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Awards and Scholarships

  • This list is in alphabetical order; for information about these programs or Awards programs not listed here, please contact the Director (
  • Institutional deadlines for these awards at WCU are always two weeks before the stated deadline!

Provides real-world data science experience in New York City

The AT&T Virtual Data internship pairs interns with a team of data scientists and analysts as they work to create a real-time impact on business. Interns will contribute part of their team's weekly meetings and tasks, as well as help with any design or problem-solving activities that the team conducts through the internship. Interns will also work hands-on with similar minded, passionate, and talented members in their field, they will receive networking opportunities with industry leading professionals, and be included in engaging events such as executive speaker sessions, professional development workshops, and more. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Summer 2021 application deadline: Friday, February 26th.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a college degree program for the full duration of the internship.
  • Applicants must hold a BA / BS or be expecting a Master's Degree (December 2021 / Spring 2022) in math, computer science, engineering, or similar fields. 
  • Applicants must be familiar with machine learning or deep learning techniques. 
  • Applicants must have a basic understanding of programming languages (Python, R, and / or SQL) and various operating systems (Linux, Mac, and/or Windows). 
  • Applicants must be available to participate in the entire program (June 7th-August 13th).
  • Applicants must be able to accommodate a 40-hour work week for the full duration of the program. 

Important Tips

  • Applicants should be willing to take risks when faced with challenges and be willing to go beyond craft solutions.
  • Applicants should be passionate about their tasks and take care to look beyond the surface of their work.
  • Applicants cannot be afraid to face a challenge. It is important that they understand the benefits of improving themselves and empowering others. 

Note: The 2021 internship will be conducted virtually in compliance with Covid-19 safety measures. 

Compiled by Ashley Tuhro

Boren Representative at WCU: Dr. Brian Railsback (
Language Training and Study Abroad

Boren Scholarships (for undergraduate students) and Fellowships (for graduate students), initiatives of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, such as Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Boren Scholars/Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. National security has expanded to include the challenges of global society such as sustainable development, environmental degradation, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars/Fellows commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 2021-2022 Application Deadline (past):
    • Boren Scholarships – February 3, 2021 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
    • Boren Fellowships – January 27, 2021 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • All applicants must be:
    • A U.S. citizen at the time of application
    • Planning an overseas program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Boren Fellowships are not for study in the United States.
    • A high school graduate, or have earned a GED
    • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree program located within the United States accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • Boren Scholars must remain enrolled in their undergraduate programs for the duration of the scholarship and may not graduate until the scholarship is complete.
    • Either enrolled in or applying to a graduate degree program at a U.S. college or university located within the United States and accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

COVID-19 Information

If travel restrictions would postpone an applicant's proposed trip, the Boren Awards group will assistn in finding alternative study programs. See more information on the "Apply Now" page of the Boren Awards website. 


Important Tips:

  • Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are awarded with preference for countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security. Preference is also given to students who will study abroad for longer periods of time, typically two or more semesters, and who are highly motivated by the opportunity to work in the federal government. For more detailed information about these preferences, visit the "Official Selection Criteria" and "Selecting an Eligible Study Program" pages on the Boren Awards website.
  • Design a study plan based on your own academic interests. The length of the scholarship/fellowship will generally be guided by the plan itself and the amount of time that will be needed to complete it. It is important to have a feasible plan. Most successful applications include a combination of serious language study and research or academic internships, as well as significant time overseas.
  • Tie your current academic plan, your fellowship proposal, and your future career goals into one strong narrative that makes the case for your Boren Scholarship/Fellowship. The application includes two essays, each of which includes several questions. Do not answer these questions one by one. Instead, you should write two integrated and comprehensive essays that clearly answer all the questions asked.
  • Study abroad advisers can help you find the most appropriate study abroad program. Boren campus representatives support students applying for Boren Awards (see Dr. Railsback). Seek them out well before the application deadline and seek their advice as you complete the application. Note that each campus representative will set its own on campus deadline prior to the final scholarship deadline.

Compiled by Helen Bowen, Renee Adamonis, and Hunter Gensic


College Internships -

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

College internship opportunity on Capitol Hill or in local congressional offices

The U.S. House of Representatives College internships are opportunities to serve with a Representative on Capitol Hill or at local offices. The positions are seasonal. The most accurate details of application requirements are on each Representative's website, typically under a tab titled "For Students." Standard tasks include answering phone calls, engaging in research, editing speeches, giving tours of the Capitol building, and attending committee hearings. 

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • The application deadline for Summer 2021 is specific to each Representative. The deadline is frequently toward the end of spring. 
  • Applicants must be current undergraduate students. 
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing with their university. 
  • Applicants typically must be at least 18 years of age with a valid I.D. 

Important Tips:

  • Given that each application process is specific to the Representative, each may have different requirements. However, submission requirements typically include a cover letter, a resume or curriculum vitae, letter(s) of recommendation, and an essay. 
  • These are non-paid internships.
  • Representatives give priority to students who live in their state or district. However, applying out-of-state is allowed. 
  • Representatives give priority to second-year students and beyond. 
  • It is advisable to apply to as many Representatives as possible, as the process is competitive. 
  • The Representative does not award funding upon becoming a D.C. intern. However, Western Carolina University provides funding opportunities through the Center for Career and Professional Development as a separate application process. 
  • One's major or minor does not affect acceptance into the internship program (political science majors are not a requirement); those with other majors are encouraged to apply. 
  • Summer session 1 is typically from May to June. Summer session 2 ranges from June to July. 

Complied by Lauren Howes.

DAAD scholarships, including those awarded for 2021-2022, are aimed primarily at graduate and doctoral students as well as postdoctoral researchers, although it is worth checking out the website and scholarship database (linked below) for potential opportunities for undergraduate students who do not intend to pursue a Master's Degree or a Ph.D. Sometimes, the DAAD website will highlight specific research grants offered to particularly qualified undergraduate and graduate students alike, e.g. the German Studies Research Grant. 

The scholarship payments depends on the applicant's academic qualifications. It is usually (as of August 2015): 

  • €750.00 for undergraduate students
  • €850.00 for graduate scholarship holders
  • €1,200 for doctoral candidates and postdoc scholarship holders

You can find an overview of other possible benefits in each program's call for applications. 

The DAAD provides you with an opportunity to acquaint yourself with and pursue your academic and professional plans in the German research sector. The association of German universities and their student bodies finance both Germans who want to go abroad and international students who want to come to Germany. 

Because the DAAD offers a very wide range of scholarships, it is extremely important that you (a) familiarize yourself with the scholarships available to you, (b) apply for those offers which suit you best, and (c) familiarize yourself with the requirements of each program. All of those steps have to be realized by carefully searching the DAAD scholarship database and refining your selections:

Application deadlines and procedures, required documents, and even necessary language skills (although a B1 level in German is widely considered a prerequisite) will vary depending on the respective offers and fields. Navigating the database may take some time, but it will save you a lot of trouble later on. 

There is also an application checklist for study scholarships of all academic disciplines, which serves as a very helpful orientation and overview of the types of documents you will need to hand in: This is not a substitute for working through the scholarship database and familiarizing yourself with the specific requirements of your particular scholarship.

Eligibility Requirements

  • DAAD grants are only awarded to applicants seeking to complete a full-time course of study with compulsory attendance in Germany. Applicants who intend to take a blended learning or distance / e-learning program are not eligible for DAAD funding.
  • In order to be eligible for one of the DAAD scholarships, you should have obtained your last university degree no later than 6 years ago. You should also be able to prove that you are among the best 30% of your graduating class. 
  • If you intend to stay in Germany for more than 6 months, you must have obtained your last degree (e.g. Bachelor's, Master's) in your country of residence or obtain this degree by the time the scholarship period begins. In programs which require a first university degree, you can apply in your last year of study. 
  • If you intend to stay in Germany for a period of time of up to 6 months, you must have lived in your country of residence for at least one year at the time of the application. 
  • If you are already receiving financial support from another German funding organization or state agency, you cannot receive a scholarship from the DAAD. An Erasmus scholarship is not compatible with a full DAAD scholarship. 
  • If work experience (usually of at least two years) is listed as a requirement for your scholarship, it refers to your experience at the time of your application. 
  • In order to receive a study visa for Germany, you will be required to present proof of your financial resources. This serves as a guarantee that you can afford the cost of studying in Germany. Since January 2021, students are expected to demonstrare funds of 861 EUR per month / 10,332 EUR per year. 

Important Tips

  • The application process can be a little confusing, and you may be overwhelmed by (sometimes conflicting) information initially. Do not hesitate to contact you national or local DAAD office:
  • Stand out and be yourself. If you bring diligence, passion, and self-reflection to your subject and academic approach, you will find it easier to convince others that you will both enrich and be enriched by the German research sector.
  • This DAAD brochure offers an overview of DAAD programs for study and research in Germany for the 2021-2022 Academic Year: Make sure that you are also able to locate these offers in the online database. Do not rely on this pdf file- like the application checklist, it is not a substitute for using the online database. 
  • As part of your application process, you will have to create an account in the DAAD online portal. If you experience any issues, contact
  • Do not forget about the time difference when submitting your application- if the portal closes at 24:00, it will be 24:00 CET (Central European Time), which is several hours ahead of the U.S.!
  • Do not hand in your application at the last possible moment, you will need a lot of preparation time to acquire and submit the necessary documents. The application portal may not open until about 6 week before the application deadline, but make sure that you already have some documents ready for submission by then. 
  • If a letter of recommendation is required, ask your faculty member as early as possible (ideally, 2-3 months in advance). It will usually have to be sent by mail. 
  • If your language skills are not yet sufficient to apply for a scholarship, check out some opportunities to learn German in online courses. For example, the Goethe-Institut as well as Deutsche-Uni Online (DUO) offer special online courses in German. For scholarship recipients whose funding lasts longer than six months, DAAD will pay the cost of one DUO module. 
  • Bear in mind that the DAAD pays no tuition fees for its scholarship holders. Although tuition fees are generally not charged in Germany, studying at some universities is not always freeof charge, especially in the state of Baden-Württemberg. 
  • Before you study in Germany, make sure to familiarize yourself with its higher education system: This will help you find your right study program and university while ensuring that you meet the requirements for the academic program of your choice in Germany. Use the DAAD Database on Admission Requirements for this:
  • For other information on studying in Germany (fees, cost of living, budget, further scholarship opportunities, experiences of previous international students, etc.), check out this very helpful website
  • Many international students use a blocked account to fund their studies in Germany. The money you transfer to a blocked account cannot be accessed until you enter the country. It is important to request the necessary documents early on. The completed forms, together with a copy of your passport, must be certified by a German diplomatic mission in your home country before submitting them to the bank of your choice. 

Complied by Julian Tomic

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Provides funding for teaching or research abroad after graduation

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program, providing students and young professionals grants for individually designed study/research projects or English Teaching Assistant programs all over the world for one academic year. Currently, the program awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in over 140 countries.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 2022-2023 Application Deadline: Application will open in the spring of 2021; date to be announced.
  • Applicants must have sufficient proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country sufficient to communicate with the people and to carry out the proposed study/research. (Note that many of the countries are English-speaking.)
  • Applicants must have a conferred bachelor's degree or equivalent before the start of the grant. In the creative and performing arts, four years of professional training and/or experience meets the basic eligibility requirement. At WCU, most applicants apply in their senior year or during the first year in graduate school.
  • Applicants who currently hold or will hold a doctoral degree by the application deadline are not eligible.
  • Applicants seeking enrollment in a medical degree program abroad are not eligible.
  • Anyone who has resided abroad for five or more consecutive years in the six-year period preceding the date of application are not eligible.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application. Permanent residents are not eligible. Dual citizens are eligible but may not be permitted to apply for programs in certain countries.
  • Employees of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development, board members or staff of a Fulbright Commission, members of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and their immediate families are not eligible. 
  • For more specific information, please consult the “Eligibility” page on the official Fulbright U.S. Student Program website.

Important Tips

  • Selection is made based on
    • The quality and feasibility of the proposal
    • A very clear presentation of why the applicant needs to study / teach in the country selected
    • Academic or professional record
    • Personal qualifications
    • Language preparation (as needed)
    • Preference factors as established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) and the Fulbright Commissions/Foundations
    • Extent to which the candidate and the project will help to advance the Fulbright aim of promoting mutual understanding among nations through engagement in the host community, among other activities
    • Desirability of achieving wide institutional and geographic distribution
    • Requirements of the program in individual countries
    • Ability of the supervising agencies abroad to arrange/confirm supervision and facilitate research clearance, if necessary

Other Important Notes

  • Applicants must be very familiar with the country/program for which they are applying. The Statement of Grant Purpose must fit the program guidelines for the host country, and it should indicate a clear commitment to the host country community and a description of how the applicant will engage with it.
  • All academic grantees must have an affiliation in the host country; sufficient lead time must be given to receive signed affiliation letters (invitations from the host country) before the application deadline, so start early.
  • English Teaching Awards (ETAs) DO NOT require affiliation with the host country.
  • Even if a country indicates that English will be sufficient for carrying out the proposed project, for purposes of Community Engagement, at least a basic level of language skill should be obtained prior to leaving the United States for the host country.
  • Preference will be given to applicants whose higher education was undertaken primarily at educational institutions in the United States. Foreign study during the junior year or other periods of undergraduate study that are integral parts of the curricula of American institutions (study abroad) will not be considered a disadvantage.
  • Candidates who have not resided or studied in the country to which they are applying for more than six months, not counting undergraduate study abroad, are preferred. Duty abroad in the Armed Forces of the United States is not considered disqualifying.
  • Candidates who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States will be given preference, provided their qualifications are approximately equivalent to those of other candidates.
  • For most programs, applicants who have had extensive, recent previous foreign experience in the host country are at a competitive disadvantage but are still eligible to apply.
  • Strong preference in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is for those who have not previously held a Fulbright grant.


Compiled by Helen Bowen, Karen Nesbitt, and Lily Gaddis

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Pays for Graduate Study at the University of Cambridge, U.K.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established in 2000 for students pursuing a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge. For 2021 entry, Gates Cambridge will offer 80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the U.K. The program is intended to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. Gates Cambridge Scholars are expected to exhibit outstanding intellectual ability, justification for the choice of study, a commitment to improving the lives of others, and great leadership capacity.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Deadline for U.S. citizens living in the USA only: October (date to be determined for 2021).
  • Deadlines for other applicants are dependent on the course to which you are applying.
  • Applicants must be a citizen of any country outside the U.K. (more details on website).
  • Applicants should pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge:
    • PhD
    • MSc or MLitt
    • One-year postgraduate course (with some exceptions – see website).

Important Tips

  • The committee is looking for scholars who demonstrate the desire, potential, and drive to make a significant contribution to their chosen discipline.
  • Academic departments at the University of Cambridge nominate only the most academically outstanding applicants for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • Although academics are important, the committee is also looking for candidates who demonstrate a fundamental desire to work for the greater good. Significant volunteer experience is recommended.
  • Applicants should provide eminent evidence of their leadership experience to date and indicate how their leadership skills may have a significant impact on their future careers.
  • Approximately two thirds of the scholars each year are pursuing a Ph.D. Masters should pay special attention to explaining why this is the optimal degree for them.
  • Thoroughly research the proposed degree using the Graduate Studies Prospectus and department website to ensure a strong case for a particularpostgraduate degree at Cambridge. The committee should be convinced that the applicant’s qualifications and aspirations are consistent with what Cambridge has to offer.
  • The application process includes the submission of a Gates Cambridge statement, two academic references, and one reference focused on the Gates Cambridge criteria and not, for example, rehashing a standard or previous reference letter.
  • Applicants who are shortlisted will be interviewed. Preparation for this interview is key (specific information about the interview is available on the website).
  • If accepted, some fees throughout the program will not be directly covered.

Compiled by Ariel Glosson, Jordan Fox, Magen Naef, and Jack Stuckey

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Scholarship of up to $7,500 a year for WCU undergraduate STEM students

The Goldwater Scholarship, honoring former soldier and senator Barry Goldwater, is available for sophomore and junior students planning to pursue a research career in natural science, engineering or mathematics. With the goal of encouraging prominent students to continue their studies in their respective fields, the Goldwater Scholarship is the most distinguished undergraduate scholarship in these fields. Students who win the award will receive up to $7,500 in their junior and/or senior year, depending on when they receive the award.

The Online Application for the Goldwater Award opens on the first Tuesday of September each year. The deadline is the last Friday in January.  Winners of the award are announced on the last Friday in March.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Application materials include a Student Questionnaire, Research Essay, three Letters of Recommendation, Transcript(s), Institutional Nomination Form, and when applicable, a copy of the student's Permanent Resident Card and Letter of Intent to become a U.S. Citizen. 
  • Applicants must be enrolled as a full-time sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited 2- or 4-year institution of higher education during the year of application.
  • Applicants must intend to pursue a research career in Chemistry, Computer Science and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Medicine, Physics and Astronomy, or Psychology.
  • Applicants must have a cumulative college grade point average of at least a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  • Applicants must be citizens from one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia, a U.S. national, or a permanent resident.

Important Tips:

  • The application process is extensive and involves a research paper.  Applicants must complete undergraduate research in an appropriate field before applying.
  • Applicants must complete a pre-application and submit it to the scholarship representative (at WCU, Dr. Railsback:, and then be nominated by him to apply.
  • Applicants must be dedicated to pursuing a research-concentrated career.  If you intend to get a medical degree of any kind, you must stress that you intend to complete medical research.

Complied by Will Zielinsky.

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Provides financial sssistance to students who propose to complete a program of graduate study leading to a Ph.D.   

The Hertz Graduate Fellowship Award is a merit award. This fellowship includes a cost-of-education allowance accepted by all participating schools, found on the Foundation's website, regardless of tuition and fees. The Hertz Foundation also provides a personal stipend to support awardees during their schooling. Awardees of the Hertz Fellowship are considered members of the Hertz Community. They receive mentorship to a lifelong community of other successful individuals, including other in-school Fellows and alumni Fellows. 

Eligibility Requirements 

  • Application deadline for 2022-2021 Academic Year: Fall 2021. Following the finalization of the 2022-2023 application, the Hertz Foundations will announce a deadline. 
  • Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
  • Applicants must intend to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physical and biological sciences, mathematics, or engineering.
  • Applicants must be college seniors, first-year graduate students, or participating in a gap year preparign to apply to graduate school.
  • Applicants intend to direct their studies toward comprehending and resolving current problems facing society.
  • Applicants are required to make their skills available to the United States in times of national emergency, in a nonbinding moral commitment.

Important Tips

  • The Hertz Foundation looks for applicants with qualities essential for future professional accomplishments and success. 
  • The Hertz Foundation does not generally award fellowships to students beyond their first year of graduate study except in rare circumstances.
  • The Hertz Foundation does not fund students pursuing professional degrees such as M.D., J.D., M.B.A., D.P.H., and D.V.M. programs. The Foundation will support the Ph.D. portion of a joint M.D. / Ph.D. program. 
  • For successful applicants who have received funding from the Hertz Fellowship, the Hertz Foundation will work with the awardee to coordinate with other Fellowship awards.


Compiled by Courtney Willemin, Chelsie Jarvis, and Lauren Howes

Support for Teachers Applying for Graduate School

The  James Madison Graduate Fellowship offers up to  $24,000 to future teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary level by the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation. This award is intended only for those going into or currently participating in graduate study to a master’s degree. Upon completion of the master’s degree, James Madison Fellows must teach American history, American government, or civics at a secondary level (grades 7-12) for one full year for each academic year of funding received under the fellowship. A significant portion of this fellowship includes Constitutional Coursework and the successful completion of the four-week Summer Institute on the Constitution, "The Foundations of American Constitutionalism," held in Washington, D.C. For more information on the guidelines of this fellowship, refer to

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • The deadline to submit the 2021 application is 5:00 p.m. CST on March 1, 2021.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be a teacher, or plan to become a teacher, of American history, American government, or civics at the secondary school level (grade 7-12).
  • Must possess a bachelor's degree or plan to receive a bachelor's degree no later than August 31 of the year in which you are applying.
  • Application consists of four steps:
    • Register Online
    • Complete the Application
    • Upload Transcripts as a PDF or send via fax to 507-931-2789 by March 1, 2021.
    • Recommendations-Recommender deadline is 5:00 P.M. Central Time, March 8, 2021.  

Important Tips: 

  • Applications are selected based on demonstrated intent to pursue and complete a program of graduate study that emphasizes the Constitution and offers instruction in that subject, devotion to civic responsibility, and capacity for study and performance as classroom teachers. 
  • Failure to complete the study, attend the Summer Institute, or complete the teaching requirements will result in forfeiture of the fellowship and require the return of all funds paid under the fellowship, plus applicable interest under federal law.
  • Be sure that both you and your recommenders add Madison@scholarshipamerica.orgto your email program's safe list.
  •  Email or call 800-525-6928 with any questions or concerns.


Compiled by Madison Curtis, Isabella McMahan, and Liz Hudson

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Pays for Graduate Study in the United Kingdom

The Marshall Scholarship finances high-achieving American students who wish to pursue a graduate degree from an institution in the UK, regardless of their field of study. Marshall Scholars gain a better understanding of contemporary Britain, allowing them to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Britain. Studying at Britain’s finest institutions provides scholars with many valuable opportunities that contribute to their personal and academic growth.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The application form for the 2022 competition will be made available in early June 2021. 
  • The closing date for receipt of applications in the appropriate regional center of the U.S. are late September or early October of the year preceding tenure. 
  • All candidates must:
    • Be U.S. citizens (at the time they apply for the scholarship)
    • By the time they take up their scholarship, hold their first undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7
    • Have graduated with their undergraduate degree after April 2019
    • Not have studied for or hold a degree or degree-equivaneltn qualification from a British University or GSCE or A Levels taken at a school in the UK. 

Important Tips

  • The selectors are looking for candidates who demonstrate excellence in three equally-weighted categories:
    • Academic Merit
    • Leadership Potential
    • Ambassadorial Potential
    • More information on each of these criteria can be found on the website.
  • The Marshall Scholarship is offered as either a one-year scholarship or a two-year scholarship with potential extensions (check the website for more details).
  • The Marshall Scholarship does not fund certain degrees. Check the website to see which degrees are ineligible.
  • Not all U.K. universities or degree programs have a partnership with the Marshall Scholarship, so check the website for a list of partnered universities or degree programs.

Compiled by Ariel Glosson, Matt Morgan, Holly Miller, and Liz Hudson

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Offers an opportunity to study abroad in Ireland after graduation

The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program is a national scholarship sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance that aims to connect the future leaders of America to the island of Ireland. Up to twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one academic year of postgraduate study. The program includes tuition, accommodation, and a stipend for living expenses and travel. 

Eligiblility Requirements:

  • 2022-2023 Application Deadline: Application will open in the fall of 2021, likely in September.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Dual citizens are eligible to apply providing they meet all other requirements. 
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, but no older than 30, on the date the application is due. 
  • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Degrees from international accredited universities can be accepted if all other conditions are met. 
  • Married applicants or those with a partner are eligible, but no allowance will be made for the expenses of the applicant's spouse, partner, or dependents. 
  • Applicants must be in good health. Those selected as Scholars are required to submit medical history and examination forms. 
  • Applicants who have already been selected as Mitchell scholars are not eligible to reapply for another year abroad. 
  • Applicants who are not Irish-American or studying something related to Ireland are still eligible to apply. 

Important Tips

  • Applicants are judged on three criteria:
    • Scholarship
    • Leadership
    • A sustained commitment to community and public service
  • Financial need is not a factor in the selections process.
  • An unsuccessful candidate can reapply, but must submit a completely new application. 
  • The university academic year runs from Septembe rto June, and is typically divided into three terms. 
  • The US-Ireland Alliance expects Mitchell Scholars to become active members of their non-profit organization, alumni scholar community, and remained connected to the island of Ireland. 
  • Applicants to not have to apply directly for admission to a university program in Ireland or Northern Ireland in order to become a Mitchell Scholar. 
  • Mitchell Scholars are permitted to work during the academic year. 

Complied by Lily Gaddis

Pays for Volunteer Work in Countries Outside the USA

The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of current and future generations. The Peace Corps Mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals: to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, to promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applications are always open, and you will need to indicate your dates of availability. Departure dates are given for each volunteer position.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Most opportunities require a four-year degree.
  • Further requirements, such as the ability to speak a foreign language, are required depending on the type of volunteering you wish to participate in and in which country you are interested in volunteering.

Important Tips:

  • Go to for openings and further details and requirements for specific positions.
  • The application process will require you to select a position that best suits your skills and interests. The process includes these steps: fill out the application, provide your health history, interview if selected for the position, then accept your invitation to serve if you are chosen.
  • Applicants must have a heart to serve and seek to make a difference in the world.

Compiled by Katie Hill, Alexis Moser, and Savannah Jones

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Provides Financial Assistance to Graduate Students Interested in Working for the U.S. State Department

The Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program provides graduate students with financial support, mentoring, and professional development for a career with the U.S. Department of State. It is now administered by Howard University and provides two summer internships, one in Washington, D.C. and one overseas at a U.S. embassy or consulate. After successful completion of the program and being eligible for Foreign Service entry, students are offered employment in the Department of State Foreign Service.


Eligibility Requirements

  • The 2021 application opens in June 2020.
  • Individuals must be United States citizens.
  • Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at time of application and must maintain this GPA throughout participation in the program.
  • Applicants must enroll in a two-year, full-time master’s degree program, at U.S.-based graduate institutions only, in an academic field relevant to the work of the Foreign Service (public policy, international affairs, public administration, business, economics, political science, sociology, or foreign languages) and be prepared to enter the Foreign Service. A degree in law will not satisfy this requirement.
  • Applicants must be able to attend a June 2021 orientation in Washington, D.C. if selected.
  • Applicants must be available to fulfill both 10-week summer internship obligations.
  • Each Fellow who obtains a master’s degree is committed to a minimum of five years of service in the Foreign Service. 


Important Tips

  • Cumulative GPA limit is strict (a 3.19 will not pass requirements).
  • Undergraduate seniors or those recently graduated may apply.
  • This program is meant for students who are committed to pursuing a two-year master’s degree program in a field related to the Department of State’s Foreign Service and becoming a U.S Department of State Foreign Service Officer.
  • This program awards 30 fellowships with up to $37,500 annually for tuition, room, books, and mandatory fees. This includes an academic year stipend of $16,000.


Compiled by George Hickein, Micah Patt, and Isaiah McAbee

WCU Faculty Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Pays for a graduate degree at the University of Oxford, UK

The Rhodes Scholarships are among the oldest and most prestigious international education awards.  The program is managed by The Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes. The award provides full financial support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Cecil Rhodes dreamed of improving the world through the diffusion of leaders motivated to serve their contemporaries: those who trained in the contemplative life of the mind, and were broadened by their acquaintance with one another and by their exposure to cultures different from their own. The 32 U.S. winners each year are chosen through academic achievement, character, commitment, and leadership.


Eligibility Requirements

  • The deadline each year is 11:59 pm on the first Wednesday of October. This year, that is October 6, 2021.
  • Applications open in early July of each year.
  • To be eligible, the applicant must be a citizen of the United States, a permanent lawful resident of the United States, or a United States resident with DACA status.
  • Applicants must apply from their state of legal residence or from where they have received two years of college training and a bachelor’s degree before October 1st.
  • The applicant must be 18 years of age but no older than 23 on October 1st during the year of application.
  • An applicant must have achieved academic standing sufficiently advanced to assure completion of a bachelor’s degree before October 1 in the year of admission to Oxford.
  • Applicants must be able to produce proof of citizenship or of lawful permanent residence, a list of principal activities (where a principal activity is one that the person contributed most of the work), academic transcripts, a clear photograph of the applicant’s head and shoulders, the endorsement of the institution from which they are applying, between five and eight letters of recommendations (four of which must be from someone who provided undergraduate instruction; the other(s) must speak to the applicant’s character), and, lastly, a personal statement not exceeding 1,000 words describing the applicant’s academic and personal interests, the proposed area of study, and reason for study at Oxford.
  • The applicant must display truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness, and fellowship.
  • The applicant must possess moral force of character, instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
  • The applicant must be able to attend a reception and interview in the city representing the region of application on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Thanksgiving holiday.


Important Tips

  • Applicants should confirm deadlines with their institution, as institutional deadlines override official deadlines.
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the application process and life at Oxford University are available on the Rhodes website.
  • For the required university endorsement, applicants should seek out their Institutional Representative or scholarship advising office. The endorsement should be supplied by the president, a dean, or a designated officer.
  • Applicants must have referees who can testify to their character and/or their involvement in extracurricular/service or leadership activities. These referees should be persons who can comment critically on whether the applicant fulfils the extra-curricular, non-academic requirements of the Scholarship and who can speak in detail to an applicant’s character.
  • In most years, even after a century of competition, a Rhodes Scholar is selected from an institution which has not formerly supplied a successful applicant.

Compiled by Montana Hansen, Madelyn Ricket, Nathaniel Welch, and Rachel Watts

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback

Provides funding for graduate education abroad

Through global grants, Rotarians support future leaders in fields related to these areas of focus:

  • Peacebuilding and conflict prevention
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Community economic development
  • Protecting the environment

Global grant scholarships fund graduate-level coursework or research for one to four academic years. A key feature of global grants is the partnership between the district or club in the study location (host sponsor) and the district or club in the scholar’s home country (international sponsor).  WCU applicants should consult with the Sylva or Highlands Rotary Clubs (or the Rotary Club in the applicant’s hometown).

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applications for scholars who will begin studies in August, September, or October must be submitted to Foundation by 30 June at
  • Proof of university admission at the time of application
  • Excellent leadership skills and potential
  • A proven record of success in an academic field or vocation
  • A commitment to community service
  • Well-defined and realistic goals
  • Concrete ideas for advancing within a chosen field
  • Sincerity about maintaining a lifelong relationship with Rotary after the scholarship period

Important Tips

  • Applications should be submitted at least three months before the scholar’s intended departure date.
  • Establish a timeline with deadlines, leaving ample time for each step in the application process.
  • Communicate with Rotary Club supporters throughout the application process to ensure that sponsor clubs or districts are maintaining their qualified status and are current on reporting requirements for open grants.
  • Limit to one area of focus and be sure to provide detailed answers to the questions in the scholar profile (filled out on the Rotary Foundation’s website).
  • Scholarship-specific information (rather than general global grant information) in pdfs can be found on the global grant page.


Compiled by Haley Adams and Cameron Stevens

The Schwarzman Scholarship pays for a Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, including the following: tuition, fees, room and board, travel to and from Beijing at the beginning and end of the academic year, in-country study tours, required course books and supplies, a Lenovo laptop and smartphone, health insurance, and a personal stipend.

Designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders, Schwarzman Scholars is the first scholarship created to respond to the changing geopolitical landscape of the 21st Century. Whether in politics, business, or science, the success of future leaders around the world will depend upon an understanding of China’s role in global trends. With the inaugural class enrolled in 2016, the program gives the world’s best and brightest students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and professional networks through a one-year Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities.


Eligibility Requirements: 

  • DEADLINE: Applicants from other countries (besides Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao) will apply between September and April.
  • Undergraduate degree or first degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent
  • Candidates must be at least 18 but not yet 29 years of age as of August 1, 2021.
  • Applicants must demonstrate strong English skills, as all teaching will be conducted in English.
  • There are no citizenship or nationality requirements.
  • Academic excellence will be a requirement for successful applicants, but there is no minimum GPA or class rank required to apply. Applicants are expected to have demonstrated excellence in their academic studies, and the most competitive candidates will be among the top students in their graduating class. There are no course prerequisites for applicants to the program.

Important Tips:

  • It is highly recommended that candidates submit applications when completed or up to two weeks in advance of the deadline. Due to high volume, submitting on the deadline day is NOT recommended, and applications received late (even due to online issues) will not be accepted. 
    • A complete and successfully submitted online application, including the requested personal statement(s) and supplementary components below.
    • Uploaded transcripts/academic records from every degree-granting college or university attended (undergraduate or graduate – must be combined into one PDF and then uploaded). If transcripts are not in English, official translations must be included.
    • Three electronic letters of recommendation: At least one of these letters must come from a recommender who can comment on the specific examples of leadership described in the candidate’s application, but the recommender must at least be able to comment on the candidate’s leadership qualities from direct knowledge of the candidate.
    • Video: Submission of a video is strongly recommended but not required.  The video can be up to one minute in length, and candidates are invited to introduce themselves in any style or setting they think best conveys their interests and personality. Note: the file must be less than 20MB to upload it to the application.
    • Current resume/CV: Please submit a resume or CV appropriate for any application for employment in your country. This can be no longer than two pages.
    • Two Essays:


  • Essay One: Statement of Purpose and Leadership (750 words). Guidance on describing your leadership qualities and experience in the Statement of Purpose and Leadership: Candidates must describe specific examples of their leadership that (1) explore their intellectual/analytical abilities to understand challenges and opportunities, and envision solutions, (2) take initiative to act, (3) use strong interpersonal skills to inspire a team effort, and (4) push through resistance and/or challenges in reaching results. The key is to help the committee understand the candidate’s leadership characteristics, not just to list titles and accomplishments. Candidates should avoid describing situations that might fall into one of the following categories, all of which are valuable learning and growth experiences, but do not give the committee a deeper understanding of the applicant's leadership characteristics over extended periods of time: (1) accomplishing a difficult but typical task assigned in the workplace (2) solving brief problems of cultural miscommunication while traveling or studying overseas (3) simply winning office in a student or community organization (It is, however, helpful, to describe the challenges faced and accomplishments achieved in office.) (4) brief situational challenges (focus instead on longer term projects and challenges.)
  • Essay Two: Current Affairs Essay (up to 500 words): Choose an issue in contemporary social, international, business, environmental, diplomatic, arts, or other policy that is of interest to you. This essay should lay out the current factors and trends influencing the topic and make a realistic recommendation of how local, national, or international leaders should intervene to contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous future. 
  • The selection process involves a rigorous evaluation of all of these components as well as in-person regional interviews. (Finalists will be notified mid-October if they are to be invited to interviews.)
  • There are no requirements for a specific field of undergraduate study; all fields are welcome, but it will be important for applicants, regardless of undergraduate major, to articulate how participating in Schwarzman Scholars will help develop their leadership potential within their field.
  • Married applicants may apply and will be at no disadvantage in the application process. Spouses/partners may accompany Schwarzman Scholars to Beijing, but Scholars are expected to live in the dormitory and participate fully in the program like single students. Spouses/partners may not live in the dormitory, and no additional funding will be provided to support spouses/partners living off-campus.
  • Applicants are discouraged from submitting any materials that not required as such materials will not be shared with the Review Committee


Compiled by Montana Henson, Mary Whale, and Cameron Stevens

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback

Provides $30,000 for graduate work in public service (policy change)

The Truman Scholarship is an award created by the Truman Foundation, which serves as a tribute to Harry S. Truman, the United States’ thirty-third president. This award is meant to support students who are passionate about public service and who are actively pursuing careers in this field. Truman Scholars facilitate progress in their communities, participate as active leaders, and seek challenging experiences with the intention of preparing themselves for their future careers.  They intend to become “change agents”: leaders who shape the future.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Application deadline: February 4, 2020.
  • Full-time, undergraduate student with either junior-level standing or senior-level standing (one cannot apply in the senior year in which one is graduating).
  • Must be a U.S. citizen (U.S. national) or one who can be expected to be a legal citizen by the date the scholarship is awarded.
  • Must be pursuing a graduate degree in a field related to public service.
  • Must have an anticipated graduation date between December 2020 and August 2021.


Important Tips

  • Applicants should have a history of great academic strength.
  • Applicants should be extensively engaged in their communities and in roles of leadership.
  • Students who have been nominated for the Truman Scholarship by faculty representatives in previous years may not be nominated again this year.
  • Applicants must be sure their intended graduate program fulfills the necessary requirements, which can be found on the Truman Foundation website.


Compiled by Madison Curtis and Emily Woolwine 

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Provides up to $96,000 for post-graduate study

The USAID Payne Fellowship Program seeks outstanding individuals with an interest in pursuing a career in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Individuals who want to work on the front lines of current pressing global issues such as poverty, hunger, disease, climate change, injustice, and more are excellent applicants for the fellowship. Fellows will have the opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people’s compassion and support. The Payne Fellowship provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Deadline: TBD, check the website for more information
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
  • Applicants must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall of 2022 for a two-year program at a U.S. University. They can be in their senior year of their undergraduate studies, graduating by June 2022, or they can be college graduates.
  • Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.

Important Tips:

  • Make sure to provide all required materials for the application.
  • Provide strong reasoning for applying, including clear professional goals.
  • Be prepared to demonstrate financial need to attend graduate school.
  • Clearly explain the motivations for applying for the fellowship.
  • Identify and explain background, experiences, and skills that will indicate potential success in the USAID Foreign Service.
  • Demonstrate a strong academic background.
  • Have strong letters of recommendation and make sure they arrive on time.
  • Finalists will be invited to Washington, D.C. for an interview and will be asked to provide a writing sample.

Compiled by Katie Hill, Magen Naef and Jordan Chambliss

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Provides Undergraduate Scholarships for Students in Tribal Policy or Environmental Studies

The Udall Scholarship is for undergraduate sophomores and juniors who are committed to Native American and/or environmental issues. This scholarship honors Morris and Stewart Udall, who significantly and positively impacted Native Americans and helped them to become self-governed, have better health care, and improve their lands and resources. This scholarship is granted to students who display leadership, public service work, and dedication to helping Native American tribes or the environment.


There are different eligibility requirements for each of the three categories of the scholarship that an applicant must meet.

  1. Tribal Policy
    • Must be a college sophomore or junior.
    • Must be a Native American or Alaskan Native who wants to work on tribal policy issues.
  2. Native Health Care
    • Must be a college sophomore or junior.
    • Must be a Native American or Alaskan Native who is pursuing a healthcare degree.
  3. Environment
    • Must be a college sophomore or junior.
    • Open to anyone who has an interest in environmental issues or environmental conservation.


Important Tips:

  • The scholarship provides up to $7,000 per year.
  • Contact your school's Udall faculty representative for the online application.
  • The Udall Foundation's submission deadline is March 2, 2021. 

Scholarship awardees must attend a 5-day scholarship orientation in Tucson, Arizona, that strengthens problem-solving, networking, and communication skills. This will be August 3-8, 2021, and the trip will be paid for by the foundation through a travel scholarship.

Compiled by Claire Bunn, Emma Younts, Savannah Fauber, and Rachel Watts

WCU Representative: Dr. Brian Railsback (

Pays for Recent Graduates to Work One Year as White House Assistants

The White House Fellows program offers college graduates who are working in their profession a chance to spend a year as full-time, paid assistants to senior White House staff, including the Vice President. Fellows spend the year chairing interagency meetings, designing and implementing federal policies, drafting speeches for cabinet secretaries, and representing the Fellows’ assigned agency on Capitol Hill and in international treaty negotiations.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The application period for the 2021-2022 fellowship year is closed. The previous deadline was January 8, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
  • Applicants must not be employees of the Federal government unless they are career military personnel.
  • Applicants must have completed their undergraduate education by the time they begin the application process.
  • While there is no age restriction, the Fellowship program was created to give selected Americans the experience of government service early in their careers.

Selection Criteria

  • Record of remarkable professional achievement early in one’s career.
  • Evidence of leadership skills and the potential for future growth.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public service.
  • The skills to succeed at the highest levels of the Federal government, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.
  • Recommendation Letters: Names and email addresses of three recommenders and one alternate must be submitted within the application portal. One must be from someone who can speak to professional competence and accomplishments, another from someone familiar with the applicant’s community and civic activities, and the third from a current supervisor. A past supervisor can be used if necessary.

Important Tips:

  • Work on professional achievements to develop a professional record.
  • Engage in community service or public service.
  • Submit recommenders early so they have time to write their letters and turn them in before the application deadline.
  • Take part in events that demonstrate leadership skills and teamwork.
  • Exceptional writing ability, positive attitude, strong management skills, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team are all important applicant qualities.
  • If chosen, applicants should prepare for interviews by knowing the application materials well, current events, and current key issues in the applicant’s professional field. Applicants should be able to articulate how they fit the White House Fellows Program.

Compiled by George Hickein, Josh Katzn and WIll Zielinsky

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