Holster Scholars Program


The Holster Scholar Program is a selective enrichment opportunity available only to first-year Honors students.  The program supports a small number of motivated students who pursue independent research, design, or creative projects during the summer following their first year. Holster projects are in-depth, individualized learning experiences pursued under the direction of a faculty mentor.  Beyond some basic requirements, projects are self-designed.



UConn Preliminary Recommendation Form
(UConn Faculty – please click on the link above to fill out
and submit your preliminary recommendation for a prospective Holster Scholar)


HS Teacher, Counselor, or Mentor Recommendation Request Form
(Students – please click on the link above to download a form you may use to request
a recommendation from a HS teacher, counselor, or mentor.)

Program At a Glance

In the fall of each year, Honors freshmen may submit applications with a preliminary project proposal. Approximately 12-15 students will then be selected to participate in a one-credit course to develop their proposals, connect with potential mentors and hone their ideas. They will then re-submit final proposals in March and interview with the Holster selection committee.

Approximately 7-10 students will each be awarded a $4,000 grant to complete their projects during the summer under the guidance of a faculty mentor and present their work in the fall of their sophomore year.

Possible Projects

“Think outside the box” in terms of the shape and substance your projects. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  •     Scientific / technical research
  •     Archival or text-based research
  •     Creative arts: music, composition, drama, painting, photography, film
  •     Design work / invention
  •     Community-based work or service learning
  •     Field observation / data collection
  •     Experiential learning related to an academic discipline

Every project must include

  • Some form of research and methodology
  • Some form of reflection
  • Academic writing (even for creative arts, engineering, or experiential learning projects)

2021-22 Timeline

September-October  Holster Scholar Program Information Sessions for interested students.  Dates, times, and locations  TBA.
September Information Sessions:  Sept. 15, 16, and 17 at NOON.  Webex.  Check back for additional sessions.
October Entire Month:  Interested students should be working actively on their applications.  All prospective applicants should schedule an appointment with Dr. Vin Moscardelli (vin.moscardelli@uconn.edu or via Nexus) to discuss their applications, mentor selection strategies, personal statements, etc.  Symposium will take place mid-October (date TBA).
November Nov. 11:  Application Deadline. The application will include a brief personal statement; a research proposal; a letter from a HS teacher, counselor, or mentor; and a preliminary recommendation from a UConn faculty member. (Access last year’s application here – for informational purposes only).
As a Holster finalist, you will take a one-credit proposal development and research preparation course.  (The Spring 2022 course is currently scheduled to meet on Thursday afternoons from 3:30-5:30; please consider scheduling around this block if your application is still pending at the time of pre-registration.)
Mid March
Final proposals due.  All Finalists will be interviewed by the selection committee after spring break.
April Holster Scholars (grant recipients) will be named.
As a Holster Scholar, you will complete your Holster research project the summer after your freshman year.
Fall You will present your work at a symposium on campus when you return as a sophomore. Your final presentation can take many forms: poster or slide presentation; research paper presentation; creative arts project (musical composition, dramatic staging; painting, photography exhibit; poetry reading, etc.); design model (for engineering, architecture, landscaping or environmental idea); a report on a community based initiative; film/podcast/radio piece.  The symposium usually takes place in mid-September.

A Community of Scholars

In addition to receiving individualized mentoring, the Holster Scholars will provide peer support to each other as they develop their projects. In their sophomore year, they will have the opportunity to serve as mentors to new Holster Scholars and will be encouraged to pursue additional research and enrichment opportunities throughout their UConn careers.


  • Finalists receive permission to join the spring Holster Project Development course.
  • Individualized mentoring and guidance from faculty and staff
  • Peer support for your intellectual pursuits
  • Experience designing, implementing, and presenting your work
  • Selected scholars receive up to $4,000 of summer research funding

Funding for projects can be used to support housing, food, equipment, books, copying and printing, travel, and/or any materials you need to complete your project. Following selection, students will be expected to complete a budget prior to disbursement of funds.


  • Candidates must be freshmen enrolled in the UConn Honors Program
  • Holster Scholars must maintain “good standing” in the Honors Program


  • Candidates are selected by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty
  • Finalists are interviewed as part of the selection process
  • Criteria for selection are outlined on the application and include a strong written proposal, personal statement, resume, recommendations, and an interview


The program was inspired by Robert Holster’s own excitement in discovering new paths of learning as a member of the inaugural class of UConn’s Honors Program.

Past Holster Scholars

2021 Holster Scholars

2020 Holster Scholars

2019 Holster Scholars

2018 Holster Scholars

2017 Holster Scholars

2016 Holster Scholars

2015 Holster Scholars

2014 Holster Scholars

2013 Holster Scholars

2012 Holster Scholars

2011 Holster Scholars


Vin Moscardelli
Director, Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships
Coordinator, Holster Scholars Program
(860) 486-0087
John W. Rowe Building (ROWE) 426A