Creating the leaders of tomorrow

Powell Scholars are recipients of the university’s premier academic scholarship. We seek high achieving students from across all majors who demonstrate leadership potential, pursue creative endeavors and innovative research, and become game-changers in their communities both locally and globally. Powell Scholars are one-of-a-kind students, and it is a privilege to share in their personal and intellectual growth.

Qualified Powell Scholars candidates have:

  • A cumulative high school GPA of 3.7 or higher
  • Undertaken a rigorous academic curriculum - Honors, AP and/or IB courses
  • Demonstrated leadership skills or leadership potential in two or more areas, including but not restricted to student government, community service, cultural groups, research or creative activities, or sports

Students who meet these minimum criteria are encouraged to apply to the Powell Scholars Program by Dec. 1. A select number of finalists will be invited to campus to interview with the Powell Scholars selection committee.

Selected students will compete for up to 10 scholarships awarded annually by the university. Selection will involve a personal interview designed to assess each candidate's potential for intellectual and leadership development, international study, research and creative endeavors, and the ability to make a difference in the world.

Dr. Courtney Lehmann
Message from the Director

Welcome to the Powell Scholars Program!

More than just a scholarship, the Powell Scholars program is a ticket to life-altering experiences. In order to support their research and creative pursuits, Powell Scholars have access to funds for projects as well as for study abroad. Cultural enrichment is another central feature of the program.

Our students not only participate in field trips to world-class arts experiences, they also bring high profile speakers, artists, scholars and entrepreneurs to Pacific. Powell Scholars enjoy a dedicated study lounge, seminar room and brainstorming space in Callison Hall, an ideal setting for exchanging ideas, engaging in collaboration and refining individual and group projects.

Courtney Lehmann, Ph.D.
Director, Powell Scholars Program
Tully Knoles Professor of the Humanities
Professor of English

Dr. Courtney Lehmann
Jessica Alva in Italy
Success at Pacific
Jessica Alva

Throughout her time at Pacific, Jessica Alva (Applied Mathematics '21) has studied abroad in Siena, Italy, and joined a competitive dance team, among many other things. Find out more about Jessica and why she chose Pacific. 

Success After Pacific
Samantha Johnston

As a Powell Scholar, Samantha Johnston '20 interned at an international economic development firm in Washington, D.C., studied in Spain, organized a student march to fight climate change, consulted for community nonprofits and honed her negotiation skills in Model United Nations conferences. 

Samantha’s four years at Pacific double-majoring in Applied Economics and International Relations laid an excellent foundation for work on the global stage. “The best thing is that it has given me a really great, broad, big-picture perspective — big picture economy, big picture global perspective of how things work,” she said.

In fall 2020, Samantha entered Columbia University to study for a master’s degree in global thought.

Samantha Johnston

Projects and Guests

The Powell Scholars Program has initiated several group projects, including teaching English as a foreign language in Dimen, China, and developing an intensive growing system for microgreens.

Special guest speakers and lecturers are brought to campus by the program. Past guests include Vijay Gupta, a violinist in the LA Philharmonic and activist, jazz great Wynton Marsalis and artist Gil Dellinger.

Past recipients of the Powell Exemplary Leader Award, an award given by the program to a leader who embodies one or more of the Nine Dimensions, include Malawian entrepreneur Ellen Chilemba and Humans of New York author Brandon Stanton.

After Graduation

Upon earning their undergraduate degrees, Powell alumni typically pursue graduate school, professional school, or fellowships and often earn entrance into the top programs in their chosen fields. Powell Scholars have gone on to masters and doctoral programs ranging from engineering to the natural sciences and the arts.

Powell Scholar alumni have pursued advanced degrees at Cal Tech, USC, Georgetown, William and Mary, University of Michigan, Northwestern, New York University and the Ivy League. Others have pursued law school, medical school, dentistry or pharmacy at schools including UC Davis, UC San Francisco, USC, Loyola Marymount and University of the Pacific.

Powell Scholars have also earned Fulbright Scholarships to Finland and South Korea.

Nine Dimensions of a Powell Scholar


Initiate a group, movement, or organization on campus or beyond to improve conditions in some way



Demonstrate leadership in an organization, research or artistic endeavor



Present, publish, or perform an original scholarly or creative project


Connect to the local, national, and international communities through voluntarism or other activities



Apply for and strive to win a prestigious fellowship or scholarship



Attend concerts, art exhibits, or lectures on and off campus


Gain insight to other cultures and international exposure by studying abroad or other avenues



Obtain hands-on experience in their field through internships or other avenues



Strive for the highest level of academic excellence

Callison Hall

Since January 2012, the Powell Scholars have had their own space on campus. Callison Hall was remodeled thanks to the generosity of Jeannette Powell. She was so dedicated to the program that she not only personally oversaw the remodeling of Callison, but also used her expertise in interior design to furnish and decorate the building, including donating artwork.

Callison Hall is a space dedicated to academic, creative, and leadership activities for Powell Scholars and their guests. The building also houses the office of program director Courtney Lehmann.

Scholars outside Callison Hall
Program Benefactors

Thanks to the remarkable gift from Bob and Jeannette Powell, the Powell Scholars receive generous scholarships, enrichment opportunities and funding for research and creative projects, as well as study abroad.

The Powells had been involved with Pacific since 1989, when Robert Powell began serving as a Regent. Jeannette Powell served as a Regent from 1999 until her death in 2012. She is the only person to have been granted lifetime Regent status. Robert Powell passed away the same year the program was founded, but Jeannette Powell remained passionately involved until her passing in 2012.

The Powells have provided our students with unprecedented opportunities to fulfill their individual goals and to work collectively toward realizing the Powells' vision for the Program which, in Jeannette’s memorable words, is to “find and follow your passions.”


Jeannette and Robert Powell