Scholar Benefits & Responsibilities

Scholar Benefits and Responsibilities

Jacklyn Lacey welcomes the Scholars to her office at the American Museum of Natural History

Benefits: Community and credits

Scholars enter the program in a cohort and interact closely with their fellow Scholars throughout their time at Barnard. For their first two years, Scholars participate in a 1-credit per semester seminar that is designed to foster community, intellectual curiosity, familiarity with various methods of inquiry, and connections with potential mentors. Scholars meet two or three times a month, and each month is organized around an outing (or a couple of outings) with readings and guest speakers to complement the outing. Students are expected to attend all events and meetings.

During their third and fourth years, Scholars take part in some social events and outings. The emphasis, however, is on participation in a 1.5 credit per semester seminar, regular meetings with their mentors, and self-directed study. During the course of the seminar, which meets once a month, Scholars and invited guests discuss the formulation of research questions, investigative methodologies, and project development. More advanced Scholars will also workshop projects in progress and receive feedback on their ideas and presentations. A Scholar’s time at Barnard will culminate in a formal presentation of her project.

The Scholars meet with Anthropology Professor Zoë Crossland to discuss the activism of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo concerning the excavation of mass graves of the disappeared in Argentina. September 2018.

Benefits: Mentorship and guidance in project development 

Mentorship is a key component of the Barbara Silver Horowitz ’55 Scholars of Distinction Program. With the assistance of the program directors, mentors are selected and recruited by the students at the end of their second year in the program. Typically chosen from the Barnard faculty—or occasionally from individuals outside the College who have expertise valuable to the Scholar—these individuals are compensated for their participation. Mentors serve as intellectual counselors and guides and are responsible for overseeing a project from its inception to its completion. Initial meetings between a Scholar and her mentor focus upon the development of a project prospectus, budget, and timeline. In later meetings, a mentor will advise the Scholar and oversee the implementation and development of her project.

Benefits: Summer funding to help in project development 

A Scholar’s final paper may dovetail with her senior capstone thesis or it may focus on something completely unrelated. In order to encourage Scholars to be as bold and creative as possible in envisioning their project, each Scholar may receive as much as $9000 (not to exceed $4500 in a single summer). With the approval of her mentor and the Program directors, the Scholar may use the stipend in any manner that contributes to furthering or enriching her project. Possible uses include travel, facilitating research opportunities, subsidizing collaborations or production expenses, and the purchase of equipment, lessons, etc.

Scholars peruse a catalogue at the Judy Chicago exhibit PowerPlay


  • To maintain good academic standing throughout their time at Barnard.
  • To regularly attend seminars as well as events scheduled outside of class time (which will normally be determined prior to the start of classes).
  • To compose meditations on select events for the Scholars’ blog. To see examples, click here.
  • Juniors and Seniors are expected to meet regularly with their mentors, to attend monthly seminar sessions, and to develop an ambitious and creative project.
  • Status in the Scholars Program is contingent on a student meeting the above expectations. If there are areas of concern, a committee will evaluate the student's continued status as a member of the program.