Apply for the Spark Program

Students participating in the spark program.

Aaron Krolikowski (Rhodes Finalist) and Michael Brown (Truman Finalist) present to students in the Spark program.

The Spark Program is a nine-week program that offers select students the opportunity to learn about competitive external fellowships and provides them with the tools to develop a competitive profile.

About the Spark Program

The Spark Program is held in the fall and spring for freshmen and sophomores. Presenters include UB’s current and past fellowship recipients, as well as key faculty on campus.

Students must commit to participating in the entire series of workshops. Students are encouraged to complete an application for a summer program or research opportunity.

The Spring 2023 Spark Program will be held on Tuesdays, 5:00–6:30 p.m., February 14 through April 18 (with one skipped week during spring recess).

The application for the Spring 2023 Spark Program is now closed. Please stay tuned for details about how to apply for Fall 2023.

Earn a digital badge with Spark!

A digital badge is a new type of credential that allows you to show the specific skills you've gained through learning experiences. It's a clickable icon that can digitally display your work and accomplishments to key audiences, like future employers or graduate schools, when embedded on your digital resume, ePortfolio or LinkedIn. Learn more about micro-credentials and digital badges from UB's Office of Micro-Credentials.

Program Eligibility

Students must submit a short online application to be considered for the program. Selected students are typically intellectually curious and interested in focusing on their academic and professional development.

Note: The fellowships and scholarships that are discussed do not cover the expenses of medical, dental or pharmacy school. Therefore, the Spark Program is not the best fit for students who plan on pursuing these career paths. Additionally, all of the competitive awards covered in the program are available to U.S. citizens only.

What to Expect

The program will include in-person and online meetings as well as individual conferences over the course of nine weeks. It introduces students to opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Throughout the program participants meet students who have previously applied for and received prestigious awards. It is designed to give students the opportunity to assess their strengths, envision their futures and create plans to become competitive for major fellowships and scholarships. Students will complete CliftonStrengths and begin to write application materials.

Spark Program Schedule (Spring 2023)

Week 1 (Feb 14): Welcome to the Spark Program: an overview of fellowships and scholarships.

Week 2 (Feb 21): Meet fellowship recipients.

Week 3 (Feb 28): "What are your strengths?" workshop with the Career Design Center and CliftonStrengths assessment.

Week 4 (Mar 7): Networking night: build your network as an introvert or extrovert.

Week 5 (Mar 14): Extracurricular, community, and civic engagement.

Spring Recess (Mar 21): No meetings.

Week 6 (Mar 27-31): Writing workshops: tell your story in application materials.

Week 7 (Apr 4): Study abroad: find international opportunities.

Week 8 (Apr 11): Research roundtables with faculty. 

Week 9 (Apr 18): Program farewell: reflection and goal setting.