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Program Details

The Engelstad Scholarship Program provides a scholarship award of up to $5,000 annually in two $2,500 installments each fall and spring semester. The scholarship is renewable for up to eight semesters (typically for a total of four years) for students who maintain the award criteria.

Community Service

Scholars will each provide at least 50 hours of volunteer service each fall and spring semester (100 hours total each academic year) with their assigned nonprofit organization approved by the Engelstad Family Foundation. During the first-year scholar course, scholars are matched with their nonprofit organization based on the needs of each scholar, the needs of the community partners, scholar personality and organization culture. *

COVID-19 Update: Please note that the Engelstad Scholars Program is committed to scholars' holistic well-being. Service hour requirements are currently completed in a virtual setting until further notice. For more information regarding this decision, please read UNLV’s Guidance Regarding Internships and Experiential Learning Opportunities During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Progressive Learning Experience

Throughout their time in the program, scholars are encouraged to reflect on their experiences and create goals to develop new sets of knowledge and transferrable skills to prepare them for their futures as community leaders post-graduation. To support continued learning, scholars are required to complete periodic reflection journals and participate in discussions with their peers at various events held each year. Additionally, each semester in the program provides different pathways to furthering scholar growth. A brief, general outline of the scholar experience is provided here:

Year One

  • First-Year Scholar Course during Fall Semester (explained below)
  • Option to participate in Mentorship Program and be paired one-on-one with an older scholar mentor
  • Placed at nonprofit organization in Spring Semester and encouraged to focus on becoming oriented with the organization

Year Two

  • Continue service and becoming more familiar with nonprofit in Fall Semester
  • Option to participate in Mentorship Program and be paired one-on-one with an older scholar mentor
  • In Spring Semester, empowered to start brainstorming special projects or contributions to the organization

Year Three

  • Encouraged to take on leadership role and/or special project with organization
  • Option to participate in Mentorship Program and be paired one-on-one with an younger scholar mentee

Year Four

  • Emphasis on completing any special projects or assignments with the organization
  • Option to participate in Mentorship Program and be paired one-on-one with an younger scholar mentee
  • In the final Spring Semester with the nonprofit, complete the Engelstad Capstone Project (explained below) and graduate from Engelstad Scholars Program

Meetings and Events

Each year, there are various meetings and events that scholars attend to help remind them about program requirements and to build community with other scholars.  Some of these events include:


During the beginning of every fall semester, there is an orientation program to connect returning scholars with newly appointed scholars, remind scholars of their responsibilities within the program, and provide for some time for social integration and reestablishment of the scholars into the program.

Cohort Meetings

These meetings are intended to support mentorship and community building between younger scholars and older scholars. These meetings provide a space for these cohort groups to further bond and support one another through reflection activities, small group discussions, and team building exercises.

Fall Gathering

Typically in early December, this formal program recognizes scholar accomplishments from Fall Semester and provides a social time for scholars to decompress before final exams.

Capstone Project Presentations

All scholars are encouraged to attend the formal Capstone Presentations for their graduating scholar peers. This event is typically held in the middle of Spring Semester.

End of Year Celebration

At the end of Spring Semester, scholars, alumni, nonprofit supervisors, and graduating scholar families and friends are invited to this formal program in which scholar accomplishments are recognized and fourth-year graduating scholars are individually celebrated and presented with their Engelstad Scholars Program graduation stoles.

Social Events

There are various informal social events throughout the year to provide additional venues for scholars to build community with one another.  Currently, these have included game nights, movie viewings, and study sessions.

First-Year Scholar Course

Before beginning their service hours in spring, incoming Engelstad Scholars are enrolled into a mandatory course that provides an introduction to the concepts, theory and practice of civic engagement and the role of leadership. Topics will include:

  • The role of non-profit organizations within a community.
  • Community leadership and the difference between service and social justice.
  • Civic engagement and activities towards positive social change.
  • Non-profit workplace skills and professionalism.
  • Leadership competencies within the community setting.
  • Campus resources and college readiness skills (time management, study skills, test-taking strategies, etc.)
  • Application of these concepts, theories and strategies to future practice of service and leadership.

As a result of participating in this class, students will:

  • Develop relationships and connections with their first-year cohort peers.
  • Locate campus resources that can aid in their journey towards personal, academic, and career success.
  • Evaluate the different types of activities towards social change.
  • Develop their own definition and philosophy of community leadership.
  • Practice writing and evaluating goals for developing their leadership practice and skills within their community organization setting.
  • Research the Engelstad Scholars non-profit partner sites and analyze their potential placement fit with these organizations.
  • Apply all course topics to their future goals as UNLV students and within the Engelstad Scholars Program.

Capstone Project

At the culmination of a scholar’s time within the program, each are asked to individually reflect on their entire four years and conduct a formal presentation in which they articulate their unique pathway through the program, what they have learned from the experience, and how they plan to use their knowledge and skills gained in their future endeavors.