Dressel Scholars Program

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Open to: All undergraduate students
Award: Varies
Application available: Now available for 2018-19
Application deadline: April 6, 2018



The Dressel Scholars program, funded by an initial gift from the family of Melanie Jan LaPlant Dressel, provides support to students at the University of Washington Tacoma. This support is defined as:

  • Student Awards – Financial support is offered to selected students to use in support of their expenses while a student at UW Tacoma.
  • Mentorships – Each Dressel Scholar is assigned a team of mentors who is their “personal board of directors” while they are in the program.
  • Opportunities – Dressel Scholars are offered opportunities to participate in educational and community events intended to expand their potential and broaden their horizons.

The combination of student awards (scholarships), a robust mentorship program, and participation opportunities is designed to develop the leadership potential for students from diverse backgrounds who have demonstrated an academic and service mindset, but may lack the opportunities necessary to fully realize their potential as community leaders. This program is intended to remove financial barriers that limit students’ ability to fully participate in their college experience. We have a diverse team of mentors to guide and assist Dressel Scholars with sound advice and guidance, giving our (often first generation) students a solid foundation upon which to build their leadership experience. Additionally, this program affords students the opportunity to have professional experiences that they might not otherwise have to help them achieve their full potential as UW Tacoma students and as leaders and citizens in our community.


A team of mentors is paired with each Dressel Scholar to serve as that student’s personal mentors for their duration in the program. We recruit mentors from across campus and across the community, representing a variety of professions, backgrounds, and perspectives, and we provide mentor training on an on-going basis in order to create a common understanding and to maximize the potential for our students.


Dressel Scholars are expected to participate in campus and community events that will increase their understanding of our community’s diverse ecosystem of business and nonprofits, as well as increase their exposure to business, civic, and community leaders.