alumni Association, UB President’s Circle and several generous alumni and friends of the university.

"It was an extraordinary experience. Working on this project, I’ve found that we really need to collaborate and work with people from all disciplines relevant to the problems and issues we face in society."
— Ejura Adebayo, MSW/MPH student

How the program works

Three fellows outside a PUSH Buffalo facility.

With teammate Elizabeth Ramirez, Samantha King-Shaw and Andy Whitehead created materials for a culinary workforce development program at the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Read how our 2023 Social Impact Fellows used their diverse perspectives to create change in Western New York.

The Social Impact Fellows (SIF) program prepares students to address social issues using principles of entrepreneurship and social innovation, during an eight-week summer internship.

  • Prior to their internship engagement, fellows participate in an intensive foundational seminar taught by talented UB faculty from across the participating academic programs. Content is focused on social innovation and team dynamics.
  • During the eight-week summer internship, interdisciplinary student teams are matched with local nonprofit partner organizations to address systemic social issues. Partner organizations are selected based on the quality and relevance of their projects.
  • Each week, fellows actively participate in their internships onsite Monday through Thursday, and then gather as a group on Friday mornings for lab sessions facilitated by faculty, who coach them on identifying, defining and generating solutions for social challenges.
  • The summer culminates with the Impact Showcase, where fellows highlight their accomplishments and showcase current and future impacts of their work.
  • Fellows receive a competitive program stipend.


For questions, contact Carrie Gardner in the School of Management (; Krista Paszkowsky in the College of Arts and Sciences (; Kristina Lazzaro in the School of Social Work (; or Ariana Martinez in the School of Public Health and Health Professions (

Interested in applying?
Visit the 2024 SIF Application today.

How students, organizations and the community benefit

MSW student Kiara Owen with an Open Buffalo shirt that reads: "Racial Economic Ecological Justice.".

MSW student Kiara Owen and her teammates worked with the nonprofit Open Buffalo on a business plan for an urban ecology center that would address environmental racism in East Buffalo. Photo: Lauren McGowan

Across the globe, social innovation is rapidly growing, as companies, nonprofits and governments partner to tackle sweeping challenges. That’s the spirit that guides the Social Impact Fellows program—and benefits all involved.

  • Students gain skills in strategic planning, creative problem-solving, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship (the ability to innovate within an organization), making them more competitive in the job market. 
  • Many students have said the program inspired them to expand their career goals to include nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship.
  • Through their internships, fellows find creative ways to address social issues, thereby making a tangible impact on our community.

To support the Social Impact Fellows program, make a gift to UB’s Social Impact Fellows Fund.