King/Chávez Scholars

The King/Chávez Scholars Program is designed to attract and retain exceptional incoming* undergraduate scholars to UW-Whitewater. Students come from diverse backgrounds and engage in high impact educational practices and experiences that will adequately prepare them to be leaders that inspire, engage, and transform the UWW campus community and beyond. This program also reflects UW-Whitewater’s commitment to upholding the ideals and expectations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chávez.

Initiated at UW-Whitewater in the fall of 1997, the King/Chávez Scholars Program provides students with a comprehensive first year experience through participation in a residential learning community experience with connected courses. The King/Chávez Scholars Program prepares students for the transition from high school to college, provide peer groups for academic and social reinforcement, provide opportunities for faculty mentorship, introduce undergraduate research and its relationship to classroom and career performance, and create stamina for graduate and professional study. In addition, the program has a history of producing a pool of potential prospects for the McNair Scholars Program, Undergraduate Research Program, University Honors Program, and other high impact practice (HIPS) initiatives while developing campus leaders and mentors.

*student is currently in their final year of high school when applying.

Due to the high volume of Applicants this year,

Applications for the 2023-2024 Cohort 

are currently closed

Any new applicants will be placed on a waitlist or referred to other available bridge programs. 

If you have any questions, please email

Team Leader Applications for the 2023-24 Cohort are currently closed.

If you have any questions, please email

King/Chávez Scholars 2022-2023 Recap 

Our Services

  • Financial Support - Students in the program are awarded a scholarship package worth approximately $2,500/semester.
  • Transition Assistance - The King/Chávez Scholars Program prepares students for the transition from high school to college and provides them with a peer group for academic and social development. The program also allows students to develop a relationship with a faculty/staff mentor and introduces students to undergraduate research opportunities, as well as other high impact educational practices
  • Residential Living Experience: Students are placed into the Knilans residence hall to live and study among their cohort.
  • Student Engagement -Students receive specialized advising, networking opportunities, and connections to internship opportunities.

Program Outline

  • Fall Transition Week: Scholars will move into the residence halls the week prior to the start of the fall semester. Scholars will have a comprehensive preparational experience on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.
  • Connected Courses: Students participate in 3 connected courses during the fall semester and 1 connected course during the spring semester.
  • Co-Curricular Programming: Scholars will engage in various activities outside the classroom to prepare them to excel in college, including attending academic lectures, cultural enrichment activities, and exposure to careers with advanced degrees.
  • Introduction to Research: Students will be introduced to research, how to write a literature review, and what it is like to present at a poster symposium.

The Fall Transition Week is an event that happens the week before the first week of classes at UW-Whitewater. The week is designed to prep incoming students for their first semester of college. Students have the chance to meet new people, meet faculty and staff, build connections, and learn about important campus resources. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Moving into the residence halls early
  • Connecting with a student mentor
  • Free meals during the week

The Fall Transition Week is packed full with many seminars and info sessions to help prepare students to succeed during the fall semster and beyond. To view what the Fall Transition Week has looked like in previous years, you can view a highlight video and the schedules below.

2023 Fall Transition Week Schedule Outline

Fall 2023

INTRAUNV 104 - New Student Seminar, T 11-11:50am

This course is designed to help facilitate a positive adjustment to the first year of college through the development of both written and oral communication skills, critical thinking skills, and group presentation skills. Students will: explore the purposes of higher education and its potential outcomes, as well as develop skills of social interaction, self-awareness, and personal development.

CORE 120-5X MW 1-1:50 PM Adam Paddock

This course examines major trends in the economic, political, and sociocultural history of the world since the nineteenth century.  Students are encouraged to draw on multiple perspectives to develop a comparative framework for understanding the origins of current global issues and the changing role of the US in the world.

RACEETH 201-01X 9:30-10:45 

Course Information TBD

Spring 2024

INTRAUNV 296 - King/Chávez Scholars Research Seminar

The emphasis of this course is on undergraduate research and the development of preliminary research projects. Students will develop critical thinking skills, reading strategies, research writing skills, as well as design and structure their own research proposal and poster. 

Students that are admitted into the King/Chávez Scholars program are awarded the King/Chávez Scholarship. The scholarship is worth $5,000 and includes a meal plan and academic scholarship. In order for students to maintain their scholarship, they must actively participate in and complete the following requirements of the King/Chávez Scholars Program:

  1. Attend and actively participate in all sessions of the Fall Transition Week
  2. Register and complete the connected courses for both fall and spring semester
  3. Attend advising meetings with King/Chávez Scholars Program staff
  4. Participate in events and activities hosted by the King/Chávez Scholars Program
  5. Complete and present a research project at the end of the spring semester

Scholarship Breakdown

Fall 2023
Spring 2024
Academic Scholarship
$1,086 $1,086
Meal Plan Waiver*
$1,460 $1,460
$2,500 $2,500

* Meal Plan Waiver based on 14 meals/week and $50 Dining Dollars plan. If a student selects a plan below the amount, they are not refunded the difference. If a student selects a higher amount, they will have to cover the extra charges.

Eligibility Information

The King/Chávez Scholars Program is a merit-based scholarship program. In order to be eligible for the program, students must be a first semester incoming freshmen, first generation college students and students who have significant financial need, and have a minimum of a 3.00 GPA. Because UW-Whitewater is not currently requiring ACT scores for admissions, the King/Chávez Scholars Program is not requiring a minimum ACT score. UW-Whitewater at Rock County students and Pathways for Success students are not eligible to apply.

Application Instructions

The scholarship application consists of two components: 1) Application and 2) Typed interview question responses. 

Please send completed written application to the following address: 

King/Chávez Scholars Program

800 West Main Street

McCutchan Hall 104/105

Whitewater, WI 53190

Applications are closed, however, you may still apply. Apply here.

Applications will remain open until all spots have been filled. Any further applicants will either be waitlisted or referred to other bridge programs. 

Application Deadline Information

The application will remain open until the KC Cohort for the 2022-2023 year is filled. A committee will review applications every two weeks. Any decisions made regarding an application will be sent to a student's personal and UW-Whitewater email accounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

An incoming freshman is a student who is in their last year of high school and/or is about to enter college for the first time (retro credits excluded) 

An incoming freshman is not: 

  • A current UW-Whitewater student
  • A transfer student

A First Generation Student is a student whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree (bachelors degree/4-year degree).

Students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's, graduate, or professional degree may be eligible for the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is a federal grant that does not have to be repaid and is based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who have applied for FAFSA can view the grants, scholarships, and/or loans they are being offered on their Award Letter from UW-Whitewater. To learn more about the Pell Grant, you can visit the Federal Student Aid Pell Grant website.

SDES Summer Bridge Program Team Leaders

Student Diversity, Engagement, and Success is looking for motivated and committed student role models to work during the SDES Summer Bridge Programs with the new incoming King/Chávez Cohort and SDES students. Under the supervision of the King/Chávez Director & Program Coordinator, Team Leaders are responsible for supervision and engagement in all activities, workshops, and programmed events with the Freshman students. We are looking for leaders who are committed to making a positive impact in the lives of the new scholars. Team Leaders will provide guidance during the cultural/academic programming, as well as monitoring during recreational events during the evening/night hours, and general problem-solving throughout the summer bridge program. Team Leaders must be committed to being present during trainings and the on-campus transition week (August 25th for training and August 27th - September 1st for transition week) for both programs and attend all sessions. Each Team Leader will be responsible for a group of 6-7 students and must ensure their students attend and participate in each session throughout the week and also lead book discussions.

***Students that are Resident Assistants, FYE Peer Mentors, or have other on-campus jobs that have training/job responsibilities during the week of August 27th - September 1st are not able to apply due to not being able to commit to being present at all sessions for the week. 

SDES Warhawk Summer Bridge Program

The SDES Warhawk Summer Bridge Program is a summer long program that is designed to help 15 underrepresented students gain the skills needed for a successful transition to college. Bi-weekly workshops beginning in June will helps these students learn about college writing, email etiquette, navigating WINS and Canvas, time management, and other successful skills. For the last week of the summer, these students get to move into their residence halls and experience an on-campus transition. During this week, students will get the opportunity to learn about on-campus resources, programs, and connect with faculty, staff, and other students.

Summer Bridge Fall Transition Week

The Summer Bridge Fall Transition Week is a one-week-long program that is designed to help the incoming UW-Whitewater students gain the skills required for a successful transition to college. Students will get to move into their residence halls and experience an on-campus transition. During this week, students will get the opportunity to learn about on-campus resources, programs, research opportunities, and connect with faculty, staff, and other students.

Mentorship and Leadership Expectations

  • Represent King/Chávez Program and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in an appropriate and professional manner.
  • Provide appropriate engagement with students and encouraging peer on peer relationships to will build them up for their academic year.
  • Interact with Freshman students during summer orientation programs, group peer mentorship meetings, games, and activities.
  • Promote SDES events and programs while encouraging participation in campus-wide programs and high impact practices (HIPs)


  • Early move-in for those living on campus
  • Meals during the Fall Transition Week
  • $400-$500 stipend


  • Must be enrolled at least part-time at UW-W and in good academic standing
  • Experience at working both independently and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment is essential
  • Attention to detail as it relates to communication and teamwork. 
  • Ability to keep confidentiality, handle sensitive information is necessary 
  • Leadership experience on campus or other related work experiences.

Application is Currently: CLOSED

Program Staff

John Dominguez Jr.


McCutcahn 225

Phone: (262) 472-5330


Graduate Assistant  -

Sarah Laudolff

Undergraduate Coordinator -

Jesse Martinez

Undergraduate Coordinator -

Montana Petersen

Advisory Council

  • Courtney Luedke, Ph.D.
  • Ozalle Toms, Ph.D.
  • Richard McGregory, Ph.D.
  • Roger Pulliam, Ph.D.
  • Andre Douglas, M.S.
  • Kenny Yarbrough, Th.D., CDP