CEE Graduate Student Leadership Initiative (Download description and template here)
Marina Astitha, Associate Department Head for Graduate Education, Equity and Inclusion
Graduate Courses and Curriculum (GR C&C) Committee: Christine Kirchhoff, Kay Wille, Arash Zaghi,
January 2021 (2nd revision)
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is pleased to announce the continuation
of the CEE Graduate Student Leadership Initiative. The scope of the Initiative is to recognize,
motivate, inspire, and support graduate students who excel both in their studies and in
leadership and service to the graduate student population and their field of study.
Through this initiative, the CEE Department will provide: a) a Graduate Student Leadership
award or b) a Graduate Student Travel award. Both awards include funds that can be used for
conference participation (poster or oral presentations) or professional development
Requirements and Application
CEE graduate students participating in an MS (plan-A only) or PhD degree program are invited
to apply by submitting a resume and brief essay (a template is provided at the end of this
For the Leadership Award: The 1-page essay should clearly articulate the student’s actions to
develop leadership skills or leadership activities and vision to become a leader in their graduate
student community and academic field of study. The Leadership award will only be granted to
students that have already cultivated some leadership and community building skills (for
example, see items 1 and 3 in the example list that follows).
For the Travel Award: The 1-page essay should articulate the student’s vision to become a leader
in their graduate student community and academic field of study and the actions they will take
to reach their goal. The Travel award is intended to support students who do not yet have
leadership experience but who articulate a strong interest and passion to grow their leadership
skills and lay out specific steps to achieve the desired leadership skills in their essay.
The essay is also an opportunity to reflect on the people that have inspired you to be a leader and
your vision of what leadership means for you personally. Applicants should submit two names
of faculty or collaborators that can verify and support actual or planned leadership skill
development as articulated in the applicant’s essay. The essay must also include an estimate of
the travel budget (maximum $500 for the Leadership award or $300 for the Travel award),
including the name and location of the conference, workshop or professional development
seminar. The official acceptance of the abstract in a conference or participation in a workshop
must be provided for reimbursement of travel expenses.
Examples of activities that demonstrate leadership actions, skills or vision are included in the list
1. Hold an active membership or leadership position in their academic community.
Examples of UConn communities are, but not limited to:
Student Association of Graduate Engineers-SAGE
John Lof Leadership Academy
Institute of Transportation Engineers Student Chapter- UConn ITE
ASCE Student chapter
Student leader for the graduate student cohort of their technical group
2. Presented research at a conference/workshop in the past academic year including
participation at the graduate student poster competition organized by SoE.
3. Assumed a leadership role in their professional community by helping organize a
workshop or a session at a conference.
The applicant must not be a recipient of CEE’s Graduate Leadership or Travel award within the
same academic year. The GR C&C Committee will be responsible for the selection of successful
Recipients of the Graduate Leadership award will be asked to host an event for fellow CEE
graduate students, in the semester following their award acceptance. The event’s theme will be
chosen by the awardee in consultation with the GR C&C committee and will be an opportunity
to share lessons learned and discuss leadership opportunities and roles for interested graduate
Please send your essay and resume or any questions you might have to Prof. Astitha at
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of the email noting “Graduate Leadership Initiative”.
Both the essay and the resume must be titled using the following format:
Rolling deadline: applications are accepted on a continuous basis.
Please use the template found here.