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Empower logostudents doing engineering research in a lab

The EMPOWER Scholars program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering, the Triton Transfer Hub, 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.

Application is open and due September 27, 2023.

Program and Application Dates

Program dates

The scholarship is available during the academic year (fall-spring) until students graduate.

The research opportunities are available during the summer (2024 dates are tentatively sometime between June 24 - August 30).

Application dates

The current application cycle is open and due September 27, 2023.


  • Scholarship: EMPOWER scholars are awarded a 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!!


EMPOWER Scholars are strongly encouraged, but not required, to:

  • Meet with the Program Coordinator once every quarter
  • Attend one cohort community building/social activity every quarter
  • Meet with departmental advisors to create strategies that lead to undergraduate and postbaccalaureate success
  • Participate in a summer research or internship engineering program


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
  • Low-income (Pell-grant eligible)

Application Process

There are 3 items required to apply to the EMPOWER Program:

1. Applications

  • General Application and Undergraduate Application (When you finish the general application, you will be automatically directed to complete the undergraduate application)
  • EMPOWER Application (After you finish the previous two applications, you will be given the opportunity to choose to complete the EMPOWER application.)
2. Short-answer questions (as part of the EMPOWER application):
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • If you have prior laboratory research or industry internship experience, please provide details. This can include a short description of your duties, how long your participated, information about your mentor/supervisor (200 words or fewer).
  • What are your engineering goals for the next 5 years? (200 words or fewer)
  • Explain how your participation in this program will help you achieve your educational and career goals.
  • Is there anything else that you'd like to clarify or share? (500 words or fewer)

3. Copies of transcripts

  • If you are an incoming transfer student (You do not have a UC San Diego GPA):
    • A copy of your unofficial transcript(s) from previous school(s) (community colleges, other universities, etc.)
  • If you have attended UC San Diego for at least 1 quarter:
    • If you completed coursework prior to attending UC San Diego (e.g., transfer credits), they will appear on your UC San Diego transcript. You do not need to upload transfer transcripts.

Criteria for Evaluation

Your application wil be evaluated based on these criteria, in relation to an engineering career:
  • Enthusiasm
  • Persistence
  • Resilience 
Text illustration APPLY


The current application cycle is open until September 27, 2023. Apply Now!



Undergraduate Research Logo

Contact: David Artis, PhD