Leadership Development and Civic Engagement

Alternative Break Programs
Alternative Break Scholars

Alternative Breaks (AB) are a student-run and staff-advised program at IUPUI. The program implements nine alternative breaks that engage an estimated 139 students annually. The program is led by 12 student leaders in the Alternative Breaks Scholarship Program. This includes 10 students who are funded by the Sam H. Jones (SHJ) Community Service Scholarship Program in the Center for Service and Learning (CSL) and two students who are funded by the Greening IUPUI Grant from the Office of Sustainability.

The AB program is managed by four co-coordinators who serve 10 hours per week and oversee trip leader trainings, marketing, curriculum, alumni programs, and more. Additionally, they plan and implement the Fall Alternative (FAB) together and each implement their own Alternative Spring Break (ASB).

There are eight trip leaders who serve 4-6 hours per week. Each trip leader is partnered and together they plan one ASB trip. Trip leaders select the social issue, manage the community partnerships and trip curriculum, and all trip logistics.

Students are advised by Niki Messmore, coordinator for civic engagement, and Jessica Davis, graduate assistant for leadership development and civic engagement.

Meet Our Alternative Break Scholars!


  • Bridget Barbara
  • Lyla Mahmoud
  • Melanie Schieve
  • Cassie Vera

Trip Leaders:

  • McKayla Benshiemer
  • Julianne Boyle
  • Melissa Cardenas
  • Jake Gale
  • Cecilia Gomez
  • Mariana Lagunas
  • Heather Rodgers
  • Becca Wisner