The Haas Scholars Program

University of California, Berkeley

The Haas Scholars Program was founded in 1997 through the generous vision of Robert and Colleen Haas. Each year, twenty highly qualified, academically talented undergraduates with financial need come together to build a supportive intellectual community during their final year at UC-Berkeley.

Haas Scholars come from all walks of life and every major on campus, but they are united by their desire to strive for excellence–both in their individual academic pursuits, and as an interdisciplinary cohort. (International students and undocumented students are welcome and encouraged to apply.) Applicants are evaluated primarily on the merit and originality of their proposal for an independent research or creative project that will serve as the basis for a senior or honors thesis. Once selected, Haas Scholars receive close mentoring from members of the UC-Berkeley faculty, seminars and workshops to assist them in the research and writing process, the opportunity to present their work at a professional conference, and up to $13,800 each in financial support. 

Haas Scholar alumni have gone on to become leaders in their respective fields, including academia, medicine, law, industry, the arts, and public service. You are invited to explore this website for an introduction to the community of Haas Scholars, and if qualified, we encourage you to apply to join us!

About Robert and Colleen Haas

Group with Bob HaasThe Haas Scholars Fellowship Program was created in 1998 through the generous vision and support of Robert and Colleen Haas. A Cal alumnus, Robert (Bob) Haas majored in English and was valedictorian of the class of 1964. Following graduation, he taught English in Western Africa (Ivory Coast) as a member of the newly formed Peace Corps. Bob earned his MBA from Harvard in 1968, and served as a White House Fellow in the Johnson Administration, before returning home to San Francisco to work as a management consultant. In 1973, he joined the family business, Levi Strauss & Co., which was then the world’s largest apparel company. The following year, he married Colleen Gershon, a graduate of Stanford School of Law and a criminal defense attorney with the civil rights firm of Garry, Dreyfus, McTernan, & Brotsky. The CEO of Levi Strauss from 1984 until 1999, its Chairman from 1989 through 2008, and Chairman Emeritus since 2008, Bob Haas has been widely recognized for his progressive philanthropic and business leadership.   Bob was named “Cal Alumni of the Year” in 2009, and in 2020, he and Colleen announced that they would endow the program for perpetuity with a gift of $14 million.  He and Colleen live outside of San Francisco with their daughter Elise.

Sean Poi Lee - Antibody Catalyzed Protein Folding

Sean’s project addresses two major questions in biochemistry: what is the nature of antibody catalysis, and what is the nature of transiently formed refolding intermediates. He is investigating whether antibodies that have been shown to catalyze conventional chemical reactions can be made specifically to catalyze a protein folding reaction. His project is based on the hypothesis that antibodies can recognize, …Read more  »

By far Haas Scholars is the best thing I have on my resume

2012-2013 Haas Scholar

The program made my last year at Berkeley one of my richest to date!

2010-2011 Haas Scholar

As a Haas Scholar, I learned how to explain scientific concepts to people without a science background

2009-2010 Haas Scholar

One life changing aspect of the program was having a cohort of inspiring peers which led to many strong friendships.

2010-2011 Haas Scholar

It has really shaped my career plans and enabled me to gain the skills I will need, not to mention the self-esteem, to go further in all I do.

2012-2013 Haas Scholar


working remotely:  please contact via
email to make zoom appointment
Leah Carroll
Program Manager/ Advisor