Team Challenge Course

At the beginning of their first academic year at the University, all Jefferson Scholars participate in a Team Challenge Course. This weekend-long outdoor leadership course not only encourages teamwork and trust, but also builds stronger and deeper friendships among the Scholars. Activities include two days of camping, low ropes work, rappelling, and team-building exercises.

Institute for Leadership & Citizenship

In the summer after their first year, all Scholars participate in a two-week Institute for Leadership and Citizenship designed to foster a deeper appreciation for the art of leadership and the importance of citizenship. Designed by the Foundation and held on the Grounds of the University, the Institute features in-class workshops and a service-learning project. It also serves to kick off the Modern Guild career services program that provides one-to-one career exploration, guidance and interview opportunities as Scholars prepare for the next stage of their journey.

Travel Studies

During the summer prior to their third year, all Scholars are invited to participate in a foreign travel/study experience through one of the many opportunities provided by the University’s International Studies Office (in 2017, there were 30 unique opportunities). Following the structured program, each Scholar has the opportunity to undertake an independently designed inquiry into a topic of personal interest.

Scholars on a hike in the foothills of Kilimanjaro

An experience with the local wildlife of Tanzania

China Bounders in Summer 2013

Dasha and Emily in London

China Bounders in Summer 2013

Scholars at the entrance to the Serengeti

Alumni Connections

Program Scholars may choose to participate in an internship with a Jefferson Scholar Alumna/us. Matches are made by the Foundation staff based on field of interest and location. Funding is available to cover living expenses for the Scholar during the time of the unpaid internship. This program also facilitates general advice, mentoring, and shadowing opportunities for Scholars with Alumni.

Enrichment Events

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation hosts a series of enrichment events during the academic year which include opportunities to hear from prominent faculty and alumni. Past speakers have included former astronaut Kathryn C. Thornton, noted civil rights historian Julian Bond, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rita Dove, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, retired General Spider A. Marks, a simulated radio show, Backstory, with the American History guys, and Andrew Kaufman, U.Va. professor and author of Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times.


David and Jane Walentas

A transformational gift for UVA — $100 million to benefit first-generation students

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The Jefferson Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship at the University of Virginia. Scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that is based on exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship.

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The Jefferson Fellowship is the premier graduate fellowship offered at the University of Virginia. Based solely on merit, the Fellowship seeks to attract Ph.D. and M.B.A. candidates.

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