Summer Research Scholars STEM-field application period is November 1-December 1, 2015. All other SRS applications are due Friday, January 29, 2016.
W&L students and faculty have opportunities for joint research work during the summer months. The Summer Research Scholars (SRS) program has evolved over the decades into a robust series of opportunities and projects. The program aims to encourage the development of research techniques within a particular discipline, to promote the active acquisition of knowledge, and to stimulate student interest in inquiry. It is also intended to aid undergraduate faculty in their research activities by providing student help, but the projects must be meaningful in their own right as well as educationally valuable for the student. The application process is competitive, and funds may not be adequate to grant all proposals. The supported work is carried out during the summer months.
Students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) area research submit their applications online between November 1 and December 1. Their applications are evaluated by the STEM selection faculty and, if approved, are assigned to the appropriate funding source and project.
All other Summer Research Scholar applications (including those for STEM faculty that do not go through the earlier STEM selection process) are submitted by the faculty member, who nominates up to two students for the summer research project. Nominees must have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0. Sponsoring faculty members can complete the regular Summer Research Scholars application online. These applications are due no later than January 29th. Applications are submitted to the Associate Provost; decisions are made by the President's Advisory Committee. Careful attention to the guidelines is crucial in writing the proposal. Decisions will be made according to the following criteria:
- educational value to the student researcher
- significance of the work proposed
- clarity and organization of proposal
- feasibility of the project
- seriousness of motivation of the participants
- academic qualifications of participants.
Proposals must include a statement from each proposed student participant, describing her or his planned work on the proposed project; as well as a description of the work from the faculty member, which includes a clear description of each student's role. No faculty member may request funds for more than two student researchers through the SRS program. (Faculty who have secured other funding for their summer research may have more than two student researchers, but only two may be supported by the SRS program.)
Projects involving development of pedagogical materials will be considered, but should lead to a final "product" (e.g., part of a laboratory manual, a paper in a pedagogical journal, a presentation at a professional meeting, a section of a textbook, a comprehensive web site, etc.). Projects where a student simply does background research for a W&L course will not be considered. The following considerations should be addressed in these proposals:
a) Projects should engage students as full collaborators in the scholarly enterprise.
b) Proposals should specify the significance of the student's contributions to the faculty mentor's research program.
c) The student should be able to demonstrate understanding of her/his role in the proposed project.
d) Proposals should include a clear and convincing statement of the benefits to the student(s) involved in the proposed work.
e) Additional consideration will be offered to those faculty mentors who have sought funding for related research through the Lenfest Summer Grant program or from outside funding agencies.
Duration of Projects: Summer projects may include up to ten weeks of work. The project may not begin before the end of spring term, nor be continued beyond the first day of fall term classes. Funding for additional supplies needed for the project may be requested from the Department Head or in the Lenfest Summer Grant proposal.
Funding: The Advisory Committee determines annually the amount to provide Summer Research Scholars. For the summer of 2016, the combined stipend/living expenses will be $310/week (less applicable taxes). The maximum grant per student is therefore $3,100 for a ten-week period.
Housing: All housing arrangements and fees are the student's responsibility. Housing may be available in the International House from a week after graduation through mid-August. Students who desire this housing should contact the Office of Special Programs (x8723) as soon as their projects have been approved to assess availability and cost.
Proposal Form: Proposals should be concise, clear, and as far as possible comprehensible to non-specialists. They should explain the proposed research, its background, significance, and benefit to the students involved. Proposals must list by name all students involved in the project. (When projects include international students, the faculty mentor must contact Amy Richwine in International Education and check whether that student is eligible to be paid.)
Reporting: Final reports are due the first Monday of September. In most cases the student, not the supervising faculty member, should write the report. The report should provide an accurate and complete account of all work done on the project, including figures and diagrams if appropriate, and information on publication or presentation plans. The report should also include a concise abstract of no more than 150 words, understandable to non-specialists. The report should be submitted to the Associate Provost as a PDF via email.
Summer Research Scholars are required to present at the Fall Showcase of Student Summer Research, which typically occurs on the Friday of Parents and Family Weekend. Summer Research Scholars are strongly encouraged to participate in the "Science, Society, and the Arts" undergraduate research symposium that takes place at W&L biennially. Please see http://ssa.wlu.edu.
Eligibility: A student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 in order to be considered for SRS funding. Graduating seniors are not eligible unless funding is available after consideration of all continuing students; no student may receive more than one SRS award during the same summer. Students who receive SRS funding may not be full-time employees of the university (summer program counselors, university store clerks, etc.) during the SRS support period.
Recognition: All students receiving SRS grants will be known as Summer Research Scholars. Several outstanding students will receive special designation as Christian A. Johnson Scholars, E.A. Morris Scholars, a Megan E. Rigdon Scholar, or a J. Peek Garlington Scholar.
The Robert E. Lee Research Fund was established in 1960 through a gift from the late Dr. Gustavus Benz Capito, an 1899 graduate of Washington and Lee. Additional support has come from various sources, including the Christian A. Johnson Foundation and the E.A. Morris Foundation. Most recipients are known as Summer Research Scholars; several outstanding students in the sciences will be designated Christian A. Johnson Scholars.