CELE Fellowships

The Robert Lee Ellis Civic Fellowship selects during their first year at the University on the basis of financial need, dedication towards service, personal growth, and leadership development. Selected students make a 4-year commitment toward fulfilling Fellowship expectations. Ellis Fellows are awarded annual scholarships throughout their four years at the UW.

Eligible incoming students are encouraged to submit their applications by 12PM (noon) on Monday, January 31, 2022.

View Application Instructions and Essay Prompts (login with UWNetID required)

Applications for 2021-2022 are closed.


  1. Incoming student at the UW Seattle campus. This means you must be in your first year as a full-time student at the UW with an anticipated graduation date in in 2024 (or beyond).
  2. Documented financial need as determined by the Financial Aid Office. Most students fill this requirement by filing a FAFSA or WAFSA for the current academic year. We also accept applications from those who are not eligible to file for federal or state financial aid but can document financial need.
  3. Committed to weaving public service and civic leadership development into your Husky Experience--including an effort to connect academic pursuits with community-engaged learning.


Successful fellows have been able to share the following interests. 

  • A clear commitment to service as shown through past experiences.
  • An interest in a particular social issue.
  • Ideas about future goals and what you hope to gain as an Ellis Fellow.

Ellis Civic Fellowships can be understood as a series of building blocks, beginning in the first year with a broad overview of the Seattle community, moving in to a service partnership with a community organization, developing deeper integration between each Civic Fellow’s academic work and service commitments, and culminating with a community-based capstone project.

The purpose of the Ellis Civic Fellowships is to support students in making a commitment to our community with core objectives including serving in the community; learning about yourself, the community, and the intersection of your academic study and community service work; and developing skills and experience in leadership, fellowship, and empathy.

Every Ellis Civic Fellow will be supported with individual mentoring and a flexible leadership curriculum as they move towards graduating as an Ellis Civic Leader.


Robert Lee Ellis, a Seattle native, was killed in action in World War II.

In 2007, James Ellis honored his brother Robert — a person of high ethical standards and the willingness to help others — with a gift to the University of Washington. This gift became the endowment to support the Robert Lee Ellis Civic Fellows program.

The intention of the endowment and the Civic Fellows program is to support students who make a commitment to our community.

Email engage@uw.edu