Summer Undergraduate Scholars

Scholar Programs

Students engaged with DPE participate in scholarly communities such as LSAMP, Ryan Scholars, and ESMI. Each of these communities focuses on three thrusts: academic excellence, mentoring, and inclusive community building.

Scholar programs offer students strategic support that complement the Cornell Engineering learning experience. DPE's scholar programs offer professional development monetary awards, learning communities, academic coaching, and faculty mentors.

Learn more about the Scholars

Ryan Scholars

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The Ryan Scholars Program is an academic initiative that provides each scholar with support to succeed as engineering undergraduate student and beyond. The program is grounded in a supportive community of scholars that focuses on the success of the individual as well as the success of the collective group.


Each year, up to 35 students are invited to become a member of the Ryan Scholars Program through the admissions process. Those engineering students confirmed for participation in the Cornell University Pre-Collegiate Summer Scholars Program (PSSP) are also confirmed as Ryan Scholars.

Program Features

Central features of the program are:

Summer Bridge Transition Program featuring CUES Spatial Visualization Development Course

The Engineering Summer Scholars Program (ESSP) is the engineering component of PSSP, a seven- week summer academic and residential program. During the summer, Scholars take a spatial visualization development class. Poor performance in courses that rely on spatial reasoning skills affects students' perceptions of self-efficacy, especially in underrepresented students. Students also take math and computer science courses, participate in collaborative learning groups, and learn how to navigate the university and its resources.

Inclusive Community

Ryan Scholars, via the PSSP program become members of a summer living and learning community. Scholars are housed together together in a living environment that connects students' inside- and outside-the-classroom experiences. Scholars are also connected to students other pre-freshman Cornellians who also reside in the community. Scholars participate in community programs as well as engineering-specific events.

Proactive Academic Coaching

Throughout their undergraduate careers, Ryan scholars meet regularly with DPE staff and Graduate Student Coordinators for one-to-one academic coaching sessions focused on developing goals and action-plans centered on their academic, personal, and professional success. DPE staff members also collaborate with Engineering Advising staff and various faculty advisors to provide comprehensive advising.

During the freshman and sophomore years, these sessions primarily focus on selecting a major, study skills, time management, wellness, developing productive relationships with faculty, and other topics especially relevant to the success of early career undergraduate students. In the junior and seniors years, Ryan scholars work with staff to develop their post-graduation success plans.


As first year students, Ryan Scholars receive an upperclassman peer mentor through CU EMPower. This is a formal peer-mentoring program for incoming undergraduate, transfer, and graduate engineering students. In subsequent years, Scholars have the opportunity to serve as peer mentors. CU EMPower offers regular group meetings which engage participants in group-mentoring activities with other students, staff, and faculty members.

Professional Development Support

Ryan Scholar Awards are financial awards that Scholars may use to support their participation in professional and academic development activities such as:

  • conferences and service learning opportunities,
  • securing individualized tutoring services,
  • purchasing supplemental course materials and technical aids not covered by financial aid.

Ryan Scholars are eligible to apply for up to $500 per year to support their participation in activities approved by DPE's Director.


The Engineering Learning Initiatives Office, the Learning Strategies Center, and other departments on campus provide free tutoring for many freshmen and sophomore courses offered at Cornell. Through DPE's CUES Enhanced Tutoring program, Ryan Scholars may access free tutoring for upper level engineering courses. DPE staff works with scholars to identify and fund an appropriate tutor, if needed.


For more information, please e-mail the DPE office at

Program Namesake

Boby RyanThe Robert L. Ryan Scholars Program is named in honor of Cornell Alumnus Robert L. Ryan (MS EE '68). Mr. Ryan presently serves on the Board of Trustees for Cornell University and served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Medtronic, Inc., the world's leading biomedical technology company, from 1993 until his retirement in April 2005. Mr. Ryan was Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer of Union Texas Petroleum Corp. from 1984 to 1993, Controller from 1983 to 1984 and Treasurer from 1982 to 1983. Prior to 1982, Mr. Ryan was Vice President at Citibank and was a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. Mr. Ryan is deeply committed to the success of aspiring engineers, especially those from underrepresented populations, and is an extraordinary role model to the current and future generations of leaders.

LSAMP Scholars

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The Cornell LSAMP Scholars program for current students is a pathway to graduate school for undergraduate STEM majors. LSAMP Scholars receive assistance with preparing for graduate school admissions and obtain strategies to maximize their competitiveness for graduate study.

ESMI Scholars: Engineering Summer Math Institute

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ESMI is a unique opportunity that couples a summer session math course with undergraduate research for select Cornell Engineers. ESMI is also one of the three Cornell University Engineering Success (CUES) program initiatives focusing on retention and completion for underrepresented engineers.

NACME Scholars: National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering

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NACME's Scholars Block Grant Program provides minority college scholarship support to partner institutions who enroll students from three sources – first year students, transfer students from two-year colleges, and currently enrolled students who have completed at least one year of engineering study. At Cornell Engineering, DPE partners with NACME to award scholarships to talented underrepresented minority (URM) students enrolled in engineering programs as part of their financial aid packages.

NACME Scholar Support

Along with the monetary scholarship, which is annually renewable,  those selected as Cornell NACME Scholars receive access to NACME's Career Center. This resource connects to you to companies and other NACME corporate partners who have contributed to the NACME Scholarship program. These companies are interested in your academic success as well as providing internship and full-time opportunities.

Student Eligibility

To be eligible for the NACME Scholars Program students must:

  • Enroll at Cornell Engineering,
  • Be a URM (African American, American Indian, or Latino),
  • Demonstrate financial need, and
  • Maintain a minimum required GPA of 2.7.

Academic performance criteria for NACME support differs somewhat for each student stream.

  • High school seniors must be accepted by the university’s college of engineering (at the end of the freshman year, NACME assumes a minimum GPA of 2.7 on a scale of 4.0).
  • Currently enrolled students must have completed a calculus, physics, or chemistry course, earning at least a “B,” and be accepted into an engineering major.
  • Two-year community college transfers, i.e., those accepted for their third year of engineering study, must enter with at least a 2.7 cumulative GPA on a scale of a 4.0 and an Associate Degree in engineering science (or the equivalent program of study)

Award Process

Students are awarded internally and do not need to submit an application.


For more information, please e-mail the DPE office at

Bridges Scholars Program

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The Bridges Scholars Program creates a unique enrollment pathway for students whose backgrounds and experiences have traditionally been underrepresented in the field of engineering.

Through partnerships with high schools and community-based organizations, the Bridges Scholars Program seeks to cooperatively identify, develop, and enroll promising students who demonstrate a deep interest in engineering, as well as the requisite knowledge and skills to be successful Cornell Engineering majors.

Cornell Engineering Bridgesd Scholars Program

Program website