About DSP

The Deaton Scholars Program is the student arm of the Deaton Institute. DSP engages undergraduate,  graduate, and professional students from every college and discipline at the University of Missouri in the fight against global poverty and hunger.

The mission of the Deaton Scholars Program is to provide a platform for University of Missouri students to:

  • Explore the value of interdisciplinary teamwork,
  • Understand their individual role in collaborative problem solving, and
  • Empower local action to address global poverty.

We believe every student has the ability to contribute to creative solutions for the world’s most urgent and pressing issues. DSP offers students a chance to learn about and engage with local and global issues stemming from poverty and hunger. As DSP participants, students join diverse teams and delve head-first into creative problem solving. With the help of program leaders, students gain hands-on experience proposing, funding, and implementing their own solutions.

  • Drs. Brady and Anne Deaton address students at a cohort event
Program Structure

We welcome a new cohort of students at the start of every spring and fall semester, with applications due toward the end of the previous semester. Once admitted to the program, students are expected to commit to regular group meetings and five cohort events during the first semester. Participants are placed into groups based on the interests outlined in their application, and groups will meet one another at the first cohort event.

Throughout the first semester, students work with their group to develop a project proposal through a process called collective peer mentorship, in which a group of people mentor each other to foster personal and professional growth. Participants benefit from the richness and diversity of their disciplinary and cultural backgrounds to build synergies through working on a common project. Collective peer mentorship is process-based and committed to continuous improvements.

Students leave the first semester with a concrete project proposal, a clear understanding of how each group member contributes to the success of the project, knowledge of the need their project addresses, a connection with a community partner(s), and a timeline for project implementation during the second semester. At this point in the program, students have already garnered extensive experience in collaborating with diverse partners and group members to achieve a common goal. However, participants may want to continue into a second semester with the program, during which they begin and often complete their project implementation.

Second semester Deaton Scholars work on implementing their project proposal. The second half of the program is independent, but students are expected to meet regularly with their groups and work closely with program leaders during this phase. Depending on the scope of their project, personal and professional interests, and project feasibility, students may begin or complete project implementation during the second semester. Some projects may require little more than the group reconvening before implementation can begin, while others might need external funding. Second semester students work directly with program leaders and advisory board members to make progress toward their project goals.

All Deaton Scholars are invited to attend additional events organized or promoted by the program leadership. These might include coffee with a change-maker sessions, community volunteer opportunities, group meetings with Drs. Brady and Anne Deaton, university events that fit within the scope of the Deaton Institute’s work, or book clubs. Program leadership collates and promotes these activities through a biweekly newsletter sent to Deaton Scholars Program participants. Newsletters will also be made available at the News section of our website.

Read more about the program impact and leadership, or learn how you can get involved!

Please reach out to us at deatonscholars@missouri.edu if you have more questions.