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

Tuition Scholarships

The Human Rights Institute offers eight scholarships to academically outstanding undergraduate students who are majoring or minoring in human rights and enrolled full time at the University of Connecticut. There are various eligibility criteria for each scholarship, but all applicants must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. For some awards, preference will be given to students who are also majoring or minoring in political science. Students who are ineligible for state or federal financial aid are eligible to apply for these scholarships.

2022 Undergraduate Scholarship Awardees

Derby Egyin (Open Society Foundation Award)

Derby (she/her) is a rising senior from the University of Connecticut Honors Program studying Sociology and Human Rights with minors in Africana Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Derby’s passion for international human rights stemmed from her upbringing in Ghana. Her particular areas of interest include educational equity, access to clean water, gun control, women’s rights, reproductive issues, immigration, and more. As a student at UConn, Derby serves as a Pack Ambassador, the President of Administration for the Student Union Board of Governors, and the President of the UConn chapter of Leading Women of Tomorrow, a bipartisan student-led organization centered on bridging the gender gap among public representatives. After graduating from UConn, she plans to obtain a Juris Doctor degree specializing in Human Rights and Public Policy to better advocate for marginalized populations within the US. She enjoys cooking, trying new foods, reading, and watching Marvel movies in her spare time.

Aiman Hameed (Alan B. Slifka Award)

My name is Aiman Hameed. I am a rising senior. I am studying political science honors and human rights. I am also pursuing a minor in middle eastern studies and women, gender and sexuality studies. I am currently writing a book featuring the lives of various Business Women from South Asia which will be published in August 2022. On campus, I am serving as a Research Assistant at the African Studies Institute and as the secretary at the Law Society. Next semester, I will be working at the Undergraduate Student Government and the Native American Cultural Program Center at Storrs. I grew up in Pakistan and fell in love with Human Rights watching my father, who was a pro bono lawyer in the remote village where I was born. Fun Fact: I can speak five languages!

Sophie Lemire (Open Society Foundation Award)

Sophie (she/her) is a rising junior in the honors program studying Economics and Human Rights with a minor in both International Studies and Social Responsibility and Impact in Business. Sophie’s interest in and passion for human rights was cemented after she was in a life-threatening car accident during her sophomore year of college. She has since developed a specific interest in healthcare equality and does undergraduate research in comparative health care systems. A large portion of her education also maintains a focus on corporate social responsibility and the intersection of business and human rights. Sophie will be continuing her studies and developing her work in an international framework by spending the 2022-2023 academic year studying at Amsterdam University College doing an exchange year. On-campus and off-campus Sophie dedicates her time to activism and volunteering actively working to apply what she learns in the classroom to make the world a better place outside of it. She is a member of Model UN and Habitat for Humanity.  After graduation, Sophie plans on attending law school and hopes to work in a legal system such as business ethics in light of the significance of public policy, litigation, and systems when addressing the downfalls of our economic system as well as emphasizing its strengths.

Emily Lucke (Mark Rudy Award)

My name is Emily Lucke, and I am a rising senior, a Political Science major, and Human Rights minor. I am also in the Special Program in Law, on the Fast-Track for a Masters in Public Administration, and hope to go on to receive a certificate in Non-Profit Management. Within Human Rights, my interests include immigrant, migrant worker, and refugee rights as well as Latin American and gender studies

Katherine McCluney (Wiktor Osiatyński Award)

Katie (she/her) is a rising junior studying Human Rights and Women Gender and Sexuality Studies. Through her education here at UConn, she has fostered and grown her passion for social justice and service, specifically surrounding education equity and reproductive health and justice. Katie is involved with Community Outreach, volunteering with the office’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program through which she acts as a mentor for children in local elementary schools. She is also passionate about awareness of reproductive health and justice at UConn and beyond, as shown with her current internship with Planned Parenthood Generation Action. In addition, she is a member the Youth Advisory Team for Human Rights close to home, a program that works to to develop learning opportunities for teachers and students who are interested in human rights education. This program has allowed Katie to explore her passion for human rights education, which she believes is a critical facet of human rights work. She was also accepted into the 4+1 Accelerated Master of Arts Program to work towards her Masters of Arts in Human Rights. Katie is spending the 2022 summer interning with The Education Project, which presents opportunities to further explore her personal human rights passion while serving a community that has been burdened greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to receiving the Wiktor Osiatyński scholarship from the Human Rights Institute, she was also recently named a 2021 New England Scholar.

Rebekah Wesler (Mark Rudy Award)

My name is Rebekah Wesler and I am a rising senior majoring in Honors political science and minoring in human rights and Spanish. I am from Woodstock, CT and hope to attend law school after graduation. I am interested in practicing international law. On campus I serve as the President of the Transfer Student Association which seeks to represent and create a community for transfer and campus-change students. I am also the inventory chair for the Swap Shop, a clothing reuse initiative whose goal is to provide a permanent space for quality, affordable, second-hand clothing on campus and engage the community in more sustainable fashion practices. Outside of school I love to travel and go on hikes with my dogs.

Tareonna Alger-Rodriguez (Laura Chapman Rubbo ’91 Endowed Fund in Human Rights and Business)

Hi, my name is Tareonna Alger-Rodriguez and I am a rising senior studying business and human rights.  I am a proud alumnus of the Human Rights and Action Learning Community, where I was involved in several dialogue and youth empowerment initiatives.  Before coming to UConn, I was an active member of the New London-based youth advocacy organization Hearing Youth Voices, and remain a member of the Advisory Council Team.

Our Scholarships & Awards

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.

How to Apply

How to Apply

  1. Access the application via Microsoft Forms.
  2. Complete all required fields.
  3. Include an unofficial copy of your University of Connecticut transcript as a PDF.
  4. Write a one-page reflection at the provided prompt.
  5. Submit the completed application no later than Friday, March 11, 2022.

The Scholarship Committee will make their final selections no later than June 1, 2022. 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 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
  • The Education Project
  • IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services
  • OutRight Action International
  • Scholars at Risk
  • WITNESS

In addition to our dedicated placements, one student will be awarded a fellowship for an individualized internship placement to complete an internship at an organization of their choosing. We are committed to supporting students as they find exciting ways to integrate their human rights education into new experiential learning opportunities.

2022 Summer Internship Fellows

Shannon Collins (Business and Human Rights Resource Centre)

Shannon Collins is a rising senior pursuing majors in Human Rights and Environmental Studies. After taking her first human rights class, Assessment for Human Rights and Sustainability, she could picture a future of combining her passions for protecting the environment and people across the globe. On campus, Shannon is involved in EcoHusky, The Swap, and the UConn Marching Band. In her free time she enjoys music, tending to her plants, and being with her friends. She is thrilled at the opportunity to work with an organization like the Business and Human Rights Resource Center that strives to eradicate abuse and make the world a better place.

This placement was made possible through generous support of the Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics.

Derby Egyin (Amnesty International)

Derby (she/her) is a rising senior from the University of Connecticut Honors Program studying Sociology and Human Rights with minors in Africana Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Derby’s passion for international human rights stemmed from her upbringing in Ghana and the inhuman violations she has witnessed throughout her life. Some of her particular areas of interest include educational equity, access to clean water, gun control, women’s rights, and reproductive issues, immigration, and more. As a student at UConn, Derby serves as a Pack Ambassador, the President of the Student Union Board of Governors, and the President of the UConn chapter of Leading Women of Tomorrow, a bipartisan student-led organization centered on bridging the gender gap among public representatives. After graduating from UConn, she plans to obtain a Juris Doctor degree specializing in Human Rights and Public Policy to better advocate for marginalized populations.

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

Sophie Lemire (Individualized – Production Elements Inc, USGA)

Sophie (she/her) is a rising junior in the honors program studying Economics and Human Rights with a minor in both International Studies and Social Responsibility and Impact in Business. Sophie’s interest in and passion for human rights was cemented after she was in a life-threatening car accident during her sophomore year of college. She has since developed a specific interest in healthcare equality and does undergraduate research in comparative health care systems. A large portion of her education also maintains a focus on corporate social responsibility and the intersection of business and human rights. Sophie will be continuing her studies and developing her work in an international framework by spending the 2022-2023 academic year studying at Amsterdam University College doing an exchange year. On-campus and off-campus Sophie dedicates her time to activism and volunteering actively working to apply what she learns in the classroom to make the world a better place outside of it. She is a member of Model UN and Habitat for Humanity. Her work with Habitat at UConn will aid her in her work with Production Elements and the USGA as a Sustainability Manager this summer. After graduation, Sophie plans on attending law school and hopes to work in a legal system such as business ethics in light of the significance of public policy, litigation, and systems when addressing the downfalls of our economic system as well as emphasizing its strengths.

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

Beck Marcotte (Access Community Action Agency)

Beck Marcotte (he/him) is a graduating senior with a double major in Human Rights and Sociology. He spent two years as a Resident Assistant in traditional undergraduate housing as one of three Resident Assistants in the Gender Inclusive Housing community, where he was passionate about advocating for the unique needs of LGBT+ residents in the face of challenges often related to the marginalization of queer people. Beck was nominated in 2022 for two awards from UConn’s Department of Residential Life: Excellence in Community Building and Unsung Hero. Due to personal and professional experiences with food insecurity, housing insecurity, and inequities in education, Beck is interested in pursuing multiple career paths that serve individuals and families with similar experiences. After becoming a first-generation graduate, he aspires to work with non-governmental organizations to provide direct service to vulnerable populations, and is currently considering pursuing a Masters in Social Work. Beck has been inspired by experiences with implementing the Residential Learning Model (RLM) for traditional housing residents, and serving as a recurrent guest lecturer for the Early College Experience (ECE) Introduction to Human Rights (HRTS 1007) on LGBT+ activism during the AIDS crisis presented to senior students at his former high school. These experiences have reaffirmed his plans to enter a teaching certification program, UConn’s own Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG). Beck is excited to be an intern with Access Community Action Agency, a state and federal designated Community Action Agency (CAA) that supports low-income individuals and families by creating comprehensive plans that address a wide range of needs that have gone unmet due to the limitations of poverty. He is especially grateful for the opportunity to learn more about ACAA’s trauma-informed approach to human rights fieldwork.

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

Katherine McCluney (The Education Project)

Katie (she/her) is a rising junior studying Human Rights and Women Gender and Sexuality Studies. Through her education here at UConn, she has fostered and grown her passion for social justice and service, specifically surrounding education equity and reproductive health and justice. Katie is involved with Community Outreach, volunteering with the office’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program through which she acts as a mentor for children in local elementary schools. She is also passionate about awareness of reproductive health and justice at UConn and beyond, as shown with her current internship with Planned Parenthood Generation Action. In addition, she is a member the Youth Advisory Team for Human Rights close to home, a program that works to to develop learning opportunities for teachers and students who are interested in human rights education. This program has allowed Katie to explore her passion for human rights education, which she believes is a critical facet of human rights work. She was also accepted into the 4+1 Accelerated Master of Arts Program to work towards her Masters of Arts in Human Rights. Katie is spending the 2022 summer interning with The Education Project, which presents opportunities to further explore her personal human rights passion while serving a community that has been burdened greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to receiving the Wiktor Osiatyński scholarship from the Human Rights Institute, she was also recently named a 2021 New England Scholar.

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

Grace Pereira Lopes (IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services)

Grace is a rising senior double majoring in Human Rights and Political Science. She is also starting the Human Rights 4+1 Program in the Fall, in hopes of going on to earn her Master's Degree in Human Rights after her Undergraduate career. She comes from many generations of human rights activists, engaging in activism alongside her mother and grandmother, both UConn alumni themselves, since her youth. Grace has special interests in human rights laws & treaties, refugee rights, women’s rights, indigenous rights and decolonization, and genocide studies. This summer she is interning with the Summer Learning Program at the Hartford branch of IRIS - Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services. Grace is extremely excited for the opportunity, and eager to work hands-on with refugees in the community.

This placement was made possible through generous support of the Sanford J. Plepler `52 Fellowship award. 

Ayane Reis Da Conceicao (IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services)

Ayane (she/her) is a rising senior double majoring in History and Economics, with a minor in Human Rights. Her involvement at UConn includes being the Communications Chair of the Honors Student Leadership Board-Stamford, vice-president of the History Club, and intern at the Center of Career Development. Ayane has also served as a Peer Allies Through Honors (PATH) mentor last Fall to assist a student with the transition to UConn and the Honors Program. She enjoys studying romantic languages, rewatching Friends, and reading in her spare time. She will be working as an Employment Services Intern with the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) this summer.

This placement was made possible through generous support of the Sanford J. Plepler `52 Fellowship award. 

Natasha Silva (Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism)

Natasha is a rising senior studying human rights and political science. She firmly believes that regardless of race, sex, gender, religious beliefs, and political ideology, everyone should live their lives without fear and have access to basic and equal rights.  Having a family background in Ecuador and Puerto Rico, she is very familiar with discrimination and struggles with equal quality of life which fuel her passion for studying human rights. On-campus, she is an active member of Empowering Women in law, which is a student-led club that acts as a resource and community for women pursuing a career in the legal field. Within this club, she has been a part of the Fundraising Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee to improve the inner workings of the club. She is also a Resident Assistant where she acts as a role model for her residents, fosters and develops relationships among 40+ students, and facilitates engagement among the community with many planned programs and activities. Additionally, she has been a part of Huskython for two years and has been made captain this past year where she oversees team fundraising to raise as much money for Connecticut Children’s Hospitals as possible. Finally, while in her Approaches to Human Rights Advocacy course, she was able to work in collaboration with a Scholars at Risk representative to create an advocacy campaign for the support and release of two international scholars who were wrongfully imprisoned. After graduation, Natasha plans to attend law school, work in human rights law and continue to advocate for equality within the legal and justice system. She is very excited to be the first UConn intern at the ADL, as it is their first year participating in this placement program and can’t wait to get hands-on experience with the ADL’s Center on Extremism!

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

Owen Silverman (Scholars at Risk)

Owen (he/him) is a rising senior majoring in Philosophy and Human Rights, and a matriculant of the Accelerated Master of Arts Program in Human Rights. His involvement at UConn includes positions at The Daily Campus, Nutmeg Publishing, and as an undergraduate research assistant focusing on the right to health. Prior to interning for Scholars at Risk, Owen has experience under nonprofit organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Owen is particularly interested in establishing a connection between equitable access to higher education and the lack of minority representation in U.S. politics. Through his work at Scholars at Risk, he hopes to broaden his exposure to human rights abuses within the sphere of higher education, and expand upon his understanding of the right to education and expression.  In his free time, he enjoys attending protests, playing the piano, and losing to his friends at chess.

This placement was made possible through 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.

The individualized internship opportunity is open to UConn human rights majors. For additional requirements and information, please make an appointment with Alyssa Webb.

Application Deadlines

Each spring, we accept applications for the summer internship fellow program. Deadlines to apply are:

  • Dedicated placements: Monday February 28, 2022
  • Individualized internship: Monday March 28, 2022

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

Click the appropriate link below:

The application requires the following materials:

  1. Personal Statement: Your personal statement should include information on your interest in and experience with human rights, as well as a statement regarding how the fellowship award will assist you in developing your personal and career goals. Statements should not exceed 1,000 words.
  2. Cover Letter: Submit a separate, individualized cover letter for each internship placement opportunity you are applying for. Your cover letter should concisely articulate how working for a specific organization will assist you in advancing professionally. Please address why your professional interests, skills, and ambitions align with the work done by this organization. Cover letters should not exceed 500 words. Note: No cover letter is required for the Individualized Internship Fellow application.
  3. Anticipated Budget: A budget is required so you can demonstrate that you have considered the costs associated with an internship. Your budget should provide a complete financial and qualitative description that supports the requested funds. Please download and use our Anticipated Budget Template.
  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/k15BqxnCbV.
  5. Unofficial Transcript: Please enclose an unofficial copy of your University of Connecticut academic transcript.
  6. 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.

Applications will be reviewed by the Fellowship Committee. The Fellowship Committee will also conduct any necessary interviews with finalists. Once finalists have been selected, the candidate files will be sent to the internship placement site for review and approval. The internship site 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 humanrights@uconn.edu or call (860) 486‐8739.

Summer Capstone Internship 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 $2,031 each will be made available for the summer of 2022.

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 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.

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 29, 2022.

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