Citizen Scholar Award 

Putting knowledge into action for the betterment of humanity is at the foundation of a University of Vermont education. The Citizen Scholar Award celebrates high school students in key metropolitan areas around the US who demonstrate that spirit of citizenship and scholarship. They may have campaigned for a cause, founded a community action group, or conducted research aiding social progress. These students are the movers, shakers, and change makers of the world.

Meet a Citizen Scholar

Sasha Fisher '10 founded Spark Microgrants, a non-profit organization that focuses on community development in rural Africa. Their approach is innovative and effective. Spark Microgrants supports communities as they design, implement, and manage their own development projects. Since 2010, they have 'sparked' 178 communities -- and the numbers keep growing. Spark has provided grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 to dozens of communities, funding projects that improve access to food, education, sanitation, and clean water. The organization has had an impact on more than 75,000 lives and the Rwandan government has even asked Spark Microgrants to create a national model that will empower participation on a larger scale.

Sasha’s impressive work with Spark has resulted in global recognition, including being named an Obama Fellow, one of 20 in the world!  Her dedication to supporting global communities makes her stand out as an Honorary Citizen Scholar.

Sasha's story is just one example of what it means to be a citizen scholar. At UVM, students are encouraged to consider how they will have a positive impact on their communities today, and in the future. We know that high schoolers are the future change agents of the world, and we can't wait to see how the next generation of students will impact our community.


Nominees must be in the eleventh grade located in the one of the participating metropolitan areas and have earned a 3.5 cumalitive GPA in a rigorous college prepatory curriculum. Affiliation or interest in UVM is not a condition of the award. Current metropolitan areas with a Citizen Scholar program are Washington D.C, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA and Philadelphia, PA.

Award Benefits

Students selected as a Citizen Scholar will become a member of a cohort group of student leaders. Each Citizen Scholar will be presented with a congratulatory letter recognizing their accomplishments within their schools and their communities. Scholars will also be gifted a book which speaks to the themes of citizen engagement, the power of individual voices and the importance of democracy.

If a Citizen Scholar chooses to apply to UVM they will receive:

• Priority consideration for the Presidential Scholarship (up to $20,000)
• Priority consideration for admission to the Honors College
• Application fee waiver ($55)

Nominate A Student

We are now welcoming nominations for the Citizen Scholar Award. Nominations are made by school counselors for students from their high schools that meet the criteria. A pool of nominees will be collected throughout the fall and winter. Selection of award recipients will begin in February and awardees will be notified this spring.

Submit a Nomination!

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." - Alice Walker