+Acumen Catalysts are outstanding community members who generously volunteer their time to work with current students



A +Acumen Catalyst is an outstanding community member who has participated in the course in the past and has generously volunteered their time to work with current students. Catalysts play an integral role in providing a supportive and inclusive learning community for all of our students who are seeking new skills to tackle problems of poverty and social injustice.




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“I'm a Catalyst because I believe in us. All of us. We have skills and abilities and power to do wild things, and it's the joy of a lifetime to find that in others on an ongoing basis. These classes and the folks who take them never cease to amaze me.”
— Hillary, +Acumen Catalyst for Social Entrepreneurship 101

How the application process works


  1. Apply for the team. Let us know more about you, what course you’ve taken and why you are interested in supporting +Acumen students in their current courses.
  2. Complete the Catalyst On-boarding Course. This course is a 1.5 hour introduction to the role of a +Acumen Catalyst and training for what you’ll do once you get started in the course. Completing this training course is the last step in the application process.
  3. Get started. Once your application has been accepted, we’ll send you the Get Started Checklist, the final steps to start you off in the course and get you all set up. Then you’re on your own to jump in and meet your fellow Catalysts and students in the course.


Catalyst Expectations


Volunteers commit to the full duration course and an additional 2 weeks before the start day, and 1 week after, serving between 2 and 10 hours per week. Regular reporting after each shift is required. 2 missed weeks is cause for removal from the team - maintaining and building trust with students is key and showing up regularly is how we do that.


“By asking open questions, or offering technical help and suggesting research insights into the prototype, system or project they are developing. So that we are all learning together.”
— Fiona, +Acumen Catalyst for Introduction to Human-Centered Design and Systems Practice




  1. Asking thoughtful questions that guide the students in completing their assignments and projects
  2. Gaining exposure to diverse perspectives, cultures and ideas by connecting with students from around the world
  3. Applying their personal skills and experiences in new ways by offering their insights and guidance to student projects