A. James Clark Scholars Program | A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland

The Clark Scholars Program at the University of Maryland was established as part of Building Together, the Foundation’s $219.5 million investment in the University of Maryland announced October 2017.

The Clark Scholars Program is designed to recruit, retain, and graduate exceptionally talented engineering students with financial need who are poised to take on society’s Grand Challenges. Clark Scholars will confront these challenges with a multidisciplinary, socially aware, and entrepreneurial background and will earn the designation of National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars. The goal of the Clark Scholars Program is to graduate 100% of program participants with little to no college debt and for these graduates to join the network of leading Clark Scholars alumni who are advancing technology through innovation.

Students selected for this distinguished program will receive need-based scholarships. The program will support up to 10 new state of Maryland students each year, for a maximum of 40 students when fully enrolled. The program launched with an inaugural cohort of 10 students in Fall 2018.

Learn more about Mr. Clark and his connection to the University of Maryland.

Students will be selected based on factors including:

  • Financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Office of Student Financial Aid.
  • Prior academic and extracurricular achievements.
  • Interests and/or prior experiences that align with the program components, including multidisciplinary education, research, entrepreneurship, technology management, global leadership, and social consciousness

Prospective freshmen admitted to the A. James Clark School of Engineering during the freshman early action admission process will be considered for the program. No additional application materials are required. Students selected as semi-finalists will then be invited to participate in an on-campus interview as the final stage of the selection process.

Incoming freshmen scholars kick off their Clark Scholar experience with a two-week residential summer program on campus in August. The two weeks serve as an opportunity for students to meet and develop relationships with fellow cohort members, build a foundation for their fall academic coursework, and meet important people and resources integral to their success as a Clark School student. 

The summer program activities focus around community building, learning about campus resources, preparation for chemistry, and exposure to computational thinking. The 2019 summer program "set sail" with a day spent in Annapolis with scholars learning to sail, building teamwork skills, and racing in teams against one another. Other highlights included spending a day in Baltimore's Inner Harbor visiting the National Aquarium and escaping the Charm City Clue Rooms! Students also had fun conducting Chemistry experiments in one of the Clark Hall Bioengineering labs wtih Dr. Angela Jones, and working with the program faculty advisor Dr. David Lovell to develop their computational thinking skills. During the University Resources workshop, students had the unique opportunity to meet Dean Darryll Pines and intimately discuss the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges. Students then started the fall semester supported by a network of friends and university faculty and staff, and also equipped with the confidence to begin to develop their Fearless Ideas as Terp Engineers!

The Clark Scholars Program curriculum is designed for students to develop their leadership skills, business acument, commitment to service, and identity as a Clark Scholar. In the first year, scholars take the Engineering and the Grand Challenge's course with their cohort members, and also meet monthly with program staff as an indvidual cohort. Scholars also meet monthly with all cohorts to work on their service learning project, directed by Faculty Advisor Dr. David Lovell. The service learning project is a student-led three-year project, currently aimed at stormwater management on campus. Scholars also engage in semesterly advising meetings with Dr. Lovell and Program Manager, Liz Galvin, to discuss their educational and professional goals. 

During the next three years, scholars continue with advising and cohort meetings and collect additional experiences to build their resume as future leaders. Maryland Clark Scholars have the opportunity to interface with other Clark Scholars across ten leading engineering institutions through a conference hosted by the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, as well as connect with other engineering students, faculty, and engineering professionals through the annual National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program conference and biannual Grand Challenges Global Summit. Academically, they take business, leadership and interdisciplinary coursework that align with their individual professional goals. 

  • Clark Scholars must be active program participants, attending mandatory cohort meetings and advising meetings with program faculty, staff, and Clark School administrators.
  • Clark Scholars must maintain a 3.0 cumulative UMD grade point average, remain enrolled in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, make satisfactory progress toward a degree in engineering, and complete a minimum of 12 credits per semester/24 credits per year.
  • Clark Scholars must complete the program's academic course requirements. It is highly recommended that Clark Scholars participate in at least one semester of research for credit and present their research during the Undergraduate Research Day.
  • Clark Scholars must meet the campus financial aid deadlines on an annual basis, including filing a FAFSA each year by the January 1 deadline.
  • All Clark Scholars must participate in a Summer Program beginning in 2019.
  • As part of their studies, Clark Scholars will seek to solve some of the greatest engineering challenges as participants in the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program.

Full Clark Scholars Policy details are available on the Office of Student and Financial Aid website. 

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