Funding for Undergraduates

The Human Rights Institute proudly offers three programs to provide undergraduates focused on human rights with funding.

We also recommend that you connect with the Office of Undergraduate Research to find out more about research funding and the Office of Student Financial Aid Services to learn more about different types of aid and scholarships.

Female student smiling at the camera

Our Scholarships & Awards

The funding opportunities provided by the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute are made possible by generous contributions from our donors:

Sanford J. Plepler `52 Fellowship
Awarded to up to four students who are enrolled in a human rights program at UConn (undergraduate major or minor). These awards may provide tuition support and/or be used to support experiential learning opportunities. Students must demonstrate financial need and academic achievement.

Open Society Foundation Award
Awarded to undergraduate students who are majoring in human rights and enrolled full time at UConn. Students must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need.

Wiktor Osiatyński Award
Awarded to undergraduate students who are majoring in human rights and enrolled full time at UConn. Students must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. Preference given to students with a demonstrated commitment to human rights advocacy.

Alan B. Slifka Award
Awarded to undergraduate students who are majoring in human rights and enrolled full time at UConn. Students must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. Preference given to a student with a commitment to fostering social inclusion or combatting racism or other forms for exclusion.

Victor Schachter ’64 Rule of Law Award
Awarded to academically outstanding human rights students who are completing an internship as part of their academic coursework in pursuit of a university degree. Eligible placement organizations include domestic or international organizations or public agencies whose purpose is to advance human rights programs and rule of law initiatives abroad, including India and Africa.

Mark S. Rudy Award
Awarded to an academically outstanding undergraduate CLAS student. Eligible students must be enrolled full time, pursuing a major or minor in human rights, and able to demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. Preference will be given to students with financial need and those who are also majoring or minoring in political science.

Dr. Charles & Irma Jacobson Fund for Human Rights
Awarded to students studying human rights, with a preference for funding student research and travel.

Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics
Awarded to a student who has been accepted as a summer internship fellow with an organization whose mission focuses on business and human rights.

Laura Chapman Rubbo ’91 Endowed Fund in Human Rights and Business
The fund provides support for undergraduate students majoring or minoring in human rights and graduate students in the human rights program, with preference for those who are also studying business, economics, political science, or engineering.

Tuition Scholarships

The Human Rights Institute offers five scholarships to academically outstanding undergraduate students at the University of Connecticut. Four $5,000 scholarships are available for students who are majoring or minoring in human rights, and who are enrolled full time at the University of Connecticut. One $1,000 scholarship is available for students who are majoring or minoring in human rights, are enrolled full time at the University of Connecticut, and who are studying business, economics, political science, or engineering.

All applicants must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need; students who are ineligible for state or federal financial aid are eligible to apply for these scholarships.

2023 Undergraduate Scholarship Awardees

Breanna Bonner (Alan B. Slifka Award)

Breanna Bonner, from Kansas City, Missouri, is a rising sophomore double-majoring in Human Rights and Political Science. She plans to pursue a masters in Human Rights before attending Law School. Breanna is also an incoming floor mentor for the Human Rights and Actions Learning Community, a mentor for the Human Rights Close to Home Program, Director of the Human Rights Council for UCMUN, and an incoming Undergraduate Research Fellow for UConn Humanities Institute (UCHI), exploring Black Women’s intersectional invisibility within historical and contemporary liberation movements. In her free time, she enjoys embroidery, exploring campus with her friends, ice skating, and checking in on her hometown.

Alahaniss Lopez-Zea (Mark Rudy Award)

My name is Alahaniss López-Zea. I am a senior double majoring in Political Science and History with minors in Latin American Studies, Human Rights, and Spanish. On campus, I am a member of PuRSA, the Event Planner for Confetti for Kids and VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Empower Women in Law. Outside of school, I am an advisor to YROW, a youth leadership program that helps connect Latin American youth with university information and resources, while empowering their voices. My interest in human rights grew out of being exposed to the many struggles minorities face while growing up in Waterbury. However, the decision to combine Political Science, Spanish, Latin American Studies, and Human Rights is also heavily influenced by my upbringing in Puerto Rico. Both in Waterbury and in Puerto Rico, I see people fighting to be heard and to have their human rights defended. Currently, I am advocating for better academic resources for Waterbury students. I am also in the process of completing an internship with the Connecticut Division of Public Defender Services, in this internship one of my roles has been to help the attorneys as a translator for Spanish-speaking individuals, enabling them to understand their rights and the legal process. In the future, I hope to use my knowledge to become an attorney and a resource to my community.

Mariam Vargas (Mark Rudy Award)

Mariam is a rising junior at the University of Connecticut and is working towards a degree in Political Science and Global Studies with a minor in Human Rights. She is interested in pursuing a career in International Security, International Relations and Policy. At UConn, Mariam is the co-president of the Dominican Student Association, she serves as the senator for the Puerto Rican Latin American Cultural Center at the Undergraduate Student Government. Mariam has also served as a Research Assistant at UConn through the Office of Undergraduate Research, researching state-led extreme violence. After an experience at the 2022 Kosovo Summer Academy, where she learned about interethnic conflict prevention and peace building, after this experience, Mariam felt a strong commitment towards addressing genocide and promoting peace. Mariam has been selected as a 2023 Rangel Scholar for the highly selective Charles B. Rangel Summer Enrichment Program at Howard University. In her free time Mariam enjoys traveling and learning languages.

Sophia Stanganelli (Mark Rudy Award)

Sophia Stanganelli, a rising junior from New Hampshire, is driven by her firsthand experiences of witnessing workplace human rights violations and her personal journey with mental health. Inspired by these encounters, she aspires to become a human rights lawyer. Currently, she is excited and honored to utilize a scholarship opportunity to volunteer in Costa Rica during the upcoming winter. This decision was influenced by Professor Anne Gebelein's course, "Human Rights on the U.S Mexican American Border", where Sophia gained a deep understanding of the struggles faced by migrants. Committed to effecting positive change during her undergraduate years, Sophia aims to challenge negative narratives surrounding immigration and mental health.

Foluke Akinkunmi (Open Society Foundation Award)

Foluke Akinkunmi is a rising junior pursuing a major in Political Science and minors in Africana Studies and Human Rights. Through her involvement with the Dodd Human Rights Center, African American Cultural Center and the BSOUL Learning Community, she has gained a deep understanding of the power of community dialogue for social justice. Her experiences, including a study abroad trip to Ghana, have shaped her perspective and fueled her desire to research common human rights violations across the African diaspora. In the future, she aims to make a meaningful impact as a lawyer, advocating for justice and equality, combining her passion for human rights and her legal ambitions.

Sophie Lemire (Laura Rubbo Award)

My name is Sophie (she/her). I am a rising senior in the honors program studying Economics and Human Rights with a minor in International Studies and Social Responsibility and Impact in Business. A large portion of my studies focus on corporate social responsibility and the intersection of business and human rights. I spent the 2022-2023 academic year studying at Amsterdam University College developing my work in an international framework. On-campus and off-campus I dedicate my time to activism and volunteering. After graduation, Sophie plans on attending law school and hopes to work in international law.

Jackson Lee (Open Society Foundation Award)

My name is Jackson (he/him) and I am a rising junior. I am studying human rights and economics. I am currently working on measuring the amount of housing insecure students at UConn. I am from Connecticut and found the human rights program through the human rights and action living learning community.

Sara Trueax (Open Society Foundation Award)

Sara (she/her) is a senior in the honors program studying Economics and Human Rights with a minor in Social Responsibility and Impact in Business. Growing up in Wethersfield, CT, she was brought along with her mom to her job working for the SEIU 1199 Training Fund where their motto is "Knowledge is Power". Both parents had an immense impact on her and instilled a great amount of value on building and maintaining a resilient and connected community that values our natural world. A significant emphasis in her education is on corporate social responsibility and the intersection of business and human rights and this is also the basis of her thesis for the honors program. Off-campus, Sara serves on the Human Rights Commission for the Town of Wethersfield, has worked and volunteered with several non-profits, and has two delightful rescue cats named Wiggy and GeeBee. After graduation, Sara will continue her studies at UConn with a master's in human rights beginning Fall 2024 and plans to focus on how to utilize her Economics B.A. to further promote human rights and show just how powerful knowledge can be.

Aish Benzy (Open Society Foundation Award)

As a double major in human rights and neurobiology, my unique perspective on the intersections of science and social justice drives me to pursue dentistry. My research in the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab, particularly using virtual reality technology to address addiction, has deepened my understanding of the connection between technology and human rights. I believe that dentistry offers an opportunity to use innovative approaches to transform healthcare and promote equity and justice for underserved individuals. Through community service as an EMT volunteer and involvement with programs like UCONN Health Leaders and Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, I witnessed firsthand the impact of systemic inequalities on healthcare outcomes. I envision reshaping the perception of oral health, advocating for equitable dental care, and creating a world where every smile reflects the true essence of good health and the realization of human rights.

Amelie Manion (Wiktor Osiatynski Award)

I am a queer immigrant, born in Ethiopia, that finds great pleasure in advocating for people like myself - those that find themselves as a minority in society. I enjoy studying English and history, but pushing myself to do things outside of what I enjoy is something I try to do. Something that encouraged me to become a human rights major was: my personal experiences in a biracial family, bullying when going to primarily white schools, dealing with self loathing (as a product of racial/sexual identity) in adolescence. In high school, though I hadn't known human rights was a major, I did participate in the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) every year. In the future I would like to see myself doing a highly professional form of advocacy, like law, but I know that the future is uncertain and I strive to just find a job that makes me feel happy in my own rite.

Helen Nguyen (Open Society Foundation Award)

Helen Nguyen (she/her) is a rising senior with a triple major in Human Rights, Sociology, and Economics. Her introduction to human rights as a field of study began in high school with an ECE course that partnered with UConn. From there, she grew her passion taking courses such as International Human Rights Law and Corporate Social Responsibility. Helen is particularly interested in the intersection of business and human rights, and how businesses have the power to either impair or uplift our communities. In the spring of 2023, she studied abroad in South Korea and witnessed how social and economic inequalities transcend international borders. She is committed to upholding social justice through advocacy work and is planning on pursuing a legal career after graduation.

How to Apply

How to Apply

Tuition Scholarship Application ($5,000).
Eligibility: Students who are majoring or minoring in human rights, and who are enrolled full time at the University of Connecticut.

  • Access the application via Microsoft Forms. The application requires the following materials
    • Unofficial Transcript
    • One-Page Reflection
      • Describe your experience with the study and practice of human rights. What is/are your main topics of interest in the human rights field? How would receiving one of these scholarships impact your academic and professional success?
      • Formatting: Reflection should be one page, double-spaced, and printed in 12-point, Times New Roman font with 1-inch standard margins.

Tuition Scholarship Application ($1,000)
Eligibility: Students who are majoring or minoring in human rights, with a preference for those who are also studying business, economics, political science, or engineering, and are enrolled full time at the University of Connecticut.

  • Access the application via Microsoft Forms. The application requires the following materials
    • Unofficial Transcript
    • One-Page Reflection
      • Describe your experience with the study and practice of human rights. What is/are your main topics of interest in the human rights field? How would receiving one of these scholarships impact your academic and professional success?
      • Formatting: Reflection should be one page, double-spaced, and printed in 12-point, Times New Roman font with 1-inch standard margins.

Application Deadline for 2023: April 12

    The Scholarship Committee will make their final selections no later than June 1, 2024. Scholarship recipients will be notified. Non-recipients will not be contacted.

    All scholarships will be administered by the Office of Student Financial Aid Services. If you are a need-based financial aid recipient (e.g. loans, grants, work-study employment), your financial aid package may be revised as a result of this award. If no adjustment is necessary and your fee bill is paid in full, you may be entitled to a refund. If you have questions about how a scholarship could affect your financial aid package, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid Services.

    These scholarships are made possible by the generous contributions from the Alan B. Slifka, Mark S. Rudy, Open Society Foundations, Laura Rubbo, and Wiktor Osiatynski Scholarships.

    Summer Internship Fellow Program

    Our Summer Internship Fellow Program grew out of a desire to help students find internship placements at premier human rights organizations and respected international initiatives. We have proudly developed dedicated placements for UConn human rights students and facilitate the recruitment and selection process. After a rigorous application process, students selected to participate in each of these opportunities are granted substantial financial support. We currently offer the following placements:

    • Amnesty International USA
    • Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism
    • Business and Human Rights Resource Center
    • Croatian Mediation Association
    • The Education Project
    • IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services
    • Scholars at Risk
    • Social Accountability International
    • WITNESS

    2023 Summer Internship Fellows

    Emma Harvison (The Education Project)

    Emma (she/her) is a rising Senior in the Honors Program studying Human Rights & Political Science with minors in Spanish & Latin American Studies. Every day Emma strives to learn how to be a strong advocate, amplifying the voices of communities impacted by human rights abuses. On campus, she is actively involved in advocacy with She's The First, an organization that fights gender equality through education, and along with her peers, reintroducing a UConn Chapter of Amnesty International to campus. Following her time at UConn, she plans to attend law school to focus on human rights laws and continue to work on advancing human rights internationally.

    This placement was made possible through the generous support of the Open Society Foundation Award.

    Sophie Lemire (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre)

    My name is Sophie (she/her). I am a rising senior in the honors program studying Economics and Human Rights with a minor in International Studies and Social Responsibility and Impact in Business. A large portion of my studies focus on corporate social responsibility and the intersection of business and human rights. I spent the 2022-2023 academic year studying at Amsterdam University College developing my work in an international framework. On-campus and off-campus I dedicate my time to activism and volunteering. After graduation, Sophie plans on attending law school and hopes to work in international law.

    This placement was made possible through the generous support of the Eversource Chair.

    Natalie Goncalves (IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services)

    My name is Natalie Goncalves and I am a rising senior studying human rights and sociology and minoring in philosophy. I am looking forward to attending law school and going into Immigration law.

    This placement was made possible through the generous support of the Open Society Foundation Award.

    Ashten Vassar (Anti-Defamation League’s Center)

    I have always been passionate about Human Rights, Disability justice, harm reduction, and community care. I am strongly committed to trauma-informed and decolonial praxis that serves the interest of the people. During my time at UConn, I have been involved with student organizing, student labor, restorative justice initiatives, research projects and health promotion. I am planning on pursuing graduate school after my senior year and hope to continue working in archival research and community health.

    This placement was made possible through the generous support of the Open Society Foundation Award.

    Alexandra Kapell (Amnesty International)

    My name is Alexandra Kapell and I am a senior studying human rights and political science. I have always had a strong interest in human rights law and developed a passion for activism in school and community service projects. At UConn, I conduct research on gender-based violence, volunteer at the Women's Center, am a teacher's assistant, and work as a barista at the UConn cafes. In the future I plan to attend law school and hope to work with vulnerable communities of women who have survived domestic abuse.

    This placement was made possible through the generous support of the Open Society Foundation Award. 

    Karissa Guaman (Social Accountability International)

    Karissa (she/her) is a rising senior studying Economics and Human Rights with a minor in Social Responsibility and Impact in Business. Through her education here at UCONN, she has fostered and grown her passion for social justice and service, specifically around labor and immigration rights. Karissa is currently involved with CT Students for a Dream advocating for the undocumented communities in Connecticut. Within Human Rights, her interests include immigrant rights as well as corporate social responsibility.

    This placement was made possible through the generous support of the Open Society Foundation Award.

    Eligibility & Award Details

    The eligibility and award details vary for each dedicated placement. Please visit our Summer Internship Placements page for more information.

    Application Deadline

    Friday February 16, 2024

    The ability to expand our support of these placements is due in part to funding from the Dr. Charles and Irma Jacobson Fund for Human Rights, the Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics, the Victor Schachter ’64 Rule of Law Award, the Thomas J. Dodd Center, and the Marsha Lilien Gladstein Fund for Education in Human Rights.

    How to Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply via Microsoft Forms

    The application requires the following materials:

    1. Personal Statement: In 750 words or less, tell the committee about: (1) your experience with the study and practice of human rights; (2) your main topics of interest in the human rights field; (3) why you have chosen to apply to the HRI Internship Fellow Program. Topics you may address include coursework, previous volunteer or employment experiences, extracurricular activities, personal experiences, or involvement in advocacy and activism efforts.
    2. Skills Statement: In 750 words or less, please tell the committee the specific skills, talents, experiences, and perspectives that make you well suited to interning at a human rights organization. Areas of reflection for this prompt could be: the values that guide your approach to advocacy, specialized skillsets that would help an organization advance its goals (i.e., data collection, research, intercultural communication, verbal and written language skills, managing social media campaigns, political organizing, canvassing, etc.), and personal experiences which give you unique insight into specific human rights issues.
    3. Unofficial Transcript: Please enclose an unofficial copy of your University of Connecticut academic transcript.
    4. Letter of Recommendation: Please have one letter of recommendation written on your behalf from an instructor or mentor who has known you for at least one year. Your recommender should submit your letter electronically via: https://forms.office.com/r/uNhcjRgDsi.
    5. Resume: Please attach a resume that includes current and previous employment including military experience, part‐time work, and summer or other temporary positions. Your resume should also list your involvement in extracurricular activities such as organizations, clubs, sports, and campaigns while attending UConn. It can also include your skills in relevant areas like foreign language fluency or technical skills like proficiency with Microsoft Office, SPSS, etc.

    Applications will be reviewed by the Fellowship Committee. The Fellowship Committee will also conduct interviews with finalists. Once finalists have been selected, the candidate files will be sent to the internship placement sites for review and approval. The internship organization makes the final decision to extend an offer.

    To maximize the likelihood of being selected as a Human Rights Internship Fellow, we recommend that all applicants schedule an appointment with the Center for Career Development to have their resumes and cover letters critiqued.

    For questions or inquiries, please email Alyssa Webb at alyssa.webb@uconn.edu, or call (860) 486‐8739.

    Summer Capstone Financial Assistance

    The Human Rights Institute provides financial assistance to human rights majors seeking to complete their human rights capstone each summer. We believe in the importance of experiential learning – and in equity of access to experiential learning opportunities. In an effort to better serve our students, HRI will provide limited financial assistance to offset the cost of paying the summer course fees associated with enrollment in HRTS 4291 each summer.

    Five awards in the amount of $2,192 each will be made available for the summer of 2024.

    Eligibility & Requirements

    Each scholarship will be awarded to an academically outstanding undergraduate student who is enrolled full time at UConn. All applicants must:

    • Be majoring or minoring in human rights
    • Have been offered an internship position at the time of application

    Students who are awarded financial assistance must enroll in HRTS 4291 during the summer term and use the funds to complete their human rights capstone.

    Assistance will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis.

    2023 Summer Capstone Internship Financial Assistance

    Amy Tela (IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services)

    I am a senior at the University of Connecticut studying Political Science and Human Rights, as well as being Treasurer of the Albanian Student Association. I am a first-generation Albanian-American and was very interested in studying human rights because I wanted to learn how rights can be improved and attained on a national and international scale. I am working towards attending law school and hopefully working as a human rights attorney in the future.

     

    Angela Ramirez (The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia)

    My interest in human rights stems from being the child of United States Diplomats, which is also where I got my desire to have a positive impact on the world. Seeing the impact strong foreign relations can have on policy and human rights is part of what made me decide to major in Human Rights. I'm currently interning at the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia for the second year in a row. My goal is to be a Human Rights Lawyer in order to help people who are under served.

    Julia Stout (TurnUp)

    Julia Stout (she/her) is a junior double majoring in Human Rights and Political Science. At UConn, she is a member of Amnesty International, UNICEF, and Revolution Against Rape. Julia is passionate about fighting for gender equality and reproductive rights, combating rape culture and targeted violence, reforming the criminal justice system, instituting gun control policies, and defending LGBTQ+ rights.

     

    How to Apply

    How to Apply

    Access the application via Microsoft Forms. The application requires the following materials:

    • Internship Verification: Please upload evidence of your internship acceptance. This can be a PDF copy of a formal offer letter or a PDF copy of an email from the agency confirming that you have been invited to participate in this opportunity.
    • Learning Work Plan: Please upload your completed Learning Work Plan.
    • Unofficial Transcript: Save an unofficial copy of your University of Connecticut transcript as a PDF.
    • Resume: Please enclose a resume that includes current and previous employment, including military experience, part-time work, and summer or other temporary positions. Your resume should also list your involvement in extracurricular activities, such as organizations, clubs, sports, and campaigns, while attending UConn.

    The application portal will open at 8:00am on April 26, 2024.

    Please email humanrights@uconn.edu or call (860) 486-8739 with any questions.