EMPOWER Scholars Program

The EMPOWER Scholars program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and the Undergraduate Research Hub. EMPOWER Scholars are transfer engineering students who meet program eligibility requirements and are driven to take major strides toward their engineering careers by utilizing scholarship, mentorship, and academic resources provided to them. Empower Scholars are a supportive cohort aimed to overcome the many challenges transfer students face when working in, through, and out of their engineering degree programs.

The EMPOWER Scholars program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and the Undergraduate Research Hub.

Empower Scholars will be selected annually on a competitive basis. You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:

  • Are a community college transfer student (will be enrolled full-time during winter and spring quarters)

  • Have a declared engineering major

  • Are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or national

  • Low-income (Pell-grant eligible)

You will be evaluated based on these criteria in relation to an engineering career:

  • Enthusiasm

  • Persistence

  • Resilience


  • Scholarship: EMPOWER scholars are awarded a “last dollar” scholarship for up to $3,333 per academic quarter. This scholarship is to pay for the unmet need, or gap between students’ other scholarships and their cost of attendance.

  • Faculty Mentorship: Engineering faculty will be paired with the EMPOWER scholar so that they can discuss things related to academics, research, graduate school and more.

  • Alumni Mentorship: UCSD Engineering Alumni will also be paired with the EMPOWER scholar to advise on the many career and professional pathways ahead.

  • Summer Internship Prep Program: A summer 4-week program geared toward both technical and professional development with access to tutors, faculty, alumni, student orgs and campus services will be accessible to EMPOWER Scholars at no cost.

  • Summer Research Program: A $5000 summer research stipend will be available for students to conduct research with EMPOWER faculty partners in areas of interest where students will have the opportunity to present work at UCSD’s summer research conference.

  • …and many more fun and synergistic activities for the EMPOWER Cohorts hosted by Jacobs School of Engineering and the Undergraduate Research Hub!!

Varies based on financial need
Academic Year
Supplemental Questions
  1. When did you become interested in engineering? Tell us about how it led you to choose this major and what you like most about your major. (200 words or fewer)
  2. If you've encountered any challenges in your study or pursuit of engineering, what has motivated you to persist or stay involved? The situation you're describing may be either academic or personal. (300 words or fewer)
  3. Have you participated in a research lab, an industry internship, and/or an engineering project team while an undergraduate or high school student?
  4. If you have prior laboratory research, industry internship experience, and/or an engineering project team please provide details. This can include a short description of your duties, how long your participated, information about your mentor/supervisor/project team (200 words or fewer).
  5. What are your engineering goals for the next 5 years? (200 words or fewer)
  6. Explain how your participation in this program will help you achieve your educational and career goals.
  7. Have you ever participated in any of the following centers, organizations, programs or something similar at any college or university?
  8. Is there anything else that you'd like to clarify or share? (500 words or fewer)
  9. Show 3 more