Office of Undergraduate Research

and Creative Scholarship

Overton Summer Research Program in Economics

This program was created to honor Naomi W. Fredrickson Overton.  Learn more about this remarkable woman and her loving family.

The goal of these scholarships is to encourage advanced undergraduate students to pursue a graduate degree in economics.  To this end, students will engage in full-time, faculty-mentored, economic research.  This is an exciting time in Economics.  There are many research issues that bear on important policy questions including: the risks of government stimulus programs, monetary policy and risk-taking, housing and home-ownership policy, financial regulation, sovereign debt issues, the detriments of excessive public debt, and economic development policy.  Prospective students will be expected to submit proposals for original research.  M.S. Economics faculty members will help students refine the research proposals so that the research can be reasonably completed in the time available.  Students will collect and analyze economic data, write a paper describing their research and results, and give a formal presentation of their research to the Cal Lutheran community.


    • A maximum of three Overton Summer Research Fellowships will be awarded each year.
    • Each student will receive $11.50 per hour and will work 320 hours for a total of $3,600. 


    • Each Overton Summer Research Scholarship recipient will be expected to spend nine weeks at California Lutheran University.
    • The program will begin May 21st and conclude July 20th.


    • Students can stay on-campus for approximately $180/week.  The OURCS will try to contribute.
    • On-campus housing is shared housing with kitchen privileges.
    • Meal plan is not required.


    • All undergraduate juniors and seniors from an accredited university with an interest in pursuing an advanced degree in economics are eligible.
    • An undergraduate degree in Economics is not required.
    • A desire to pursue an advanced degree in economics is required.
    • It is best if the student does not have any other obligations during this time. Students should not plan on having another job during this period and can take, at most, one summer class.


    • Students will work closely with faculty to define the scope and nature of their research projects.
    • Emphasis will be placed on research projects related to current policy issues.
    • The choice of project will carefully consider time, data constraints and student preparation.


  • It is expected that the student have full ownership of the project and that they are not acting as a research assistant for the faculty member. This must be clear in the submitted application and in the final product.
  • It is important that students become part of the scholarly community on campus during the summer. Students are expected to participate in OURCS-sponsored events which will include social events as well as research-related events. These will occur roughly every other week between May 21st and July 20th. Mentors are strongly encouraged to accompany their students to these events.
  • Prior to beginning the project, the faculty mentor and student will develop a plan which will be shared in writing with the Director of the OURCS.  Students will be asked to meet with the Director to discuss how the project is progressing and for the Director to learn more about each project.  Faculty will also be consulted about the project's progress. Failure to progress appropriately may jeopardize project funding.
  • If projects involve Human Subjects, the IRB Application should be submitted in March. Assistance in the IRB process can be provided from the OURCS. Failure to have an approved IRB application may jeopardize the funding of the project.
  • Each Fellow must present their results of their summer research work at the CLU Student Research Symposium which is held in the fall.  Additionally, students are expected to present at the Festival of Scholars in the spring.
  • Students should plan on presenting at the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) which is always held in the Los Angeles area in the fall OR at a discipline-specific professional conference. Students may apply for an Undergraduate Professional Presentation Travel (UPPT) Grant through the OURCS for the costs associated with these off-campus presentations.
  • If possible, faculty and students should work toward publishing their results in a journal within their discipline.
  • Only full awards will be given – students  cannot share a fellowship and cannot share a project.  Each student must have a full-time project that is her/his own distinct project.

How to Apply

Eligible students must submit the following information in a MS Word document to Kirk Lesh ( by 5:00 pm on March 1.  Students will be notified via email.  The application document must include:

  • Student Name
  • Current academic institution
  • Grade point average
  • Previous research experience
  • Research proposal
  • A 1 - 2 page document describing the student’s interest in pursuing an advanced degree in economics.
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members.