$3.9 Million Gift Establishes Haas Scholars Program

Twenty academically talented and financial-aid eligible juniors may find their senior year at Berkeley transformed because of a $3.9 million gift from Robert and Colleen Haas.

Established last July, the Robert and Colleen Haas Scholarship Program will underwrite the research or creative projects of students selected for the program. The student projects will serve as a capstone of their Berkeley educational experience.

"Robert Haas has a vision of providing opportunities that can transform lives," said The Vice Chancellor Carol Christ.

The new program certainly holds that potential. Students selected to participate will find that the program's generous summer stipend allows them to devote full energy to their research or creative project.

A summer research retreat will help them get started. Held on the Clark Kerr campus, the retreat will assist students in developing a research or creative focus. The summer retreat will give the students time to meet with faculty mentors, involve them in evening discussion groups, and assist them in detail-problem solving, before they actually start their research project or creative endeavor.

"In the fall there will be working lunches for the students where they can meet and talk with experts in various fields, and those well known for cross disciplinary work," said Terry Strathman, director, office of undergraduate research.

During their senior year, the Haas scholars will continue working together in weekly seminars as they write up their research findings or complete their creative projects.

Cynthia Schrager, student outreach and services coordinator, said she is receiving applications from students in a variety of disciplines.

"We've got applications from students in Art Practice, Anthropology, English, Political Science, molecular cell biology, applied math, peace and conflict studies, Economics, Folk lore-it runs the gamut," she said. "What's important for faculty to share with their students is that their project does not have to be related to their major. We want talented students to think big about research or creative endeavors. And we want to support their visions."

In early spring 1999, a conference is being planned where Haas Scholars can present their research findings or their creative projects, said.

"The Haas Scholarship Program is individual and distinctive," said Christ. "It welcomes a broad range of endeavor-any kind of creative project, research project or travel project.

"I would hope faculty members would encourage their talented students who are eligible for financial aid to apply."

The application deadline is March 2. For more information on the Haas Scholars Program, check their web site at http://research.berkeley.edu/haas_scholars/.


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