University of Iowa

A word about who UI Undergraduate Fellowships serves on campus: All currently enrolled undergraduates are welcome to attend our workshops, informational presentations, or peer review sessions.   Though UI Undergraduate Fellowships is housed in the Blank Honors Center, we value and support the work, dreams, and goals of any undergraduate student who is interested the challenge of developing a stronger scholarship or fellowship application through engagement with our scholar development resources and activities. Membership in the UI Honors Program is not required.


2019-20 Scholar Development Workshop Series

Presented by UI Undergraduate Fellowships 


Scholarship application season is almost upon us, so we want to invite prospective applicants to one (or more!) of our summer and fall 2019 workshops.  Each opportunity is designed to help participants set aside time to consider what motivates them, where that motivation comes from, and how to effectively articulate the story of that motivation to their chosen audience.  We also help students understand more about what selection committees value and do our best to demystify the application process while giving participants access to practical tools and time to help them get started.


Summer 2019 Peer Review Workshops

UI Undergraduate Fellowships is offering students two opportunities to give and receive feedback from fellow applicants representing a diverse range of academic disciplines and research areas. Kelly Thornburg, Director of Scholar Development will contribute to the review process as both a reader and facilitator. Attendees are asked to submit draft content (no more than 500 words per weekly session) to the group prior to each workshop. Instructions for submitting drafts and joining the video conferences will be provided once an individual has registered.

Registration is required.  To register, follow the registration link included in each workshop description below.

If you are not ready to register yet, but have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly at or to schedule a conference at

Section One | Peer Review for Undergraduate NSF GRFP Applicants

Thursdays 12:00-1:15 pm via Zoom

This section is a more tailored option for undergraduate applicants for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship. Registration is required.  To do so, click here

Section Two | Peer Review for Developing Scholars

Tuesdays, 4:00-5:30 pm in Room 440 of the Blank Honors Center

This section is open to undergraduates who are currently developing essays for campus nomination applications, national fellowships, graduate school, or other applications for scholarships or experiential learning opportunities are invited. Students who are preparing campus applications for the Goldwater, Truman, Beinecke, and Udall Scholarships are encouraged to participate if at all possible.

Past Workshops

How to Ask for the Letter of Recommendation you need

Asking for a recommendation can make even the most confident person anxiousWhat if you ask and the professor says “No”? What if your supervisor says “Yes”, but does not offer the committee a positive take on you or your potential? Inviting a teacher or mentor to share what they think of you and your potential can feel risky, but when you approach the conversation with care and preparation, the exchange can strengthen your relationship with your writer (and help you tap into their expert knowledge). Join us for this popular workshop to make the most of any conversation with your recommenders or referees!


Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Time:  7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Location:  PBB S107

RSVP for this workshop at:

Truth and Lies in Resume-Building

As part of National Scholarships Month, Honors Peer Advisors and Kelly Thornburg, our Director of Scholar Development will discuss some of the most common misconceptions about resume-building, how to avoid the mistakes that go with them, and what we are looking for in the resume component of the Honors Scholarship application.  Come for the insider perspective and stay for the pizza!

Date: Throughout November and December

Time: Rolling

Location: Facebook Live and Instagram Stories @uiowahonors


I AM OBSESSED! How what we cannot stop thinking, talking, and reading about can help us better understand how we can be useful in the world.

We all have experiences, ideas, and possessions we were obsessed with growing up. During this exercise-oriented workshop, students will build their own “Obsession Genogram” or map of their most defining interests to help them take a closer look at their favorite things in an effort to better understand who they are, where they came from, and what they believe before they begin to explore what comes next for them in college.  This practical workshop is a "must-do" because it makes it easy for participants to generate more representative, authentic content for resumes, personal statements, or job interviews while taking a fun, creative break.  Good snacks and necessary supplies will be provided.


Date: Saturday, December 1, 2018

Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM - This is a window of time to allow folks to work on their genograms if they want to stay and do so.  We recommend attending the start of the workshop, but how long you stay to do the exercise, is your call.  We’ll have brunch, coffee, tea, and juice so you’ll have the energy you need for your self-discovery. 

Location: Room 440 of the Blank Honors Center

RSVP for this workshop at:

Questions about our workshops or other scholar development opportunities? 

Contact Kelly Thornburg at or schedule an application development conference at