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 opportunities.

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 here).

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 applicants.

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 students.

Application Format

Please send your essay and resume or any questions you might have to Prof. Astitha at marina.astitha@uconn.edu with the subject of the email noting “Graduate Leadership Initiative”.
Both the essay and the resume must be titled using the following format:

First_name_Last_name_Concentration_essay.pdf and

A template is provided here.

Rolling deadline: applications are accepted on a continuous basis.