Gerstner Scholars

About the Program

The Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars program, originally launched in 2020, was renewed in 2024 with a $6 million gift. Former IBM CEO Louis Gerstner '63 H'13, a long-time advocate for education reform, created the program in part because of growing economic inequality in America and the need for leaders from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in STEM fields. The program supports a cohort of 18 scholars.

The Gerstner Scholars Program admits US residents who are first generation college students with high financial aid need and demonstrated interest in STEM, and who have shown exceptional academic promise in those fields. The program is designed to provide opportunities for students to explore STEM subjects in a liberal arts environment, enhancing their abilities in deep thinking and communication alongside core competencies in their chosen fields.

As a key feature of the program, starting with summer term 2024, all Gerstner Scholars are eligible for experiential learning grants during each of their sophomore, junior and senior years. These grants will empower Gerstner Scholars to pursue on or off-campus research, attend conferences, or support themselves during leave term internships.


Scholars will be selected through the admissions process each year. Selection to the Gerstner Scholars Program is open to US residents who are first generation college students, committed to study in a STEM discipline, and who have shown exceptional academic promise in STEM fields.

Experiential Learning Grants

Gerstner Scholars will be eligible for up to $15,000 a year in their sophomore, junior, and senior years, beginning in summer 2024. Funding is contingent on approved plans for its use and continued academic progress.

Examples of funding categories include:

  • Part-time research with a faculty mentor during "on" terms
  • Leave-term research, internship, or other related opportunity
  • Travel for research, field work, or other purposes related to an academic pursuit
  • Attendance at conferences, leadership training, or other experiential programming related to a field of study
  • Supplies and equipment related to the funding categories above

Expectations of Scholars

Students selected as Gerstner Scholars are expected to actively engage in their academics and in the program for the entirety of their undergraduate degree. This includes:

  • Submission of quarterly progress reports and annual plans for funding
  • Submission of year-end annual reports on their experiences
  • Submission of an annual letter of gratitude and profile update
  • Continuation of academic engagement and achievement in STEM fields