Lumos Traveler in a blue jacket posing with the Himalayan Mountains in the background

Apply to Lumos

Lumos Travel Award

Application Process

Preparing the Lumos application involves completing the application, assembling a set of supporting materials, preparing several essays and a detailed budget. Please plan sufficiently in advance to allow reference letters to be completed by your recommenders. 

Application Due Dates:
  • November 15
  • March 15

Application Timeline

At least four to six months before the start date of the proposed project:

  • Conduct research to design a viable proposal, which will include identifying a location, a sponsoring organization, a work project and beginning to detail a budget
  • Schedule a meeting with the Lumos Travel Advisor and Program Manager to refine, revise and strengthen your proposal
  • Compile materials required for the Lumos Application, including essays and letters of recommendation
  • The Lumos Award has a fall and spring application cycle. Fall Application Deadline: November 15.  Spring Application Deadline: March 15
  • Spring applicants: Please allow at least 6-8 weeks between the end of the decision cycle in April and the start of your project. 

Application Process

Complete the online application below. Be prepared to complete the following in the online application process:

Name of Sponsoring Organization

Proposed Project Location

Proposed Dates of Travel

Budget Amount Requested

Description of the Project: Before writing this section, please review the project eligibility requirements. 

  • What are your principal goals/objectives for this project?
  • What are your top three reasons for selecting this project? 

Background Experience: What prior experiences have prepared you for this project? (Service work, courses taken, work/volunteer positions, travel, etc.)

Sponsoring Organization: Provide a brief description of the organization or agency through which you will be doing your project. 

  • How did you learn about this organization?
  • What research have you done to investigate the organization? 
  • Why have you chosen to travel with this organization? Please provide any relevant websites.
  • What is the emergency provision made by your sponsoring organization if a crisis or emergency occurs?
  • How do you intend to manage your health while abroad? Even if you do not have any health issues or concerns, how will you maintain healthy practices?

Project Benefits: Briefly describe what you anticipate to be the benefits of your project to the community/country visited. 

  • Once you return, how might this experience benefit your “home” community?
  • What do you hope to gain from this experience? 
  • How will this impact your future goals?

Project Budget: Provide a detailed breakdown of the expenses you expect to incur during your project. Budgets cannot be amended after submission. It is vital that applicants research specific expenses to complete their proposed project. Budget considerations are as follows:

  • Round trip travel to the project site(s)
  • Living expenses
  • Personal costs for things such as health insurance, inoculations and medications
  • Visa fees
  • Fees for internet access
  • Educational expenses if essential to the project.
  • Agency or sponsoring organization fee: please specify exactly what the fee covers.
  • Please provide an explanation of how you propose to fund your project should you not receive funding, in whole or in part, from Lumos.


Personal Essay: Please respond to all of the prompts below (Not to exceed 750 words):

  • In your personal essay, please describe any personal connection or experiences (achievements, educational or volunteer) that provide insight into who you are and why you wish to undertake this project. Secondly, identify three of your strengths and explain how they will help you during your proposed project. Finally, describe your vocational plans and explain how this project will contribute to the achievement of your long-term goals and aspirations. 

Cultural Essay (Choose one)

  • What are some challenges you expect to face in the culture/s where you will be living? How do you plan to respond to these challenges? Where/from whom might you seek help in navigating these challenges?
  • What are some of the political and social issues currently facing the country you will be visiting? How do you anticipate that your experience will be impacted by these issues? How has your project been designed to take these issues into consideration?
  • How familiar are you with the cultural context of the country you plan to visit, and how have you learned about this place? What will you do to learn more about your host country and local culture/s before leaving the U.S.? How do you plan learning about the local culture/s while in-country?
  • What are some aspects of a local culture that you are most interested in learning about? Which aspects of that culture do you anticipate will be most different from your home culture? Which aspects of that culture do you expect will feel most familiar? What are the biggest unknowns for you, as you think about life in that cultural context, and how will you prepare for that experience?
  • What do you think are some of the most important characteristics for a person who wants to engage another culture? How do you exhibit these characteristics? How will you seek to cultivate them while abroad?
  • Please describe a challenge that you have faced in the past, and explain how you responded to and overcame and/or were changed by navigating this obstacle. How can this experience help you as you undertake this planned project?

Accompanying Documents

Submit the following documents to Shauna Walsh:

  • Official or unofficial copy of academic transcript from Belmont University
  • Current resume
  • Two personal letters of recommendation that address applicant’s character, motivation, potential, and involvement in the community, as well as ability to complete the project proposed.
  • You may submit these documents to Shauna Walsh by:
    • email:
    • delivering to her office: 1312 Gabhart
    • mailing to her: Shauna Walsh @ Belmont University, 1900 Belmont Boulevard, Nashville, TN  37212. 


Upon submission, each Lumos Application Portfolio will be reviewed for overall worthiness of the project and presentation of the application. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a short interview.

All interviewed applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decision. Successful applicants will be sent appropriate paperwork related to acceptance of the award and will be contacted by a Lumos representative to finalize the conditions of the award.


Before submitting their application portfolio, applicants should carefully consider the conditions they will be required to meet should they be granted an award:

Lumos Travelers are required to:

  • submit reports
  • maintain a project-related blog on the Lumos website during the course of their project and post at minimum two times a month to include photos and details of the experience
  • conduct a public presentation on campus at the end of their project
  • submit a final report on your project (In accepting a Lumos Award, recipients agree to allow Lumos to publish their reports on their website and publications, in whole or part, and will be required to sign a release to this effect.)
  • provide an assessment of your sponsoring organization.

Contact, Insurance, and Waiver Requirements:  Recipients are required to submit a digital photograph, provide and maintain contact information, obtain appropriate health insurance and inoculations, sign authorizations, and become part of the Lumos Alumni network.

Award Disbursement:  Award recipients will receive 80 percent of the amount awarded before travel commences. Payments will be made to the sponsoring organization or directly to the recipient upon production of receipts for travel, fees or expenses. The remaining 20 percent of the award amount will be paid upon satisfactory completion of the requirements. Failure to fulfill any of the requirements above may result in Lumos not paying the remaining amount awarded.

It is recommended that award recipients either keep receipts for additional costs or a log of expenses as documentation for the final payment.

Award Reduction or Revocation:  any significant changes to the length or nature of the project as approved by Lumos may result in a reduction or revocation of the award amount. Lumos Travelers contemplating such changes must notify and receive approval from the Lumos Coordinator.

Lumos, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to withdraw an award, in whole or part, from any award recipient it deems to present a safety risk to him/herself or others. Furthermore, Lumos must be reimbursed for the FULL amount awarded upon the occurrence of any of the following:

  • Failure to use the award as outlined in the award letter
  • Dismissal from or abandonment of the approved travel/project
  • Dismissal from or probation at student’s home academic institution for academic or disciplinary reasons
  • Violation of the laws of the host country or the United States during the course of the project or in the period leading up to the start of the project
  • Substance abuse
  • Arrest or deportation

Lumos Application

Contact Us

Lumos Travel Award

Location: 227 Massey Center

Shauna Walsh
Lumos Travel Advisor and Program Manager