College of Liberal Arts

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Program Information


Qualifications & Eligibility




Engagement signifies many things: commitment, attachment, participation, employment, activity, unity, interconnection, and mutuality. The Engaged Scholar Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin celebrates interdisciplinary research as a dynamic and evolving conversation about humanity and society in the Twenty-First Century. Intellectual alliances, cross-pollinating ideas, renewed and re-imagined partnerships are desired scholarly and communal goals for the present and the future, and will be the undertaking of the graduate and undergraduate ESI fellows. The ESI Fellows are mutual celebrants of the world of knowledge, culture, history, politics, ethics, the arts and languages, and the imagination. The ESI project aspires to amplify the educational resources available to the Ph.D. and undergraduate fellows beyond the parameters of their traditional research disciplines, in order to increase the benefits to the scholars and the communities in which they work and live.

What is asked of the ESI Fellow? A commitment to creative and risk-taking research; an inclination toward affiliation and translation; a vibrant sense of civic and intellectual engagement; and a shared endeavor to make public-facing scholarship a mission of generosity and conviction.

Research Environment

The Engaged Scholar Initiative: A Texas Model (ESI) aims to honor the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s visionary goals of enhancing and further expanding the relationships between public universities and communities in the United States. The ESI project provides doctoral students working in the Humanities and Humanities’ undergraduate students’ opportunities to work in concert with communities and public institutions, and share scholarly research. The ESI Undergraduate scholars will partner with the graduate cohort and benefit from instructive mentorship and mutual scholarly collaboration. ESI applicants should be independent-minded and invested in teamwork, committed to intellectual inquiry and public-spirited, research-oriented and ethically invested in the greater good.

Photogrammetry workshop with Castellano

ESI undergraduate fellows have the opportunity to gain new skills in workshops led by our graduate fellows



Capstone Project

The Capstone Project for graduating ESI fellows will be individually tailored to each undergraduate ESI fellow’s specific needs and circumstances. For example, ESI students who are additionally writing senior or honors theses can coordinate research interests and efforts. In some cases, the undergraduate ESI fellow’s Capstone Project might be in support of a doctoral ESI fellow’s public-facing project. An undergraduate ESI fellow’s Capstone Project might also involve a community service element. The boundaries for the Capstone Project are deliberately open, broad, and flexible; the cultural, scholarly, and social commitments of the undergraduate ESI fellow will determine the nature of his or her individual ideals as a Humanities scholar and citizen. For more detail on the Capstone Project click here.

Qualifications & Eligibility

ESI Undergraduate Applicant Qualifications:
  • Minimum of a 3.2 G.P.A.
  • Junior-class standing by Fall 2019.
  • Preference for applicants who are College of Liberal Arts students majoring in Humanities or Humanistic Social Science disciplines.

Undergraduate ESI applicants must submit a completed application, with all of the required components by or before the application deadline. A select number of highly qualified applicants will be forward to the interview stage of the application process; the cohort of undergraduate ESI fellows will be chosen from the interview pool.

Applicants must submit the following items:

  • Undergraduate Engaged Scholar Application Form
  • Application Essay (limit: 2 pages)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vita (limit: 1 page)
  • Sample Paper: scholarly essay written for a class at The University of Texas at Austin
  • Faculty letter of recommendation

Please review our How to Apply page for more information.

All application materials are due to Agnes Savich ( by Friday, March 29, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.


ESI Undergraduate Fellowship Award (two years):
Yearly stipend: $4,500
Research stipend: $750 per year

Distinctively qualified in-coming seniors will be considered for one year ESI fellowships; in-coming junior candidates will make up the majority of selected undergraduate fellows.

The $4,500 in yearly funding for the Undergraduate ESI fellows will be disbursed via the submission of timesheets (300 hours at $15/hour). Research funds can be used to attend an academic conference, independently or with an ESI graduate fellow; the funds can additionally be used to support fellows’ additional research-oriented needs.


Program Application 2019
ESI Reimbursement Guidelines
ESI Travel Reimbursement Form