The Donald A. Strauss Foundation Scholarship

UCI (Big 7 Pre-Application) Mandatory Advising Deadline:

November 14, 2019 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time for Fall 2020 funding

Access the Strauss Scholarship Applicant Intent Form/Pre-Application between September and October annually to begin the mandatory advising process.


A $15,000 scholarship given to sophomores, juniors, or 4th year seniors (only if taking a fifth year to graduate) at 15 pre-selected 4-year California colleges or universities who have demonstrated an interest in public service, outstanding leadership potential, have developed and can demonstrate effective communication skills, and wish to “make a difference” in local, regional, or national communities. UC Irvine is pleased to be one of these pre-selected universities.

Please note: Other UCI Departments/Schools manage Strauss Scholarships, but this particular one is managed through SOP.


If applying in 2019-20, you must be graduating in 2021 or 2022. Students may be pursuing any major and must be in the upper 1/3 of their class, and who expect that a significant part of their lives will be devoted to public service. There are no citizenship restrictions.

Please note that external scholarship agencies will consider all of your credit-bearing coursework from any college or institution as part of the review process (including CSU, community colleges, private colleges or other UC campuses/Extension programs, and including units earned while in high school). Grades from other colleges will be included in the calculation of your overall GPA for eligibility purposes.

SOP Required Advising Process

To begin the SOP advising process, sophomores and juniors pursuing a bachelors degree on a full-time basis will complete the Applicant Intent Form (previously referred to as a Pre-application), due November 14, 2019 at noon.

In mid-November, SOP staff review Pre-Applications, determine whether you are eligible for the scholarship(s) you have chosen, and meet with potential applicants to discuss their candidacy and subsequent steps. Eligible candidates will then be assigned to a primary staff advisor, who will provide strategic advice, instructions for submitting drafts for personalized feedback. Eligible candidates will also receive an invitation to join our Big 7 Canvas Course, where you will find prompts, deadlines, and detailed instructions for how to prepare the following application first-draft materials:

  1. An application cover form, including a 1-paragraph project summary/abstract;
  2. A 1-page resume focused on your public service and leadership experiences;
  3. A 1-page personal statement;
  4. A 4-page project proposal, including:
    • Background information necessary to understand the need for your service project, or a statement of the social problem which you would like to address;
    • Your project’s specific goals, and the details of your action plan to achieving them;
    • How you will measure the project’s impact on public service, social change or social entrepreneurship;
    • Strategies for mobilizing participants and additional volunteers, including how the project will be sustained after your graduation;
    • Project timeline (May 2020-April 2021);
    • Budget ($8,000 for project, $7,000 for educational expenses).
  5. Transcripts for all coursework for which you have received college credit;
  6. 2 to 3 letters of recommendation, including a letter of support if your project includes a participating partner organization.

The heart of the application is a project proposal for a community or public service project to be carried out between the end of the Sophomore year and the spring of the Junior year (for sophomores) or the end of the Junior year and the spring of the Senior year (for juniors or seniors taking a fourth year). The proposal is limited to 4 pages, typed and 1.5-spaced. Please note that students may work together and submit a single project proposal, but each student must individually submit other materials, which include a 1-page personal statement, a 1-page resume, 2-3 letters of recommendation, an application summary, a signed copy of acceptance agreement, and a transcript(s) of all college work.

1st drafts of the complete application materials will be due to the SOP office at noon on January 8, 2019, along with contact information for potential writers for your letters of recommendation. These drafts will be used in the nomination process.

The campus endorsement (nomination) committee will review 1st drafts and select up to three (3) nominees, using the Strauss Foundation’s “What We’re Looking For” as a basis for selection. UCI’s three nominees will receive detailed feedback for revision of their materials in January, and work closely with staff advisors in February to prepare a final revision for submission to the Strauss Foundation.

Letters for the 3 nominees should be signed, on letterhead, and submitted directly to SOP by email at, campus mail (Zot code 5695), or drop them off in person at our office (193 Science Library, in the Writing Center), on January 23, 2020.

Selection Procedures

The Donald A. Strauss Foundation selects scholars on the basis of their proposals, demonstrated commitment to public service and leadership, and communication skills.

Scholarship Recipients will be notified on April 20th, 2020.

Recent Recipients & Honorable Mentions

  1. In 2019, Janet Song received the Strauss Scholarship.
  2. In 2018, Anne-Marie Leiby received Alternate status for the Strauss Scholarship.
  3. In 2017, Bhavesh Patel received the Strauss Scholarship.
  4. In 2015, Anna Tran received the Strauss Scholarship.
  5. In, 2014 Christine Pham received the Strauss Scholarship
  6. In 2011, Rahaf Baker received the Strauss Scholarship
  7. In 2009, Long-Co Nguyen received the Strauss Scholarship


The Donald A. Strauss Scholarship award is a $15,000 scholarship, divided into $8,000 for the costs of the public service project as well as $7,000 for tuition, fees, books and/or other educational expenses permitted by the funding agency.


This scholarship promotes public service among its recipients. Recipients present the results of their projects to the Donald A. Strauss Foundation Board.

For More Information

Further information and applications are available at the Strauss website.

For applications and more information, contact the Scholarship Opportunities Program at 949-824-0189. We are located within the Center for Excellence in Writing & Communication on the first floor of Science Library (Building 520).

SOP is able to advise competitive undergraduate candidates at UC Irvine only.

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