Peabody Scholars is the college-wide honors program for Peabody. The program is designed to attract Peabody’s brightest and most intellectually engaged students across all Peabody departments to provide them with a community of like-minded scholars. The Program was established to offer particularly promising undergraduates at Peabody College opportunities for holistic flourishing through intellectual adventure, community service and research.
Emphasizing personal, professional and civic creativity, the program is designed to expose students to a variety of academic and social experiences in different domains. Scholars also engage in meaningful service-learning and independent research.
Students apply to Peabody Scholars in the fall of their freshman year and, if accepted, begin the program in the spring semester. If you have any additional questions about the program or application, please email:
Megan M. Saylor, PhD
Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Please note: this is not a scholarship (general financial assistance/grant) program.
Information for Prospective Scholars
First year students who achieve academic distinction during their first semester at Vanderbilt are invited to apply to the Peabody Scholars Program. The Peabody Scholars Honors Program was established to offer particularly promising undergraduates at Peabody College opportunities for holistic flourishing through intellectual adventure, community service and research.
To graduate with Honors through Peabody Scholars, scholars need to earn 24 points within the program. Scholars earn points from a series of required components as well as optional enrichment programming. All freshman Peabody Scholars participate in a three-credit honors seminar during the spring semester. In the sophomore year, Scholars work together on a meaningful immersive service project in the local community. Peabody Scholars are offered a summer stipend (between sophomore and junior years) to support engagement in an individual service-learning project (either domestic or abroad). In the junior year, Scholars engage in an independent research project with a Peabody professor. Senior Scholars participate in monthly scholarly and cultural events and have the opportunity to work on a capstone project related to their field of study. Peabody Scholars also offers professional development, networking, mentoring, and more. In sum, the Peabody Scholars Program offers an array of enrichment experiences and opportunities.
Peabody freshmen may apply for the Peabody Scholars Program in the fall of their first semester at Vanderbilt. Selections will be made prior to the beginning of the spring semester. To be accepted into the program, students must have a first-semester GPA of 3.6. To remain in good standing in the program, students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 each semester, and have a final combined GPA of at least 3.4 at graduation. Further information on the Peabody Scholars Program may be obtained from Professor Megan Saylor in the Department of Psychology and Human Development.
Peabody Scholars share their summer experiences.
I spent three months teaching English to refugee teenagers at a nonprofit school in Athens, Greece. I taught three classes a day: a phonics/literacy class, a Beginner/Elementary level course, and an Elementary/Intermediate course. As a preservice teacher, I have taught many students phonics; however, when your students cannot read or write in their home language, teaching them English is a very complex balance of sounds, words, and texts. During my time in Greece, I graduated two groups of students from the phonics level to a Beginner/Elementary level class. One class was taught in French and one in full English immersion. I honed my lesson planning and task design skills, finding ways to expose my students to multiple cultures and histories. I made my students lots of traditional “American” foods (brownies being the crowd favorite) and formed close ties with my students and fellow teachers. Teaching was incredible, but living on my own and being a solo female traveler instilled a profound sense of empowerment and confidence in me. I can now assert myself as a capable, independent traveler who can create culturally responsive and effective curricula and teach with deep cultural empathy.
I spent 6-weeks researching across 9 Portuguese cities while also backpacking entirely on my own. I was tasked with compiling interviews of professionals associated with the drug addicition policy and healthcare spheres, such as university professors, treatment center therapists, and persons with former drug addictions. My research primarily pointed to issues of urban development and systemic racism in explaining the differences between American and Portuguese policies. While I could have possibly completed this project in just one or two cities, I took it upon myself to design an expansive itinerary that allowed me to experience the breadth of Portugal's natural landscapes. The research was incredible, but living out of one backpack and traveling as a solo English-speaking female instilled me with a profound sense of empowerment and confidence. I can now advertise myself as someone who is capable of exhibiting excellent research, cultural empathy, and independent self-care.
I went to Vancouver, BC, to work for 8 weeks with a non-profit called the SA Foundation. SA is a long-term recovery program for women (particularly mothers) who are in recovery for addiction and trauma. I worked alongside employees to research best parenting practices for the population being served (young, low SES, single, aboriginal mothers in trauma and addiction recovery). My capstone project was using this research to create a 100-page comprehensive parenting curriculum directed to the women's specific needs covering topics ranging from parenting styles and discipline to resources and tips for raising a child with ADHD, ODD, ASD, or FAS to strategies to talk to your child about your addiction and recovery. This curriculum has been incorporated into programming at SA Vancouver with plans to expand to locations around the world. I also wrote a 20-page relapse prevention plan for their upcoming holiday, taught a weekly computer class, reorganized the classroom, sorted through donations, and edited current curriculums. I loved my time at SA and was constantly pushed to grow, reflect, and learn. My biggest takeaway was discovering my interest in addiction work--I gained insight into potential future career paths and combined my academic coursework with clinical experience.
What our alumni say about Peabody Scholars.
Olivia Arnold, Boston Consulting Group
Through my summer experience in Mumbai with Peabody Scholars, I developed an interest in using data to better serve those in need. In addition, the book clubs, conferences, and volunteer projects that I participated in throughout my time as a Peabody Scholar greatly affected my world view. Discussing transformative books and experiences with my peers and hearing new perspectives shaped the way that I now see the world and systems at play in education, housing, poverty, trauma, etc. Long term, I hope to use the business and analytics skills I gain at BCG to serve in the nonprofit sector addressing these systems.
Emma Hart, Doctoral Student in Developmental Psychology, Columbia University's Teachers College
Peabody Scholars provided me the resources to explore the world, quite literally. Through the program I got to explore international child development programming at the Bernard van Leer Foundation in the Netherlands. This experience helped me to clarify that I wanted to pursue a PhD and research, versus working on child development issues at a non-profit/ foundation. Through funding from the program, I also got to travel to Brown for a summit on homelessness and poverty, which played a big role in informing how I understand these issues in my research/in life. I have also gained insight and inspiration from many program-sponsored experiences. These included everything from attending a TED conference to attending plays and orchestral concerts and engaging in several book clubs with other students.
I am so grateful to the support and freedom this program provided me to explore my interests throughout my time at Vanderbilt.
Mary Tezak, Project Coordinator, Millions of Conversations
My current employment was a direct result of Peabody Scholars!
I used the stipend the summer after my sophomore year to intern with an organization called Millions of Conversations. We traveled the United States conducting focus groups with people who leaned right politically. We researched Islamophobia and the broader question of "belonging" in America. I have actually been working for Millions ever since, and I am currently their Project Coordinator. Right now we are in the beginning stages of an outward facing national campaign intended to address polarization and political violence in the United States. We work with Dr. Jonathan Metzl at Vanderbilt as well.
I loved my experience with Peabody Scholars.