Leadership Award

Do you have a bright idea that will enhance our university and/or community? The L&S Honors Program can support you and your project.

What is the Cyrena Pondrom Leadership Award?

The Cyrena Pondrom Leadership Award supports students as they plan, develop and implement projects designed to improve UW-Madison, the community and/or the university student body. Each year, up to two (2) students receive awards equal to two (2) semesters of resident, full-time tuition, plus project funds up to $3000 as justified in the proposed project budget. Past award recipients have established mentoring programs for underrepresented students; collaborated with local organizations to improve community access to fresh, healthy and local produce; and founded an academic journal, the Madison Journal of Literary Criticism, to increase students’ opportunities to see their work published. Award winners are expected to submit progress reports to the L&S Honors staff as required, and to identify a UW-Madison faculty member who will serve in an advisory/resource capacity.

Who is eligible to apply?

You can apply for a Cyrena Pondrom Leadership Award if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a currently enrolled L&S Honors Student (HLA, HM, or Comprehensive Honors)
  • You have at least sophomore standing
  • You have at least one (1) year of undergraduate study remaining at the time of the award
  • Your cumulative GPA is at least 3.3.
  • You have had a meeting with Interim Associate Director Pete Keys (pkeys@wisc.edu) and/or Program Administrator Kendra Ramthun (kendra.ramthun@wisc.edu) to discuss your project.

How are recipients chosen?

Cyrena Pondrom Leadership Award recipients are selected by members of the L&S Faculty Honors Committee. They will evaluate your application based on the following:

  • Evidence of your achievement and leadership in co-curricular or public/community service activities
  • Strength, rigor, clarity, and novelty of your project proposal
  • Clearly defined and justifiable project budget proposal
  • Strength of letter(s) of recommendation
  • Submission of evidence of concurrence with the project by any university or community group with whom you propose to work (typically verified through letters of recommendation)
  • Progress towards completing your Honors in the Liberal Arts, Honors in the Major or Comprehensive Honors degree(s)

What is the application process?

The Spring 2024 application is NOW OPEN and available on the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).

The following materials are required as part of the application:

  • A completed application (available in WiSH when open). The application contains the following requirements:
    • Title of your project
    • Names and contact information for your faculty and campus/community advisors
    • Letter of recommendation from your faculty advisor (you may also upload additional letters)
    • Project proposal (please see a template and examples below)
    • Project budget (please be sure to meet with Kendra Ramthun before application submission)
    • Required essay
    • Your UW-Madison student transcript (unofficial or official)

What types of resources are available to students to help with the process? 

The Honors Program strives to make the process of submitting a proposal as easy as it can be. Throughout your planning process, we strongly encourage you to meet with Pete Keys (pkeys@wisc.edu) and/or Kendra Ramthun (kendra.ramthun@wisc.edu). Each of these Honors staff members would welcome the opportunity to have a conversation!

Please also consider reviewing each of these materials:

Interested in more inspiration? We invite you to review recent Wisconsin Idea Fellowship awardee projects. Their projects are very similar to those funded by the Cyrena Pondrom Leadership Award.

When is the application due?

Deadline: Sunday, April 14, 2024 by 11:59 PM

*Feedback Opportunity: If you would like to receive feedback on your application materials prior to your final submission, please complete the following steps:

  1. Complete all application requirements in WiSH (including uploading all required files) but do not click submit.
  2. Email Pete Keys (pkeys@wisc.edu) to notify him that you would like to receive feedback on your application materials.
    • If you would like more specific feedback about a particular component of the application, please include that request in your email.
  3. Requests for feedback must be submitted by Sunday, March 31 at 11:59 PM. You will receive comments from the Honors staff no later than Friday, April 5.

Award status notifications will be e-mailed to applicants at their wisc.edu e-mail address by mid-May.

If you have additional questions about the Cyrena Pondrom Leadership Award, please contact the Honors Program office honors@honors.ls.wisc.edu.