Apply Your Education and Make a Difference

Christensen Community Scholars (formerly Community-Engaged Scholars)

Christensen Community Scholars are dedicated to applying their education to make a meaningful difference in their community and the world. Students accepted into this program will have the opportunity to engage in service related to their field of study and personal interests in addition to completing Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) courses.

The Community-Engaged Scholar program was renamed in 2022 to honor the legacy of Dr. Val R. Christensen. Known to students and staff alike as "Val," he supported students' interests in organizing for good in many different ways throughout his time at USU. Val recognized the value of taking time to dig into the community while completing academic work, and the Center for Community Engagement is proud to take up the mantle of encouraging students to make a difference in the world. 

The Community-Engaged Scholars’ program has been the most influential part of my experience here as an Aggie. This program allows you to think outside yourself, use your interests, and help impact those in the community around you. During your college years, there are boundless opportunities presented to you, so take advantage of every chance you get to serve your community.

Karli Ludwig


We recommend students apply for the program no later than the first semester of their junior year to ensure they have time to meet all the following requirements. In addition to the requirements below, scholars must meet with Center for Community Engagement staff members each semester.

Academic Requirements

Complete two Community-Engaged Learning-designated courses (appear as CEL in Banner attributes). These courses work with community partners to give students hands-on application of course concepts. Scholars can also create CEL designation by adding a service and reflection component to an undesignated class. See Course Contract link in the sidebar.

Alternatively, Scholars can choose to participate in up to 100 documented hours of community engagement related to their major/minor, which will take the place of two CEL courses. (50 hours = one CEL class)

Co-Curricular Requirements

Scholars will complete a minimum of 200 service hours and record all service hours in AggiePulse.

Scholars will attend three out of the five Community Voices & Engagement Workshops offered by the Center for Community Engagement in October and November every year. Topics will include civic and community engagement, sustainability, intergenerational work, immigration and global issues, and healthy communities. Follow this link to the Fall 2022 schedule.

Scholars will participate in two or more Legacy of Val Days of Service each year that they are enrolled as a Scholar. Log into AggiePulse to find these dates.

Scholars schedule a meeting at least once per semester with the Assistant Director of Community-Engaged Learning, or with another staff member of the Center for Community Engagement.

Community Action Project

A Community Action Project is due the final semester before a scholar graduates. This project is the culminating activity of the Christensen Community Scholars program. It is recommended that the community action project require between 50–100 hours of service. The project should be self-sustaining and leave a lasting impact. See examples in the sidebar.

Scholars will create and present a poster at the annual Center for Community Engagement Awards Ceremony and Celebration during the April before they graduate. Groups of scholars are welcome to combine efforts on the poster and presentation at the poster session. The poster will describe the impact of the Scholar experience on the student and the impact of the Community Action Project.


Students completing all the requirements of the program are recognized by:

check mark  Presenting their project at the Center for Community Engagement's Award Ceremony and Celebration held every April

check mark  Receiving Christensen Scholar honor cords for graduation

check mark  Being acknowledged in the USU commencement program

check mark  Being designated as a community-engaged scholar on their official USU transcript

Peace Corps Prep track for Christensen Scholars

  • Pursue the Christensen Community Scholars program with a Peace Corps Prep focus.
  • Requirements:
    1. Apply to both programs separately.
    2. Once accepted to both, work with Christensen Scholars coordinator to tailor the scholars program toward the Peace Corps Prep program.
    3. For both programs, there will be overlap between the course requirements and the action project/related field experience.
Peace Corps Prep


Admission to this program is competitive and limited, with only 50 scholars accepted annually. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Students may be contacted for additional information or interviews.

To be considered for admission, students must submit a completed application, maintain a 3.0 cumulative USU GPA (incoming freshmen must have a 3.0 high school GPA), submit written essays, and provide a statement of support from a staff or faculty member.