Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity

Mary Gates Leadership Scholarships


Mary Gates Leadership Scholarships encourage undergraduate students to develop their leadership abilities through practical experience, personal reflection and in community with mentors and peers. With the support of a Leadership Scholarship, you can devote more time to pursuing an activity or project that interests you and that will allow you to expand your leadership capacity. In the application process, we ask you to articulate your own understandings of leadership, what you want to learn, and how you think the activity you have chosen will support your learning goals. Additionally, you must identify a mentor to provide you guidance and encouragement throughout your application process and award period.

Scholarship Details

Mary Gates Leadership Scholarships are two-quarter awards totaling $5,000. The award is paid out in equal installments of $2,500 for each quarter. Generally, the eligible quarters are within the subsequent three quarters (for example, in winter, you would be eligible for an award for spring & summer, spring & autumn, or summer & autumn). The award quarters must correspond with the time period you are involved in your leadership work. Graduating seniors may request a one-quarter award.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Applicants must be matriculated UW undergraduate students registered full time during the award period (12 credits during the academic year; only one credit required in Summer), pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the UW Bothell, Seattle or Tacoma campus. This scholarship is open to U.S. citizens, international students, and undocumented students.
  2. Award recipients must continue to be actively engaged in their leadership activity and remain full-time undergraduate students during their award period (except summer quarter—students need only to be enrolled for one credit to receive funds).
  3. If you have other scholarships, fellowships, awards or stipends supporting supporting your leadership activity and you are also selected for a Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship, you may not be eligible to receive the full amount of this award. The Mary Gates Endowment scholarship program reserves the right to adjust funding to promote equity among awardees. We may use information provided by the Office of Student Financial Aid/FAFSA to determine award amounts. Each student’s case is dealt with on an individual basis. If you would like to discuss your situation, please contact a Mary Gates Endowment staff member.
  4. A student may receive a maxiumum of one Mary Gates scholarship at a time. Students may successfully apply for multiple scholarships – and may receive the honor of being named a Mary Gates Scholar in multiple categories – but can receive funding for only one scholarship in any given quarter.
  5. Eligibility for previous Mary Gates Scholarship recipients:
    • Students who have received the same type of Mary Gates scholarship twice are not eligible to apply for a third award of that scholarship type.
    • Students are eligible for a total (maximum) of three Research and Leadership Scholarships (for example, if you have previously received two Research Scholarships, you would only be eligible to receive one Leadership Scholarship).

If you receive need-based financial aid, please click here to learn more about how receiving a Mary Gates scholarship may affect your financial aid.

How To Apply

To apply for a Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship, please begin by perusing all the materials on the website pertaining to the Leadership Scholarship.  Information is available to help you think about your leadership and learning goals and developing your relationship with your mentor.  You may also find the profiles of past Mary Gates scholarship recipients informative.

At the same time, you will need to identify a mentor who will write you a letter supporting your leadership application. Read more about Finding & Developing a Strong Mentor Relationship.

When you are ready to start your application, begin with the Application Instructions to find out what you will need in order to apply.  Start your online application by using the Application Login on the left panel of the website. 

Review Process

All complete and eligible applications are reviewed and discussed by a reading committee and candidates are evaluated based, in part, on their articulation of leadership, learning and project goals and their plans for achieving them. Compelling candidates are selected to meet with an interview committee for further consideration.

You may check on the status of your application by logging in to your online application. We will also send you regular email messages as your application status changes. The whole review process takes approximately 8 weeks. All students and mentors are sent notification of the final award decision.

Scholar Requirements

  • For the duration of your scholarship period, you must continue to be actively engaged with your leadership activity and your mentor, and remain a full-time undergraduate student. (During summer quarter students need only be enrolled for one credit.);
  • You will be asked to complete one or two brief surveys during your award period;
  • You must present your work at the annual Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership in May.

You are also encouraged to participate in activities and events planned by the program staff and the Community of Mary Gates Scholars.