Ignite Scholars Program

The Ignite Scholars Program selects talented students with demonstrated leadership experience and challenges and supports them to be agents for positive change in their communities, organizations, and the world at large. In their work as change agents, they learn curricularly and co-curricularly through social innovation and applied learning. 

Answering the question: What is next?

In business and in society in general, keeping pace with what’s happening now is no longer enough.

The true leaders in business—the ones whose names you know—are the people who knew the answers to the question “What’s next?” before the rest of us did. The Ignite Scholars Program is designed to develop students’ creativity, critical-thinking ability, and analytical power to identify the solutions that business and society urgently need.

Think about the companies that turned once-common business models on their heads. Apple took computers out of enormous mainframe rooms and put them in our homes. Uber made it seem archaic to stand on a street corner waiting to hail a taxi. Texting has replaced billions of phone calls. These and other innovations have challenged long-established modes of connecting with one another and the world around us. 

As the speed of these changes intensifies, business leaders and engaged citizens will need the ability to analyze conditions, identify emerging trends, and design innovative approaches to social, economic, and political challenges. 

Next-level curriculum

Ignite Scholars have access to certain Gabelli School core courses delivered as honors sections.  These sections are taught at a higher level and offer a heightened focus on social innovation, entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and strategy. Ignite Scholars also have an opportunity to become a cohesive group in the classroom.

The list of courses outlines which core curriculum and Ignite Scholars requirements are taught as honors sections.

Ignite Scholars Travel

The Gabelli School’s philosophy of “learning by doing” means that you can’t solve the world’s problems if you never leave campus. Ignite scholars take two trips to other parts of the United States where established problem-solvers give you insider access to the thought processes, business strategies, and ground-level outcomes that they see in their daily work.

This page provides a broad overview of the travel program. Travel is mostly paid for by the Gabelli School, so that these trips are possible for all Ignite Scholars. Program participants and their families make only a small contribution for each trip. 


For more information about the Ignite Scholars Program, contact Brian Dunn, assistant dean for honors opportunities and dual-degree programs, at [email protected].