The Undergraduate Research Center recently closed applications for the Fall 2022 grant cycle with roughly 70 group applications.
The URC awards selected applicants grants of $750 to $1,000 depending on the sufficiency of the proposal. The application requires a three-page proposal summarizing what the students hope to do their research on. This includes a budget, their methods for what they are hoping to do and what they think it will contribute to their field.
According to Kaylee Engle, a graduate assistant at the URC, this projection of the foreseen impact of the project is important for getting a submission approved.
“People who fund this research want to know ‘Why is it important?’ ‘Why should our funds go towards this? What’s going to [come] out of it?’” Engle said.
Engle also said the research may not only impact their field, but other fields as well, so the more exhaustive proposals that include a broad scope of their impact are more likely to be considered.
“They also just want to make sure that the student has really put the time in to it and has done the background review and has thought about what they are going to do for their methods and the timeline so that when they come to the URS they are ready to present their findings,” Engle said.
The URC provides students with an outlet and resources to create research projects. These projects vary depending on the researchers’ majors and can range in appearance from lab research to art displays.
“We get a lot of science, engineering and technology applicants and presenters, but we’ve been really pushing other majors as well in other colleges. We’ve funded people from art and design [and] social sciences, so we’re open to all. We’re trying to push that,” Engle said.
Engle is a graduate assistant for the URC who did an undergraduate research project in her third year of undergrad. Her project was about the effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on college students’ experiences, such as the impact on their social and academic wellbeing.
Now, as a graduate assistant, she has been helping to answer students’ questions leading up to the application deadline for this grant cycle. She and her colleagues also work to organize the undergraduate research symposium, which occurs in the spring, as well as preparing students for the national conference.
“Our different tasks that we have throughout the year kind of depend on what we have going on with the grant cycle,” Engle said. “We’ve been busy answering student questions about those, giving feedback on grants prior to them being submitted, kind of just getting everything organized for that.”
She recommends that groups begin working on their proposal about three to four weeks before presenting. This will ensure groups have enough time to consult with mentors and create thorough proposals, which will increase their chances of acquiring a grant.
“It kind of depends on the proposal and what kind of planning you need to have,” Engle said.
URC research projects give students a more hands-on experience with their studies as they are largely in control of the focus and actions, as opposed to a guided classroom. The experience also offers networking opportunities with their research sponsors and at the national conference.
Header Photo: The Undergraduate Research Center selects applicant grants after students write a proposal that summarizes what research students plan to participate in and how they will use the funding. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
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