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ACCESS Scholars

 ACCESS the Start of a Lifetime

The College of Science ACCESS Scholars is a first-year community, research and scholarship program for students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

What does the ACCESS Scholars Program offer?

The ACCESS Scholars Program provides incoming students with a signature first-year experience that helps identify academic and career goals, builds social awareness, develops leadership skills, connects students to mentors and a network of over 800 program alumni, and builds a community of future leaders in science.

A year of ACCESS includes a monetary award, and covers all costs associated with this first-year opportunity.

ACCESS Scholars is made possible by many generous corporate and individual donors. Special thanks to

 A Year of ACCESS


ACCESS Scholars find a cohort of support with a like-minded peer group, mentorship from ACCESS alumni and faculty, and jump start their college experience during the summer before their first year at the U. Students get to spend two weeks on campus during an intensive summer experience that provides an introduction to all of the science disciplines on campus through hands-on experiences. Student success and the opportunity to survey academic and career paths are integral to this unique learning experience.



ACCESS workshops, socials, and mentorship continue to help students transition into university life and provide tools and support for bolstering success in science as a student and future professional. ACCESS Scholars are trained on college-level research in SCI 1500 (a 1-credit course). They prepare for the spring semester experience and learn how to make research a signature part of their undergraduate education.



Students participate in cutting-edge research under the guidance of a prominent scientist, giving them insight into the underpinnings of science and innovation. Discoveries are celebrated during the ACCESS Spring Research Symposium. Faculty, high school educators, family, and friends are invited to learn from the newest ACCESS alumni. A majority of ACCESS Scholars engage in multiple years of research, making this a signature part of their undergraduate education. This high impact experience often yields research publications before graduation, opportunities to present at scientific conferences, and, for some, a path into graduate or professional schools.



ACCESS 2023-2024

ACCESS 2022-2023

ACCESS 2021-2022

ACCESS 2020-2021

ACCESS 2019-2020

ACCESS 2018-2019



Tiffany Do: Undergrad Research Scholar

Phi Beta Kappa

Savannah Romney

Audrey Brown

Sonia Sehgal

Goldwater Winner

Ana Rosas

Alex Acuna

Sahar Kanishka

Rachel Cantrell


ACCESS in the News

ACCESS: The Invisible Scaffolding

Humans of the U: Brenda Payan Medina

ACCESS: Sarah Lambart

ACCESS: A Tale of Two Researchers

ACCESS: Margaret Call

Phi Beta Kappa


Arctic Adventures

Discover 2020


Connect with Us


Learn More

ACCESS Testimonials

Student voices on the value of ACCESS.

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ACCESS Photo Gallery

A year of ACCESS in photos.

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History of ACCESS

ACCESS was created in 1991 as a modern solution to an old problem.

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ACCESS Scholars Application

ACCESS application details and requirements.

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ACCESS Leadership

Tonie van Dam, Ph.D.

ACCESS Director

Tonie van Dam, Ph.D.

ACCESS Director
Tonie van Dam serves as the Director of the ACCESS Scholars Program in the College of Science. She is also a Professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics.

Sam Shaw

ACCESS Program Manager

Sam Shaw

ACCESS Program Manager
Sam supports all student-related activities in the College of Science, including recruitment, events, scholarships, petitions, orientation, and social media. She manages the Student Ambassador Program, developing student leaders and providing support for events in the College and its four departments. As the ACCESS Program Manager, Sam recruits applicants, facilitates selections, and manages administrative logistics throughout the year-long scholarship and research program.
 1390 Presidents Circle
   Crocker Science Center, Room 214

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