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The LEAD Scholars Program is for first-generation college students (students whose parents did not graduate from a 4-year college or university) focused on academic success, community engagement and vocational exploration.

This program is open to both first-year students and transfer students with the goal of supporting them throughout their college career.

LEAD Scholars

LEAD logo 2018


LEAD Week 2021 will be Sept. 12th - 17th

Please see the LEAD Week section under prospective students for updates on housing, commuting, and the tentative schedule.


LEAD Scholars, to make an appointment with the new Associate Director of Student Advocacy, Jessica Johns, please click here

Jessica is here to support LEAD Scholars in a variety of ways including academic, financial, mental health, and family concerns and more.


COVID-19 is having a significant impact on all of our lives. Santa Clara University has been in regular contact via email to inform us how campus will be impacted. To review this correspondence, please go to the SCU COVID-19 website. For a list of additional campus and community resources collected by LEAD, please go to our COVID-19 Resources

The LEAD Scholars Program staff is also here to support you via email, phone or video chat. If you need help with anything, please contact us: Erin Kimura-Walsh at; Andrea Jackson at; and Alma Llamas at


We hope that you’ll consider joining LEAD, as a prospective SCU student or a current SCU student

Thank you for your interest in the LEAD Scholars Program! The LEAD Scholars Program is a program for first-generation college students (students whose parents did not graduate from a 4-year college or university) focused on academic success and community engagement. The LEAD Scholars Program provides academic and vocational development opportunities, supportive advising, peer mentoring, and community building through a variety of courses, programs, and support networks.

As you may know, Dr. Danielle Morgan, a Professor in the English Department who has also taught in LEAD; her husband, Matt Morgan, Director of Storytelling at SCU; and Danielle’s brother were involved in an incident with campus police.
The incident is described here by Dr. Morgan. 
Like many of you, we are troubled, angry and saddened by the way that they were treated. We also realize that their decision to go public is a huge act of generosity. They are giving voice to the experiences of many of our students, faculty and staff of color on our campus, as well as people of color throughout our society. Like many in the SCU community, we wish that consequences would come more quickly, but also we realize that the road to justice is long (oh so long).
We wait for the university’s investigation into this incident and the initiatives they are embarking on to address racial injustice on our campus. We hope that there is much more to come and that real change will happen.
As always, we are here to support and advocate for you.
Erin, Andrea, Alma, Claire

We are writing to offer our support to the LEAD community amidst the recent incidents that have brought the racial injustice of our society to light. Like many of you, we are reeling from the death of George Floyd. We also realize that this is just one of many incidents that highlights the continued killing of Black people at the hands of police officers, and the ongoing structural oppression of people of color, with particular impact on our Black community members. 

While we all experience emotions in our own unique ways, LEAD staff members are feeling many of the emotions that you probably are, sadness, anger, pain, weariness. We are also feeling both hopeful and hopeless. We realize that significant structural change needs to take place both at Santa Clara University and the broader society to shift the inequality that exists. It is daunting. At the Vigil for Racial Justice, alum Kimberly Henderson called SCU to task. Since she graduated over twenty years ago, little has changed in the racial landscape of our campus. As an alum who graduated a year after Kimberly, I (Erin) agree. 

At the same time, we see hope in all of you. In the ways that you show up each day as first-generation college students to stand up to the structural inequalities in our society--your voice in classes, your academic achievements, your involvement in activist communities on and off campus. Your presence at SCU is an act of bravery and defiance. 

The LEAD community is also a diverse community-made up of students from many different racial, ethnic, socio-economic and geographic backgrounds who have the common thread of being first-generation college students. We urge you to join us in recognizing our own backgrounds, and as result, the ways we experience both marginalization and privilege. Let’s use our privilege to create space for marginalized people, especially Black people, to voice their experiences and lead us in creating the change that is needed. 

We are here to support you as individuals and a community. As LEAD Council shared in their statement, “We are all here for each other. That’s part of what makes LEAD so special.”

We are also here to learn from you. Please tell us how we can make LEAD and SCU more just spaces. We promise to continue to advocate for sustainable and substantive change. We are committed to you, our beloved students. We are committed to creating a campus and a world that is a better place for you and for students after you. Let us support each other on this long road to justice. 

LEAD Collaborates with 'Empowered Students' to Provide Career Coaching


Dec. 11th, 2018

Santa Clara, CA -- Empowered Students has partnered with the LEAD Scholars on a pilot program to support 15 students. The Career Coaching program includes a four week online, a micro-learning experience that is 10 minutes a day, weekly group coaching calls via video chat, and access to a private LinkedIn group. The partnership will take place between the months of December, 2018 and March, 2019.

Through the Empowered Students’ career coaching program, LEAD Scholars will receive coaching that will assist them in landing life-altering business internships and jobs upon graduation.  In order to do so, Empowered Students will increase the knowledge of LEAD Scholars in the realms of:

Relationship Building Skills
Business Communication
Personal Branding
Business Networking
Professionalism & Confidence

Click below for more information on Empowered Students!


Empowered Students is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that empowers first-generation and low income students to land life-altering internships and jobs. Our mission is to empower first-generation and low-income college students with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks needed to land life-altering internships and jobs upon graduation---which lead to meaningful careers, lives of impact, and positions of leadership. These outcomes radiate a positive ripple effect with family members, high school friends, and members in their hometown communities.

FALL QUARTER 2020 UPDATE: LEAD staff is currently working remotely and LEAD Commons is currently closed.

Back at campus, we are located in Alameda Hall (in between RLC's Graham and Finn). The LEAD Commons is located downstairs in Alameda 106 (walk towards the Amazon lockers), and the LEAD Offices are located upstairs on the second floor in Alameda 201, 202, and 204.

The LEAD Scholars Program staff is also here to support you via email, phone or video chat. If you need help with anything, please contact us: Erin Kimura-Walsh at; Andrea Jackson at; and Alma Llamas at

LEAD Office/ Commons Map 2019LEAD Office and Commons Photo


Click below for more LEAD news from previous years!

Thank you for going #AllInForLEAD during #AllInForSCU!

For the LEAD Scholars Program, we raised $15,749 from 158 gifts and were also able to unlock another $21,000 from our challenge for a grand total of $36,749!
For the Cabrini Fund, we raised $3975 from 46 gifts that will give our undocumented students the tools they need to be successful at Santa Clara University.
Thank you to all of the LEAD Scholars, families, alumni and friends who gave! 


National First-Generation Celebration!

National First-Generation College Celebration - Friday, November 8! 
This event, hosted by the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-Generation College Success was an opportunity to celebrate our first-generation college students, gain more information about their experiences, and explore how we can better support them. 
This year the LEAD Scholars Program hoested a few events to celebrate:



FirstGenDay2019Celebrate First Gen 2018

Please follow and tag us @sculeadscholars and/or use the hashtags #celebratefirstgen and #sculeadscholars
Check out an awesome press release done by SCU!

Congratulations to our class of 2019 Graduates!

Eoin Lyons - 1st LEAD Valedictorian 2019


One of our very own, Eoin Lyons, is officially the first LEAD Scholar to be named Santa Clara University's Valedictorian! We are extremely proud of all of our students and the community they create here at SCU.

Watch Eoin's speech here!

Thank you for your Day of Giving Support!

Day of Giving 2018

Thank you to everyone who supported LEAD during SCU's Annual Day of Giving!

On March 7th, 2019 there were 99 alumni, parents and friends donated $10,650 to support LEAD's Microgrant and Fellowships Program. The generous donations that are made help students with basic living and educational needs, and participation in high-impact co-curricular activities like unpaid internships, undergraduate research and study abroad. Check out the LEAD page here for more information and to possilby consider making a donation in the future!

Please considering making a gift to our Microgrant and Fellowships Program.


Congratulations to our IME Becas Scholarship Recipients!

Congratulations to our IME Becas Scholarship recipients: Divianna Navarro, Bernardo Quevedo and Fabiola Ruiz! We are incredibly grateful to the Mexican Consulate of San Jose which awarded us a fifth IME Becas Grant thus far! The purpose of this IME Beca is to provide financial assistance to students of Mexican origin in order to support educational opportunities.

Learn more about our recipients here


Congratulations to our 2018-2019 Koret Fellows!

With generous support from the Koret Foundation, the IME Becas Program through the Mexican Consulate, Parents Alliance and private donors, the LEAD Scholars Program awarded almost $90,000 in fellowships to 35 students to support participation in conferences, unpaid internships, study abroad and undergraduate research, summer courses, and immersion and other community-based learning travel. Click here to learn more about their experiences!

LEAD Event Calendar

View the full Calendar