Swenson Science Summer Research Fellowships
Cal Lutheran is very fortunate to be able to offer this program for the 11th year, thanks to the generosity of Jim and Sue Swenson. The goal of these fellowships is to have students engage in research that is full-time, faculty-mentored, novel, and presentable outside the university. The quality of the mentoring from the faculty member is vital as the goal of these fellowships is to advance the students in their professional and personal development. Projects that are more independent in nature may be better suited for independent study projects. Projects across a broad range of disciplines are desired, but all must meet the criteria of being research. We will award up to 15 fellowships for the summer.
- Nominated students may apply for approximately $4,000 that requires that the student participate in approximately 8 weeks of full-time (40 hours per week) mentored summer research with a Cal Lutheran faculty member.
- Funds for approved “consumables” can be provided (up to $500). Consumables include printing costs, travel to special libraries, office supplies, chemicals, etc. Consumables do not include dining costs, books or films, payment for subjects or non-essential travel costs. All expenditures must be approved prior to purchase by the OURCS.
- Faculty compensation is $500 per student.
- On-campus housing is available and students can move in as early as May 14th. The OURCS will provide some housing assistance, but students will have to pay the bulk of the approximately $180/week cost.
This program is open to students in the Natural Sciences who are proposing projects in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Exercise Science, Geology, Environmental Science, Mathematics and Computer Science. Students must be U.S. Citizens.
- Students must be nominated by a faculty member who can commit to act as the project mentor. It is expected that the faculty mentor will meet with the student on a regular basis. Faculty and/or students who are not going to be on campus for the majority of the summer should not submit an application.
- Research typically begins around May 21st and concludes in mid-late July, but may begin as early as May 14th and may continue through the summer. It must conclude prior to the start of fall classes.
- Students should not have another job during this time and can take, at most, one summer class. It is best if the student does not have any other obligations during this time as the intent of this program is to provide a means to allow a student to be fully immersed in the research process.
- Students must be returning to the university in the fall semester. Graduating seniors are not eligible.
- 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.
1) Talk with a faculty member. During your meeting, ask about their area of research and what they are currently
working on. Ask if it is possible to work on a fellowship project with them in the
2) If they agree to work with you, begin thinking about the project that you will propose.
3) Download the application template, and begin writing your research proposal and answering the application instructions. Start early so that you have plenty of time to work through drafts with your faculty mentor.
4) After your faculty mentor has reviewed your proposal, submit it online through the OURCS webpage. You will need to copy/paste the information from your word document template into the online application.
5) Ask another faculty member (not your research mentor) if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for the fellowship program. The application that you fill out on the OURCS webpage will send this person a request to upload the letter of rec through the application program. They do not need to send a paper copy to the OURCS office.
6) If you need help with your application or if you have questions about it, you can make an appointment to talk with someone in the OURCS or ALLIES (Director) offices. The contact information for both offices is below.
With your faculty mentor, draft an application with the following information (below). A template for the application is available on the main page. When ready, you can submit a completed application online. Try to avoid using figures or special characters. If you must, you can put all figures in a "figure file" attachment, and upload those separately.
The deadline for the student portion of the applications is 5:00 pm on March 1. If March 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the application deadline will move to the following Monday at 5:00 pm. The full, finished application (Incl. letter of Rec and Mentor Portion of the Application) is due March 9th. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only if funds remain after all other projects are evaluated. The application document must include (online form will ask for the same information as noted below):
Note: Use the application template that is available on the main page of the "summer funding" tab.
- The application form will request the following information from the student:
- Student (Full Name, Student ID, Major, Email, and Graduation Date)
- Faculty Research Mentor (Name and Email)
- Letter Writer (Name and Email)
- GPA. Student's grade point average (overall and in the discipline of study)
- Title of the proposed project.
- Applicant Demographics. This is to help match you with all possible fellowships that you are eligible for.
- Please enter your 1-2 page description of the research project that you intend to
conduct during the summer with your faculty mentor. It should contain the following
sections (which will be entered into the application separately). Students- work through
several drafts with your faculty mentor before you submit this portion!
- Research Question, Problem of Interest, or Goals
- Background Info or Brief Literature Review
- Hypotheses or Predictions
- Method, Steps, Tasks or Procedures
- Anticipated Results or End Products
- Importance of Project
- Student's previous research experience – What experiences (and or skills) do you have that have prepared you to be successful in this project? Please be specific.
- Timeline. Please write out a timeline of your project. Note what you hope to accomplish week by week. Be specific. The summer research session is 8 weeks.
- Budget Plan. Estimated consumable cost and explanation of these costs – there is funding for an average of about $500 per project. Specific details (items, costs, and justification) must be given. If you don't need money, note "none needed."
- Presentations. Where will the results be presented or published? The Council of Undergraduate Research has published extensively on the importance for the student's identity and professional development that the project leads to a product (e.g. paper, poster, performance) that is shared by the student with others beyond the university. Identify the venue at which you anticipate the results of this project could be presented, not including the mandatory on-campus presentations. Please use complete sentences.
- SRS Availability. Presenting at the Fall 2018 Student Research Symposium is mandatory for all 2018 Research Fellows. This year, it will be Saturday, October 20th, 2018 in the morning during Homecoming. Can you commit to attending this important event?
- Weekly Event Availability.During June and July, we meet as a group every Wednesday from 3:00-5:00 to develop professional skills and to provide peer support. Will you be able to attend these meetings?
2. Faculty Mentor Portion
- SRS Availability. Presenting at the Fall Student Research Symposium is mandatory for all Research Fellows and it is very important for the faculty mentor to attend to support their student. Can you commit to attending this important event?
- Weekly Event Availability. During June and July, we meet as a group every Wednesday afternoon to develop professional skills and to provide peer support. We have structured it to involve faculty mentors at almost every-other Wednesday. Will you be able to attend these meetings?
- Mentoring Plan (Faculty). The OURCS wants to ensure that a student is likely to be successful in this process. (a) Students differ in the degree and type of guidance they need and faculty differ in their mentoring style and expectations. Please address this issue, indicating the mentoring plan (daily meetings? weekly meetings with daily skype availability? etc.) and how this plan is likely to fit the student's needs so that the project will be successful. (b) Establishing a robust and supportive research community is also essential for student success – indicate how you plan to help the student engage with a scientific community (attend the workshops, attend conferences, weekly lab meetings as a group, etc).
- Previous Mentorship (Faculty). List previous Cal Lutheran summer research fellowship students that you have mentored or co-mentored. Next to each, indicate the outcomes of the project- specifically, whether or not it was presented off campus (a requirement of the fellowship), and if so, where, when, etc. If the results were written up and submitted to a journal, note those details as well.
- Other Funding. Fellowship resources are limited and it is important that as many qualified students as possible have the opportunity to engage in mentored research. Indicate whether there are other funding sources available to the mentor for research. If so, identify both external and internal sources such as grants and departmental funds for research students.
- An indication of Faculty Mentor Support. This portion of the application serves as your indication of support for the student, and willingness to work with the student over the summer and the following year (SRS, FOS, off-campus presentation). No additional email or letter from the faculty mentor is necessary. If you wish to add additional information, please do so below.
3. Letter of Recommendation- Students will need to ask another faculty member (who is not the faculty mentor for the project) to provide a brief letter of recommendation on their behalf. This letter will be sent online through the application portal.
All applications for the Swenson Fellowship will be reviewed by a committee composed of Natural Science Division Department Chairs and led by the Natural Science representative to the OURCS Executive Committee.
- The committee will review and rate applications based on the following four criteria:
- Sound professional merit/methodology. The application addresses both the specifics of the proposed project and the broad context of the proposed work. An hypothesis-driven research endeavor is expected in science.
- Doable and likely that the main goals will be accomplished by the student in an 8-week program.
- Will result in a product that will be presentable off campus at a peer-reviewed venue.
- The student's talents and background are appropriate for the proposed work, given the guidance likely to be given by the mentor.
- The Director of the OURCS and the Dean will be consulted as part of the decision-making process.
- Faculty with other funding sources (e.g. grants or department funds) will be given lower priority than those without funding sources.
- Previous project outcomes will be considered in the overall selection process with priority given to those previous projects that resulted in discipline-specific conference presentations or publications.
- No more than two student awards per faculty mentor will be given. Only full awards will be given to students – no sharing of projects will be allowed. Each student will be given a full-time award for their own distinct project.
- The quality of the writing will be taken into consideration – a well-written proposal will be given preference over a poorly written proposal.
- Priority will be given to quality projects with the desire of having a wide range of disciplines represented, if possible.
- To increase the impact of the program, students who have not previously received a Swenson Fellowship will be given priority over those who have been awarded a fellowship in the past.
- Additionally, projects that support the university mission will be given priority.
- Faculty and student interviews may take place, if necessary.
- Faculty and students will be notified of the status of their application within approximately 2 weeks via email.