Advanced undergraduates are invited to apply for a fellowship to be an American University Summer Scholar or Artist for summer 2014. Fellows will be awarded $4,000 to conduct full-time research that leads to significant scholarly or creative work.
Fellows will work closely with faculty mentors in ways that enhance faculty research or creativity. Faculty mentors will receive a $1,000 stipend to guide students through their research apprenticeship. Projects may be jointly conducted or authored with professors or with other students, but the project must show evidence of significant original work by the fellow.
Fellows are required to work full-time on their research for a designated period of eight weeks in the summer. The $4,000 award is expected to cover living expenses during this time. Fellows may take summer courses that directly aid their research; otherwise, any courses taken must fall outside the eight weeks identified as their research period.
Fellows may be asked to attend information sessions or workshops after receiving the award and will be expected to publicly present their completed work elsewhere. For instance, they might incorporate their work into a senior or honors capstone; they might present their work at a conference at AU or elsewhere; or they might publish, display, or perform their work on or off campus.
Faculty mentors must be active throughout the application, research, and presentation phases, helping students explore their interests, focus their topic, and find appropriate research materials and contacts. They will assist students first to identify the knowledge and skills required to complete the project and then to plan ways of acquiring that knowledge and those skills. They will aid students in defining research phases and setting research deadlines. During the summer, they will remain in frequent contact with students and provide timely feedback. Finally, they will help students find appropriate venues for sharing the results of their research.
Fellows may or may not be directly involved in the faculty mentor’s own research. If they are directly involved, mentors should think of these students not as research assistants but as apprentices. That is, fellows should have their own research problem or question to investigate so that they can participate in all phases of research design, development, analysis, and conclusions.
Applicants must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5, must have earned at least 60 credits, and must be registered for classes for fall 2014. Applications should be submitted to the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies before March 7, 2014. Finalists will be announced by March 17, 2014. Fellows should be aware that their award is taxable.
The committee will be composed of the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies and faculty representatives drawn from each of the major academic units. The representatives will be appointed by the respective Dean or EPC.
The committee will make at least eight awards and will evaluate first on the merits while seeking participation from all five major academic units and taking careful note of proposals that may be compromised by overambition, scheduling conflicts, and other funding.
They will meet in early March to decide on winners.
Awards will be announced by March 17. The Office for Undergraduate Studies will contact fellows and arrange the disbursal of checks.
The committee will attend the award reception in the spring and will forward recommendations for future awards to the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies.
Budget and Disbursal
The budget is $40,000. The selection committee can make eight awards of $5,000.
All funds need to be disbursed by April 30.
Acknowledgement and Publicity
Award winners and their mentors will be acknowledged in the spring at some event where they will meet the selection committee.
The Office for Undergraduate Studies will notify various university and other publications about the winners, both in the spring after the awards and in the fall after the symposium.
In cases in which events prevent students or mentors from starting or completing the project, they should reimburse in part or all the university’s check.
In cases in which reimbursement is not prompt, the Vice Provost’s office will place a stop on the student’s account.
At the end of the registration period in April, the Office for Undergraduate Studies will check to ensure that fellows are indeed registered for fall 2014 classes. Fellows must be undergraduates. Their fall 2014 classes can be at AU or at AU Abroad.
Fellows are encouraged to participate in workshops on research sponsored by the University Honors program, CTRL, the Academic Support Center, or the University Library.
The award can be revoked or reduced if it becomes clear that other employment or classes have interfered with progress on research.
For their participation, faculty mentors will receive $1,000 in research funds. Checks must be paid before April 30. Both the awards to the mentor and to the student can be revoked or reduced when mentors cannot fulfill or complete their responsibilities.
The intention of this program is to give especially driven students an opportunity to really explore something in depth and at length. They need eight weeks of research in order to produce something great later. In other words, the eight weeks is only a slice of a process that might take six months or a year from conception to final product. Thus, their summer research cannot merely be for a concurrent independent study. Their research, however, might find its final form in an independent study in the following year as the student’s thinking matures. The selection committee will need to keep such issues in mind as they decide which projects to fund.