Clark Scholars Experience

Global Engagement, Business Acumen, Leadership Development and Service Collaboration

Clark Scholars Experience

The A. James Clark Scholars Program at the University of Virginia (UVA Clark Scholars Program) is envisioned to be distinguished by a world-class education rooted in a commitment to service, business acumen, technology innovation and leadership. The mission of the program is to provide unique educational and financial opportunities to exceptional students from populations traditionally underserved in STEM fields in higher education (Engineering). The UVA Clark Scholars Program is built from a model of cohorts of scholars learning in shared spaces to address the 21st century’s most pressing world challenges, having meaningful engagement with university and business leaders, participating in an international experience, and serving as peer mentors to future cohorts. The goal of the program is to facilitate scholars to develop as leaders and provide them with unique insights into engineering design, business and real-world technology applications.

The Clark Scholars Program is built on a cohort model that emphasizes the integration of four program pillars as part of a 4-year experiential learning model. The four program pillars are:

  • Global Engagement
  • Business Acumen
  • Leadership Development
  • Service Collaboration

Global Experience

Global Engagement is a core pillar of the Clark Scholars Program at UVA and is motivated by the idea that the world is becoming increasingly connected and collaborative. To prepare Scholars to thrive in this evolving global society, we are committed to facilitating an immersive global experience for our Scholars through the UVA in Valencia Program. This Global Experience is a requirement for the UVA Clark Scholars program and is designed to align with the four-year plan of a UVA engineering curriculum, while also providing a truly immersive semester-long experience.

Business Acumen

Business acumen is a core pillar of the Clark Scholars Program at UVA. Our vision of business acumen within UVA Clark Scholars Program is one that prepares our Scholars with skills, tools, and knowledge base required to effective lead and manage engineering projects post-graduation. These resources are beyond those available within the core disciplinary engineering curriculum offered by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, but available through partnerships within the broader University. To facilitate the goals of the business acumen pillar, the Clark Scholars Program has formulated an engagement opportunity aimed at providing core training for a business setting through the year-long “Business Essentials Program” in the McIntire School of Commerce, where Scholars participate in the McIntire Business Institute (MBI) and receive a non-credit bearing business certificate upon completion.

Leadership Development

Leadership development is a core pillar of the Clark Scholars Program at UVA. Leadership represents a hallmark of UVA Engineering students and often manifests in students engaging in extracurricular activities across grounds and within their student communities. Within the UVA Clark Scholars Program our vision of leadership aims to supplement this foundation through targeted leadership engagement opportunities and supporting Scholar led initiatives that represent the Clark Scholars Program. As part of this engagement, Scholars will have the opportunity to meet with and engage with leaders across Grounds and from the greater engineering/scientific communities.

Service Collaboration

Service is a core pillar of the Clark Scholars Program at UVA. Our vision of service within the UVA Clark Scholars Program is one that is student motivated and led. The Clark Scholars Program service pillar has two required components, an annual individual volunteer service experience and a cohort-based capstone project. The intended outcome of our Service Pillar, is the design and implementation of a service project that serves a community to which our Clark Scholars are connected to. We envision Scholars leveraging many of the learnings from the other pillars in the design and implementation of their sustainable service project.

Questions? Comments?

Keith Williams

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Clark Scholars Faculty Director

Williams' completed my Ph.D. in materials physics at Penn State University in 2001, and undertook postdoctoral research in the Molecular Biophysics Group at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, thereafter establishing a nanophysics laboratory in the physics department at the University of Virginia. 

Alicia Cowan-Brown

Clark Scholars Program Coordinator

Alicia joined the Clark Scholars Program in 2022 as the Program Coordinator. Her responsibilities include program implementation, scholar engagement, and collaborating with various partners to improve the Engineering student experience.