Hillcrest Scholarships provide funds to support transformative, off-campus summer experiences for Honors students. Recipients receive up to $5,000 in financial assistance to engage in a research experience, internship, entrepreneurial activity, creative endeavor, or service- or leadership-related initiative domestically or internationally. (The scholarship is not limited to these examples.) Students, with the aid of their faculty mentors, are encouraged to design unique projects that help them meet their academic and/or career goals.

Hillcrest scholars are selected on the basis of their proposed project, their ability to connect the proposed experience to future goals, their leadership experience and community engagement, their ability to make a significant contribution to society in the future, and the transformative potential of the proposed Hillcrest project. 

The Honors College awards five Hillcrest Scholarships per year. Two of these awards focus on special populations.

Students with demonstrated financial need are eligible for the Hinshaw-Warren Scholarship. Eligible students will be automatically considered for this award upon applying for a Hillcrest Scholarship if they have demonstrated financial aid as defined by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The Hinshaw-Warren Scholarship is not intended to replace existing aid or scholarship funds. Instead, it is intended that this scholarship will be in addition to qualifying University financial aid and scholarships.

The Fredric I. McGhee Scholarship for Aspiring Entrepreneurs Scholarship provides financial assistance to carry out transformational off-campus experiences such as, but not limited to, a business startup, analysis of a new product or conceptual idea, an internship, or a project related to the Honors capstone project.

We especially welcome applications by students from underrepresented backgrounds and projects/experiences that promote diversity, cultural awareness, and mutual understanding.


Fall 2022: November 15

Interested students are strongly encouraged to start the application process well in advance of this deadline.

Application Instructions

Contact Dr. Felix Wang to disucss the scholarship application process. 

Examples of Successful Hillcrest Projects

The following projects represent the broad range of experiences that Hillcrest Scholarships support. View 2021-22 and 2020-21 recipients for more information about their projects and experiences.

Note: Hillcrest Scholarships can support projects involving international travel, but this is not a requirement nor, for the purposes of applying, a preference. Many Hillcrest Scholars undertake domestically-based work. 

  • Conduct biological research in the field in Canada and in the lab at JMU on the reproductive strategy of female mimicry in garter snakes.
  • Develop deeper understanding of the field of contract law through an internhip at a major law firm in Richmond.
  • Take intensive Japanese language and culture courses in Osaka, Japan in order to prepare for future scholarship in Japanese history.
  • Serve as research assistant to a prominent scholar in the field to gain valuable background experience for honors thesis.
  • Experimental dance training at a prominent dance studio in British Columbia.
  • Intern at a major financial institution in New York and conduct thesis research on impact investing funds.
  • Gain valuable experience in veterinary science as a volunteer at a vet clinic in Fiji.
  • Participate in prestigious opera academy in Berlin to further develop vocal performance skills.
  • Conduct research on psychological mindsets in partnership with US Soccer, in Charlottesville.
  • Participate in 16-week study abroad program on economic development in Cameroon.
  • Intern at MicroSociety International headquarters in Philadelphia and research the links between the MicroSociety model and civic engagement.
  • Examine sustainable urban living in The Netherlands and Spain through a Council on International Educational Exchange summer study abroad program.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate two health promotion interventions in Kampala, Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Investigate the ecology of the understudied and threatened plant Solanum conocarpum on the island of St. John in Virgin Islands National Park.
  • Develop and diversity skills set in hospitality management through an internship at a property management company in Boston.

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