Summer Research Scholars

The Summer Research Scholars (SRS) program supports students participating in collaborative research supervised by W&L faculty. 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 researchers for whom the projects must be meaningful as well as educationally valuable. 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 and is open to students of all disciplines. Students interested in summer research should discuss their interest with potential faculty mentors as early as possible, preferably in the fall semester.

In addition to the regular SRS program, in summer 2020 the University will fund up to 5 students for a 2-Year STEM Fellows Program. This program is only open to first- and second-year students with an expressed interest in STEM (you do NOT need to be a declared major). Benefits for 2-Year Fellows include:

  • a research preparation course (INTR 200 or approved equivalent) during their first Spring Term as a Fellow
  • two intensive summer research periods with a chosen faculty mentor
  • continuation of summer research during two academic years with their summer research mentor
  • supplemental research supply funding (up to $1,000 per faculty member) for the lab to help support the costs of the Fellow’s academic year research
  • opportunities for leadership development and peer mentoring.

Special instructions for students interested in summer research in STEM fields

All Students Seeking SRS Funding:

All students who are seeking funding through the Summer Research Scholars (SRS) program must first fill out the Summer Opportunities Funding Request (SOFR) form in addition to any other program-specific application (including the SRS program). If SRS is the ONLY program you are applying to for support of your project, you will only be requesting a stipend ($375 per week for up to ten weeks). The SRS program does NOT fund expenses. If your project involves travel to an off-site location, please discuss with your faculty mentor whether he/she has funding available to cover your expenses. If he/she does not and you wish to apply for additional funding to cover expenses (such as a Johnson Opportunity Grant), you will need to include those expenses on the SOFR form in addition to the stipend. Students may apply to more than one summer funding program, but under no circumstances will total funding awards for a single project exceed the budget specified on the SOFR form. After completing the summer opportunities funding request form, you will also need to fill out any program-specific funding applications, including SRS. The SRS application is submitted by your proposed faculty mentor, and the process is described below. If you have questions about the Summer Opportunities Funding Request form, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Faculty SRS Application Process:

All Summer Research Scholar applications are submitted by the faculty member with whom you wish to work. Faculty members can nominate up to two students for their summer research projects. These applications are due no later than January 31, 2020 which is the same date that applications are due for Lenfest summer research grants.

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. 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. Decisions will be made according to the following criteria:

  1. educational value to the student researcher
  2. significance of the work proposed
  3. clarity and organization of proposal
  4. feasibility of the project
  5. seriousness of motivation of the participants
  6. 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 that includes a clear explanation of each student's role. No faculty member may request funds for more than two student researchers through the regular SRS program. Student researchers funded through other sources outside of SRS do not count toward this two-student researcher limit.

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 in which a student simply does background research for a W&L course will not be considered. The following considerations should be addressed in these proposals:

  1. Projects should engage students as full collaborators in the scholarly enterprise.
  2. Proposals should specify the significance of the student's contributions to the faculty mentor's research program.
  3. The student should be able to demonstrate an understanding of her/his role in the proposed project.
  4. Proposals should include a clear and convincing statement of the benefits to the student(s) involved in the proposed work.
  5. 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.

Guidelines for All SRS Projects:

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 2020, the combined stipend/living expenses will be $375 per week for up to ten weeks (less applicable taxes). The maximum grant per student is therefore $3,750.

International Students:

When projects include international students, the faculty mentor must contact Hunter Swanson in International Education to check whether that student is eligible to be paid.

Housing: All housing arrangements and fees are the student's responsibility. On campus, summer Housing is available from June 1 - July 31. Students who desire this housing should contact the Residential Life Office (housing@wlu.edu or x8405) as soon as their projects have been approved to assess availability and cost.

Reporting:

Research Report: Student researchers must submit a brief final research report (no more than one page), due the first Monday in September. If there is more than one student working on the same research team, the team will submit one report. The student researchers, not the supervising faculty member, shall write the report. The report will 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 be submitted to SummerResearchScholars@wlu.edu with a copy to the faculty mentor.

Poster Session: All 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.

Science, Society, and the Arts (SSA): 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.

Eligibility:

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, tour guides etc.) during the SRS support period.

Recognition:

All students receiving SRS grants will be known as Summer Research Scholars. Funding for the SRS program comes from a variety of endowed funds. 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. 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.