Kessler Scholars Program

The Kessler Scholars Program at Johns Hopkins University is dedicated to an intensive enrichment experience via academic and professional resources for high-achieving, service-minded students who are among the first in their family to attend college. The program invites students who intend to pursue majors in the humanities and social sciences to be part of a close-knit community of scholars that engages in rich conversation, academic and professional opportunities, and peer, faculty, and alumni networks.

National Collaboration

The Kessler Scholars Program (McGuire Scholars Program) at Johns Hopkins is part of the national Kessler Scholars Collaborative along with Cornell University, Queens College, Saint Francis College, Syracuse University, and the University of Michigan. Together, these schools are rethinking how to support first-generation college students as they navigate higher education. Students who join the Kessler Scholars Program are part of a powerful network of first-generation leaders, connected across multiple institutions throughout their undergraduate college experience and beyond.

Program Offerings


The Kessler Scholars Program is an engaging scholar community that provides opportunities for meaningful connections between Kessler Scholars. As part of the Kessler Scholars National Collaborative, Kessler Scholars at JHU will have the opportunity to participate in a powerful scholar community of first-generation students across six institutions.

Academic, Professional and Leadership Development

Throughout the academic year, Kessler scholars have opportunities to develop their academic, professional, and leadership skills through workshops that are specific to the social sciences and humanities fields. Topics will include national fellowships, graduate school, study abroad, writing in the academy, undergraduate research, summer internships, leadership in the liberal arts, and career planning and preparation.

Civic Engagement

Giving back is a core value of the Kessler Scholars program. Through partnership with the Center for Social Concern, Kessler Scholars will be invited to cultivate an ethos and practice of civic engagement that develops leaders committed to serving their communities.

Personalized Advising

Intentional scholar development is rooted in personalized advising. Each scholar benefits from a team of advisors. As first-generation students, scholars will receive an academic advisor/success coach who provides a steady resource throughout the undergraduate experience, supporting scholars in navigating their academic experience and providing year-round proactive holistic guidance.

The Kessler Scholars Program also provides personalized advising, through Kessler program staff, who will meet with each scholar to develop an ongoing discussion about their scholar experience, identity, and goals. The Kessler program staff will provide opportunities for self-reflection, helping scholars develop a strong understanding of their strengths, the multiple pathways and opportunities to realize their ambitious goals, the value of a liberal arts education, and what it means to lead through service.


Each Kessler Scholar will have a faculty mentor who they choose during the sophomore spring semester and will meet with regularly throughout their junior and senior years in the program. Through their faculty mentors, Kessler Scholars will have the opportunity to learn about the personal experiences and journey of their faculty in the academy and possess a greater understanding of life in the academy including topics like the process of looking for graduate schools, submitting articles for publication, and work-life balance as faculty. Beyond faculty, mentor relationships will also be encouraged through specific programming that invites university leadership, staff, and alumni to various scholar events, allowing for repeated interactions and connections with key members of the JHU community.

Financial Support

A summer opportunity stipend of up to $5,000 will be made available to each Kessler Scholar to support research or internships.