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2020-21 Houston Scholars Program at the University of Houston

The Houston Scholars is a competitive program for high-achieving freshmen and sophomores to receive mentorship and scholarship funding to pursue research, internships, and other distinctive experiential learning opportunities. Through targeted programming, participants will benefit from:

  • Honing their academic and professional skills.
  • Developing connections with faculty.
  • Engaging in scholarly endeavors.
  • Preparing for applying to nationally competitive scholarships and top graduate school programs.

In addition to these benefits and participating in a motivated cohort of high-achieving students, Houston Scholars are well-positioned to take advantage of other Office of Undergraduate Research programs, such as the Houston Early Research Experience (HERE) and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, which are supported with $1,000 and $4,000 scholarships, respectively.

In fall 2020, participants will earn a $500 scholarship that can be renewed for spring 2021, if they meet the following criteria:

Fall 2020

  • Attend the Houston Scholars virtual retreat on TBD.
  • Attend two Houston Scholars seminar series about the theme of inequality (Exact dates TBD, but will take place in late-September and early-November, respectively).
  • Attend the Houston Scholars winter program Jan 4-8, 2021. The week will introduce students to research and proposal development in preparation to apply for project seed funding for the summer and present their ideas for a solution on the theme of inequality at the pitch party on April 1, 2021.
  • Enroll in the course Your World and Your Voice about current events and argumentative writing (2nd year cohort). 

Spring 2021

  • Attend two Houston Scholars seminar series about the theme of inequality (Exact dates TBD).
  • Participate in two service activities in coordination with the UH Bonner Leaders program (specific activity and date TBD).
  • Participate and attend the end-of-year pitch party competition on April 1, 2021 that will be judged by a group of selected faculty and invited guests.
  • Enroll in the course Mapping Success about making effective decisions while at UH for both your academic and professional future (1st year cohort).

During the course of the academic year 2020-2021, Houston Scholars will have the opportunity to engage with a current events topic through research, seminar series lectures, and service learning. This year's theme is Inequality: Creating A More Equitable Houston. According to Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg (2020), “Houston is at the forefront of the major changes that are redefining the United States in the twenty-first century – the growing inequalities in a knowledge-based economy, the epic demographic transition, and the new importance of quality of place.” In this context, Houston Scholars will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with the rapid changes affecting our city. Students are encouraged to identify and research contemporary problems ranging from income disparity, poor infrastructure, lack of access to affordable healthcare, racial discrimination, and many other subjects. By the end of the year, cohort members will not only have a better understanding of Houston’s challenges, but will also be able to suggest potential solutions to create a more equitable future.

At the end of the spring semester (April 1, 2021), students will participate in a problem-based learning competition culminating in a pitch party that will be scored by faculty and invited guests. The winners not only claim bragging rights, but also a prize!

Houston Scholars are also eligible to submit funding proposals for research, attending conferences/workshops, and service activities for summer 2021. The deadline to submit proposals is March 19, 2021.

Questions? For additional information about the Houston Scholars, please contact Dr. Ben Rayder in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards.