Liberal Arts Ambassadors Gaede Institute

Westmont's Liberal Arts Ambassadors are first-generation college students who are trained to see and share with others the full value of a liberal arts education. Supported in their community-engagement efforts by a competitive, need-based scholarship, ambassadors enjoy:

  • Structured professional development through placements in local after-school programs that enroll underserved youth.
  • A close community of peers who can be companions and conversation partners.
  • Relationships with mentors who can provide guidance about academic and pre-career choices.
  • Full immersion in the liberal arts experience through a first-year seminar and ongoing extracurricular opportunities.
  • Annual scholarship support ($1,000 per semester).

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Meet Our Current Ambassadors

Program Overview

Too few young people understand what a liberal arts education can offer, especially those from underrepresented groups, from socioeconomically disadvantaged families, or whose parents didn't attend college. Unfamiliar with the liberal arts alternative, these young people risk missing out on an education that can serve not just their career interests but all dimensions of their lives. 

The Liberal Arts Ambassadors program addresses this critical need while also supporting ambassadors themselves through professional development and strategic relationships. Ambassadors work with Santa Barbara-area schools and nonprofit organizations, helping students discover all the ways a liberal arts education can serve their future. Along the way, Ambassadors become more deeply invested in their own education, develop marketable skills, and enjoy a supportive network of peers and faculty mentors.

Program Expectations

Ambassadors ideally participate for their whole college career. First-generation college students with demonstrated financial need are welcome to apply; priority may be given to applicants whose background and life experience have equipped them to engage the challenges faced by underserved youth. If selected, Ambassadors are expected to:

  • Enroll in IS-070, a two-unit course that explores the unique value of the liberal arts and equips participants to articulate and live that value. Students will enroll in this course in Fall 2022.
  • Commit to serving as a mentor/tutor at a local high school or after-school program (4-6 hours per week with transportation provided).
  • Contribute to occasional events that help fellow students and prospective students better understand the value of a liberal arts education (about 5 hours per semester).
  • Model full participation in a liberal arts education by attending interdisciplinary lectures, discussions, and arts events (8 events per semester).

Fall 2022 Application Process

First-generation college students (incoming first-year students and transfer students) with demonstrated financial need are welcome to apply online. Applications include providing some personal information and responding to four short answers; no recommendations are required. Applications are due April 30th, 2022. 

Westmont partners with a local nonprofit agency to place Ambassadors at local schools and after-school programs. Student selected will need to provide evidence of a negative TB test, show proof of Covid-19 vaccination, and undergo a background check.