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Spring on the York College campus

Graham Innovation Scholars

Innovators welcome.

Let’s face it: You are not planning to attend York College to be ordinary.

You want your life to be extraordinary.

At York College, we understand that—and we give all York College students the tools to build that extraordinary life from day one.

Our dedication to cultivating new and inventive ideas is what inspired the creation of the Graham Innovation Scholars Program.

If you're someone who doesn't want to settle, who likes thinking outside the box when it comes to learning, and who wants to add a deeper level to their college education, you need to apply for Graham Innovation Scholars. Download a transcript of this video.

Graham Scholars Designing Extraordinary Lives

Access Unique Opportunities Program Benefits

  • Work with a team of other motivated students

    Led by some of our most innovative faculty members, you’ll be part of a team of students who are driven to succeed—starting with a First-Year seminar in innovative “entrepreneurial thinking” that can help you further develop your goals and educationan. Then, each semester, you’ll have one seminar with the class to share ideas, break new ground, and plan your futures together.

  • Design your own major (if you choose to do so) or enhance an existing major with assistance from a faculty advisor

    We’ll help you graduate with a toolkit for success—with the skills and expertise to achieve your own educational, career, and personal goals. You could, for example, combine courses in the arts with those in the sciences to develop and market new products or services; you could develop just the right mix of courses to prepare for law school or be ready to shine in your first workplace; or you could develop a curriculum that helps you become a leader in management, the arts or music industries, or to start your own business. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

  • Participate in Study Abroad and Study Away Experiences

    You will have the opportunity to plan and participate in exciting trips and cultural experiences. As a Graham Scholar, you will work with your cohort to propose and develop short-term study abroad experiences, guided by Graham Fellow and resident world-traveler Dr. David Fyfe, and to plan "study away" experiences within the United States. You will then travel as a group to learn about sites and cultures around the world at very accessible cost.

    Through the generosity of the program donor Donald Graham, we are able to provide funding for Graham Scholar travel. Though students may be asked to cover the costs of some travel experiences—either on their own or through student-planned, entrepreneurial fundraising (itself a learning experience!)—we will make sure that these experiences are accessible to all Scholars.

    By participating in these travel experiences, you’ll learn to be a global citizen, encountering different cultures and practices relevant to your field of study. If you are interested in a more in-depth study abroad program (full semester or year-long), our faculty and staff are happy to help you plan that as well.

  • Learn to apply basic business principles in your area of study that can help you move from ideas to action

    Our faculty, many of whom are also experienced business and community leaders, build classes that will teach you key business skills in leadership, accounting, marketing, management, and business law to supplement your major field of study. These skills are valuable tools for everyone—whether you are an artist, writer, engineer, or chemist—and will help you make a living doing what you love. You may even get the chance to implement your entrepreneurial ideas in the local community.

  • Learn from leaders in your field

    Faculty from a wide variety of disciplines—including the arts, science and technology, humanities, and business—develop and deliver an innovative curriculum based on real-world experiences as well as classroom learning. Classes are led by subject matter experts and, whenever possible, are tailored to students' interests and career goals. Professors can assist you in developing special topics courses and other enrichment activities to help you achieve success.

    In addition to working closely with faculty in class, your cohort will be matched with a faculty mentor who will guide you in your academic studies and help prepare you for your future career goals.



  • Receive guidance from Community Mentors who can provide you with insight into achieving success

    We partner with local leaders in business, technology, government, arts and culture, social services, and other fields who are available to mentor you. These proven experts will help you to learn about the principles of successful entrepreneurship.

    They can open doors for you to network with others who (along with your faculty mentors) will help you toward a successful start to your career. This impressive group includes well-established leaders as well as young and innovative entrepreneurs who are doing big things here in York. We’ll match you with a mentor who aligns with your own interests.

  • Conduct research and/or collaborate on community projects during the summer in paid positions

    Graham Scholars have the opportunity to do research with our faculty and/or work with community leaders during the summer. We’ll provide successful students with summer housing, a stipend, and a chance to work in a field that advances their own career goals. We will offer to qualified scholars a range of research experiences to activate their curiosity and provide a broader set of learning experiences, including the chance to do field work, lab work, or intern with a business or government agency.

    Some past summer projects pursued by our Scholars include designing reusable rockets, developing and implementing a program to teach design thinking to middle school students, working at the Naval Yard in Philadelphia, and interning at one of the best accounting firms in the country.

    In some cases, students are able to collaborate with faculty members on research projects, often leading to shared conference presentations and publications. Whatever form your project takes, it will allow you to build a strong résumé while in college so that you are prepared to enter the workforce, or to pursue post-graduate education, upon graduation.

  • Attend events featuring local and national experts

    As a Graham Scholar you’ll have opportunities to attend regularly-occurring events designed especially for you. These events, featuring both local and national leaders in a variety of fields, open the door to internships, shadowing and mentoring experiences, and, ideally, job opportunities.

    These co-curricular experiences will help you envision how to apply your studies in your future career.



Learn MoreProgram Details

  • Guidelines for Applying

    Guidelines for Applying

    The Graham Innovation Scholars Program seeks individuals who demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship and experience in implementing new ideas. Graham Scholars are innovators who are passionate about identifying and fulfilling the needs of their community. If this describes you, we invite you to apply—show us who you are and what you believe. Please consider the following guidelines:

    • Applications are now closed for the 2020-2021 academic year. Check back with us in early 2021 if you are interested in applying for the 2021-2022 academic year.
    • There are NO strict GPA or test score requirements. We will evaluate your application as a whole, and will consider past work in innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as your future goals, teamwork, and more. 
    • The Graham Scholars team will review your application and may ask to speak with you.
    • Plan on attending Accepted Student Day so you can meet other incoming Graham Scholars.
  • Program Expectations

    Program Expectations

    Each Graham Scholar will:

    • Achieve at a high level in both academic and co-curricular work;
    • Maintain open communication with their advisors and peers, including attending all group meetings and responding to communications in a timely manner;
    • Act as an ambassador for the fulfillment of the program’s mission and goals;
    • Complete two courses with other Scholars: a First-Year Seminar in Entrepreneurial Thinking and a course in Rhetorical Communication;
    • Design their program of studies to support their personal and career goals;
    • Attend events designed to help them to build leadership skills;
    • Participate meaningfully in at least one special project each semester;
    • Meet individually with their advisor at least once per semester to discuss academic, career, and personal goals;
    • After their first year, mentor incoming Scholars, providing advice and setting a positive example; and
    • Take part, as their schedule allows, in additional classes with other scholars across campus.

    In order to get the most out of the program, Graham Scholars will regularly engage with faculty and other Scholars, develop meaningful curricular and co-curricular experiences, respond to—and when appropriate, support—student ideas and innovations, and be personally committed to the success of the Scholars.  

     

  • A Note to Parents

    A Note to Parents

    Parents—we know that you are deeply invested in your child's future and that you want to ensure they will have access to resources and opportunities that will help them succeed. We invite you to read the following note from Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, Dean of the Center for Community Engagement, about why you should encourage your student to consider the Graham Innovation Scholars program.

  • Meet Donald Graham

    Meet Donald Graham

    The Graham Scholars Program is made possible through the generosity of Donald C. Graham. Mr. Graham is well-known in the York area for his philanthropy and business acumen. He is invested in the success of each of our Graham Scholars, and we are very grateful for his vision and support.

Contact Us
Graham Innovation Scholars Program
Center for Community Engagement
Dominic DelliCarpini, Ph.D.
Dean, Center for Community Engagement
Campus: Humanities Center, Room 29
Downtown: Center for Community Engagement
59 E. Market St., York, PA 17401
Phone: 717.815.1303
grahamscholars@ycp.edu

Karin A. Swartz, M.S.Ed.
Director of Programming
Campus: Humanities Center, Room 125
Downtown: Center for Community Engagement
59 E. Market St., York, PA 17401
Phone: 717.815.1421
kswartz1@ycp.edu 

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