Academic Outreach

Our students, faculty, and staff take advantage of the many opportunities for academic outreach in the community.  We are able to collaborate with community organizations to address community needs and civic concerns and to critically examine public issues in part through the sharing of our resources, research, knowledge, and time.


Outreach Efforts

Worcester-Area Scholarships

The financial aid program at Holy Cross has been established to assist students who would otherwise not be able to attend the College due to financial restrictions.  Students from the Worcester area who apply and are eligible for financial aid from Holy Cross may be awarded funding from several endowed scholarships as part of a total financial aid package.

Learn more about Worcester-area scholarships


The campus libraries at Holy Cross—Dinand, Fenwick Music, O’Callahan Science, Archival and Special Collections, and Rehm—are all available to the public for scholarly research. The libraries offer an extensive collection of research materials including books, journals, DVD's, photographs, and walk-in access to electronic resources. Additionally, upon request of high schools, Dinand Library offers instructional sessions.

Learn more about Holy Cross Libraries.

For more information contact Alicia Hansen, head of research, teaching and learning,

Deaf Outreach

The American Sign Language (ASL)/Deaf Studies program at Holy Cross collaborates with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and non-deaf members of the Greater Worcester community to raise awareness, host educational programming events and offer service in the community. The Deaf Studies program partners with agencies to provide workshops, speakers, and meditated encounters between the students and the general public, including “Deaf-Deaf World” events held annually in September and ASL Mass held four times a year. The Community-Based Learning (CBL) program at Holy Cross offers students full immersion into the language and culture of Deaf people as they integrate their classroom knowledge with experiential learning through CBL partnerships. The CBL sites are developed with our community partners to provide a mutual exchange of benefits for deaf people and Holy Cross students. Students are engaged with “hands-on” learning of ASL. Examples of community learning sites include local independent living centers, the Worcester Deaf senior center, schools for the Deaf, the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf, the Deaf Catholic Archives, Big Brother/Big Sister programs and coaching local soccer teams with deaf children, and agencies serving DeafBlind individuals. Holy Cross ASL students also partner with U-Mass Medical Center and Boston University on research collaborations on accessibility in health care settings and developing sign language use in STEM settings for deaf students.  

For more information contact Octavian Robinson, assistant professor, World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures,

The Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning (CBL) is a teaching approach that connects classroom learning objectives with civic engagement.  Civic engagement occurs through service that meets community-identified needs or through research and experience that holds promise of social or scientific value to the community.  In this mutually beneficial process, students are able to gain a deeper understanding of course content by integrating theory with practice, while communities gain access to volunteers, resources, and the wide-ranging research and scholarly expertise housed in the College's many disciplinary departments. 

The structure of CBL courses can vary tremendously.  CBL project courses typically involve the whole class simultaneously in the same research project or community engagement event(s).  CBL placements typically involve weekly off-campus community service.  To learn more specific information about a particular CBL course, community partners, and/or Donelan Office leadership opportunities, please stop by Fenwick 321, call x3007, e-mail or visit CBL's website:

Marshall Memorial Fund

Through a bequest of James J. Marshall and Ellen O'Connor Marshall, the College has established a fund to encourage the creative and intellectual involvement of students and faculty with the Worcester Community in order to enhance the quality of life in Worcester and build closer ties between the College and the community. Financial support is available on a competitive basis for service, research, and community-based learning projects that are of academic benefit to Holy Cross students and/or faculty and of benefit to the people of Worcester. The Fund is administered through the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning. General questions about the fund and the selection process may be directed to Michelle Sterk Barrett, director of CBL. Learn more about the Marshall Memorial Fund.

The Ignite Fund

Established in 2017 and offered through the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World, the Ignite Fund is Holy Cross’ way of saying, in the words of Ignatius, “go, set the world on fire.” Through the Ignite Fund, the College invites students to “set the world on fire” by providing them with funds to match their questions to the world’s needs. Ignite Project-Based Learning Fellowships provide students with the opportunity to put the knowledge they have gained in the classroom into practice. The program funds student-designed, student-implemented projects designed to put the Jesuit principles they have absorbed during their time at Holy Cross to work.

Learn more about the Ignite Fund. For more information contact Professor Daniel Klinghard, Director, J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World, 

Teacher Education Program

The Teacher Education Program (TEP) prepares students to become reflective, justice-seeking educators who are able to affect change within the complex landscape of contemporary education. Through coursework and field-based experiences, specifically in an urban context, our passionate, committed and academically accomplished students advance their skills in instructional practices, classroom management strategies, and lesson planning as they work toward an Initial license in Massachusetts at the secondary or middle school level.

For more information contact Mary Beth Cashman, director of TEP,

McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture 

The Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at Holy Cross provides a place for interdisciplinary dialogue on basic human questions of meaning, morality and mutual obligation. The McFarland Center organizes lectures, conferences and forums to illuminate the complexities and trade-offs of moral decision-making, the richness of faith and culture, and the challenges and joy inherent in the pursuit of intellectual discovery. Most events are free and open to the public. Video of past events is accessible at

 For more information, please contact the office at

Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies students can work with local environmental nonprofit agencies, such as the Regional Environmental Council, the Greater Worcester Land Trust, the Blackstone River CoalitionBroad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Conservation Center, and the EcoTarium ecology museum.  This work can take many forms.  Internships through the College's Academic Internship Program can be arranged.  Volunteer opportunities, summer internships, as well as work-study jobs, are also available at these locations.  To find out more, visit the websites of these organizations to determine what is of interest and then make arrangements by sending an email to the Environmental Studies Director. 

For more information, please visit the Environmental Studies webpages

Holy Cross Science Ambassadors

This student group organizes and hosts hands-on science workshops and demonstrations for elementary, middle and high school students visiting the College, as well as visits local schools and museums upon request to showcase science and discovery. The Ambassadors provide interactive activities designed to heighten interest in the wonders and possibilities of science.  Supported by the chemistry, biology, mathematics & computer science, physics, and psychology departments.   

For more information contact Gaby Avila-Bront, assistant professor, chemistry department,

Botanical Advice

Holy Cross Biology Professor Robert Bertin has provided professional consultation to Mass Audubon and the state Department of Conservation Resources, and has made presentations for Mass Audubon, the Greater Worcester Land Trust and Tower Hill Botanical Garden. He serves on the scientific advisory committee for Mass Audubon and chairs the Open Space Committee in Paxton.

For more information contact Robert Bertin, professor/biology,

Gifted High School Student Program

This annual program allows a limited number of exceptional area high school seniors to enroll in up to two college courses, one each semester, at Holy Cross. The students, mostly drawn from the Worcester Public Schools, must be in the top 5 percent of their class to have tuition waived for one course each semester in any subject. Applications are solicited from local schools during the spring semester, and decisions are announced over the summer.  Interested high school students should contact their guidance counselor.

School officials seeking additional information may contact Kelly O'Brien, Programs Coordinator,

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer

The chemistry department provides use of its Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer to qualified graduate students and industry chemists outside of Holy Cross for scholarly research purposes.

For more information contact: Kevin Quinn, associate professor/chair, chemistry department,

The Weiss Summer Research Program

Holy Cross offers one of the most robust summer research programs among its peer liberal arts college. Each year, a hundred students participate in an eight-week immersive research project, some design their own projects, others work on existing faculty projects. Students in any class year and academic department are encouraged to speak with a potential faculty advisor, or contact Karen Harney, office of distinguished fellowships and graduate studies, Learn more about the Weiss Summer Research Program

Internship Programs 

Semester Programs: Washington, D.C. and NYC

Offered through the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World the Washington Semester Program and the New York Program are highly selective, and provide students (usually in their junior year) with unparalleled opportunities to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. or New York City.  The programs welcome students from all disciplines to connect their academic learning with direct, professional experience in their major fields, providing them with dynamic opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth and development. Students complete a policy seminar and a major end-of-semester project, and meet with prominent alumni in their respective cities. Learn more about the Semester Away Programs.

The Academic Internship Program 

The Holy Cross Academic Internship Program offers students the opportunity to gain valuable workplace experience in a field related to their vocational calling, and reflect on that experience in a weekly internship seminar. Students receive academic credit for a minimum of eight hours on site at an approved internship, as well as successful completion of the seminar. Students typically identify community partners in Worcester or the greater Boston area but the program can provide guidance. 

For more information contact Maryanne Finn, Center for Liberal Arts in the World,

Summer Internships (Center for Career Development)

Collaborating with the network of Holy Cross alumni, employers and campus partners, the Center for Career Development (CCD) shares expertise and engages students throughout their undergraduate career to translate the liberal arts experience into a meaningful vocation and a lifetime of professional achievement.  The CCD leverages the nationwide network of Holy Cross alumni, parents and friends to develop meaningful summer internship opportunities for undergraduates and advises students throughout the internship search process. Learn more about summer internships.

For more information contact Pam Ahearn, senior associate director,

Community Partner Collaborations

Holy Cross is privileged to partner with Worcester and Worcester-area non-profit organizations and agencies as part of its academic outreach. Below we highlight a few of those organizations beginning with two founded by Holy Cross students.

Student Empowerment Program (StEP)

Founded by Holy Cross students, Student Empowerment Program (StEP) is a non-profit organization that bridges the educational technology gap. StEP partners with existing college and university service programs to enhance educational non-profits and schools with innovative technology, ongoing training, and access to online resources. StEP purchases and installs technology labs at educational non-profits and schools. Technology includes laptops, projectors, Wi-Fi, etc. that is kept at the non-profit or school. All equipment comes updated with the latest educational software. To learn more about StEP, please contact Jake Medina, Learn more about the Student Empowerment Program.



Worcester Public Library Foundation

The Foundation secures funding for library programs and services which cannot be funded through local budgets.  In 2012, the College began a partnership with the Worcester Public Library Foundation and the city of Worcester to fund “Libby,” a state-of-the-art mobile library, used to provide books and other resources to local schools and community members.  The College contributed $80,000 per year for five years to fund on-going costs, including staffing, fuel, insurance and maintenance for the mobile library. Holy Cross recently agreed to renew its commitment of $80,000 per year for an additional three years. The 8-year agreement will result in a total contribution of $640,000.

Holy Cross is grateful to have received the 2016 Dr. Richard E. Greene Founders Award in recognition of its continuous support of “Libby,” and the resources the mobile library provides the community. 

Learn more about the Worcester Public Library Foundation

Nativity School of Worcester

Founded by administrators of the College of the Holy Cross, and co-sponsored by the College, the Nativity School of Worcester is an accredited, Jesuit, tuition-free middle school for underserved, inner-city boys of all faiths in grades 5–8. Approximately 75 Holy Cross students volunteer and participate in community-based Work Study weekly as tutors and intramurals aides in Nativity’s after-school program. The Jesuit community of Holy Cross has also provided financial assistance to establish student scholarships. Holy Cross provides student volunteers to the Nativity School through various offices and programs (i.e. Work-study, SPUD, CBL, etc.).

For more information contact Fr. James Stormes, Learn more about the Nativity School of Worcester

Teach for America 

As a top employer of Holy Cross graduates each year, Teach for America allows recent graduates to apply their knowledge and instructional skills to make a positive difference in the lives of K-12 students of under- resourced urban and rural schools throughout the US.  In 2016, Holy Cross was the fourth highest contributor among small colleges and universities.
For more information contact: Amy Murphy, Center for Career Development,
Holy Cross students have the opportunity to serve as tutors with multiple tutoring programs. Offered by various non-profit agencies, the tutoring programs recruit student volunteers, primarily through SPUD, Community-Based Learning, Student Programs, and Work-Study, to serve in schools throughout Worcester. Programs include:

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)

AVID is the largest, most comprehensive college-readiness system used by schools to improve the academic preparation and performance of all students, especially those who are underrepresented in higher education institutions. AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.

AVID has a fourth through twelfth grade system designed to prepare students in the academic middle for four year college eligibility. These are students who are capable of completing a college preparatory curriculum, but who are in need of support as they advance to the most rigorous classes that guide them to a successful college career and beyond. The main components of the AVID Elective classes are: academic instruction in critical reading and writing, organizational skills, college tutorial support, and a focus on higher order thinking skills. Holy Cross provides student volunteers to the CSI program through various offices and programs (i.e. Work-study, SPUD, CBL, etc.).

For more information contact Janet Mathieu, Community Resource and AVID Specialist/WPS,

Collegiate Success Institute (CSI)

In partnership with the Worcester Public Schools, local colleges and universities and concerned leaders from the business community, CSI Worcester serves students who are in the "academic middle" and who may not necessarily aspire to college, but who show strong academic potential. The CSI Worcester program brings these students onto a local campus for two afternoons a week during their junior and senior years of high school and pairs them with corporate and college mentors to give them a better understanding of the college experience, as well as help them learn about opportunities beyond college for a successful career in today's global economy. Holy Cross provides student volunteers to the CSI program through various offices and programs (i.e. Work-study, SPUD, CBL, etc.).

For more information contact Donna Connolly, director of youth access & career planning @ MassEdCo, 

Recreation Worcester is a free year-round out-of-school time program run by the City of Worcester. Through after-school programs, students will engage with program staff and community partners in enriching, athletic, artistic and academic programming. By enhancing these community partnerships through programming, Recreation Worcester aims to develop linkages between youth and community leaders through mentorship. Learn more about the Collegiate Success Institute

Let’s Get Ready

Let’s Get Ready provides free SAT preparation and college admission counseling to expand higher education access for motivated, low-income high school students. Let’s Get Ready mobilizes and trains college student volunteers to be the “coaches,” mentors, and role-models who provide not only SAT instruction and college admissions guidance, but the encouragement and inspiration students need to succeed. In partnership with Let’s Get Ready, each semester two Holy Cross students participate in a unique non-profit fellowship, organizing and running an 8-week SAT and college prep class for Worcester-area high school students. The student directors also recruit up to 20 volunteers and community- based Work Study students to be SAT teachers who share their knowledge and valuable experiences with underserved high school students. Holy Cross provides student volunteers to the LGR program through various offices and programs (i.e. Work-study, SPUD, CBL, etc.).