Distinguished Scholars

Make early connections

Western Washington University's Distinguished Scholars programs provide select students with an early opportunity to explore their interests while gaining a network of academic and social support through the students, faculty and staff in each program. While programs vary in their offerings, the goal of each is to create a small cohort experience for first-year students. Distinguished Scholars are selected in March and April each year based on the information provided in the application for admission to Western. Some programs require additional information or a separate application; such programs will notify selected students about any additional requirements. 

Biology Distinguished Scholars

This distinctive small group experience allows students interested in biology the opportunity to work closely with faculty within the biology and chemistry departments.

Program benefits: Exclusive one-on-one advising with faculty; guaranteed enrollment in the general chemistry and biology series. Students take Chem 121,122, 123 and Biology 204 as freshmen and Biology 205, 206 as sophomores. 

How are scholars selected? High achieving students are invited to apply if they have demonstrated academic excellence and an interest in biology or a pre-health professional pathway. A committee selects students based on information provided in the application for admission including a specific interest in the sciences.

College of Business & Economics Distinguished Scholars

Scholars have the freedom to explore numerous opportunities in the business field by touring multi-million dollar businesses, interviewing successful entrepreneurs and attending special business functions with Western faculty, while enjoying priority access to business foundation courses to get a head start on their major.

Program benefits: One-on-one advising beginning in the first quarter; a $1,000 scholarship in the second year for continuing full-time College of Business and Economics (CBE) students; entrance into an interactive business seminar (Management 202); accelerated admission into the CBE; and priority access to CBE foundation courses.

How are scholars selected? Twenty students who have demonstrated superior academic success and experience or interest in the area of business in their application for admission are selected each year. The selection process is competitive; most CBE Distinguished Scholars have earned a 3.7 or higher cumulative high school GPA and have participated in business-related extracurricular activities. 

Computer Science & Mathematics

The Computer Science and Mathematics (CS/M) Scholars program is funded by the National Science Foundation and has a mission of graduating more women with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics.

Program benefits: Enrollment in mathematics and computer science seminar courses in the fall quarter; monthly get-togethers with a focus on exploring career options and opportunities for internships and research; active advising with faculty beginning in the first year; some CS/M Scholars may also be selected to receive need-based scholarships as well.

How are scholars selected? Female students who have demonstrated academic excellence and are interested in pursuing a major in Computer Science or Mathematics are invited to apply.  Finalists will be interviewed by early April and awards announced mid-April.

Future Woodring Scholars

Students are able to explore teacher education and human service programs and professions early in their Western career while building their resumes through experience working in local schools and community organizations. 

Program benefits: Priority selection consideration for teacher education and human services programs; enrollment in "Introduction to Contemporary Education Issues"; participation in a First-year Interest Group with automatic enrollment in English, sociology and communication courses with an accompanying seminar; mentoring and special admission guidance and information from Woodring faculty. 

How are scholars selected? Selected students have demonstrated academic success, an interest in becoming a teacher or human services professional, a strong background in multiculturalism or an expressed interest in working with diverse student populations, informal or formal experience working with youth, and a desire to be in a leadership position.

Marine Science Distinguished Scholars

Marine Science Scholars gain experience and exposure to scientific research, explore career opportunities, contribute to research by collecting data, and build an awareness of contemporary environmental issues facing our oceans.

Program benefits: Earn credit while living and learning at the Shannon Point Marine Center during a two-week hands-on course prior to starting your first fall quarter; exclusive registration for a series of 1-credit seminars addressing contemporary marine science issues during your freshman and sophomore years; staying informed on internship, research and outreach opportunities.

How are scholars selected? High-achieving students are invited to apply if they have demonstrated academic excellence and an interest in pursuing majors applicable to the marine sciences. A committee selects students based on information provided in the application for admission including a specific interest in marine sciences. This highly-selective program admits just 15-20 students per year. Marine Science Scholars have on average about a 3.8 GPA with a strong high school curriculum and a 1380 on the new SAT.