Brief Description of the Lumen Prize

The Lumen Prize assists Elon University students in the attainment of ambitious and serious intellectual goals during their junior and senior years. The $20,000 award may be used for scholarship assistance, research assistance, international study, equipment and supplies, summer stipends, and other approved expenses. Winners of the Lumen Prize receive special mentoring and support in pursuit of graduate fellowships and international awards such as the Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater, and Rotary scholarships. The work of Lumen Prize winners will be publicly celebrated as representing the very best achievements of Elon University undergraduates. Students planning on attending graduate or professional school are strongly encouraged to apply.


  • candidates must be completing their second year at Elon
  • candidates must demonstrate a commitment to pursuing at least two additional academic years of study as Elon students
  • candidates must be mentored by a faculty member or staff with faculty rank who is on a long-term contract with the university (adjunct and visiting professors are not eligible to serve as mentors)

Selection Criteria

The committee will select Lumen Prize winners based on the following criteria:

  • Intellectual inquiry and integration
    • a set of goals that are clear, focused, and scholarly
    • a set of proposed activities/experiences that cumulatively support the applicant’s goals
    • a balance between diversity of experiences and depth of engagement that supports an exceptional undergraduate experience
    • in some cases, a plan of study that diverges from what might be considered a more “traditional” path (e.g., cutting across multiple disciplines, innovative within a particular discipline or program, or bridging traditional modes of academic inquiry with experiences outside the academy)
  • Intellectual curiosity and reflection
    • applicant conveys an intrinsic and impassioned engagement with proposed area of inquiry and expression, and an active openness to discovery and reflection