Applications are being accepted through Feb. 18 for the 2019 session of the 2019 Baldwin Wallace Summer Scholars Program, a chance for up to ten BW students to spend ten weeks working with a faculty mentor on a research and/or creative endeavor in their field.
“The Summer Scholars Program is an opportunity for students… to spend a summer on campus working on a scholarly project under the close mentorship of a faculty member and as part of a cohort of students,” said Provost Stephen Stahl.
The program can fund up to ten students each summer. Participating students each receive a $3,500 stipend, up to $500 in supplies, and free housing for the duration of the program. Each participating student works closely with a faculty mentor on a project within their field of study.
The program offers weekly opportunities to share student and project progress with peers, allowing the scholars to form a sense of community and a degree of investment in each other’s work, said Stahl. BW faculty and staff from across campus come share their knowledge of research and presentation with students. Students also have multiple opportunities to present to their peers and to others, as well as an event within Ovation to share their results.
To be eligible to participate in the program, students must be undergraduates in good academic standing, have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00, have completed 45 or more credit hours of coursework by the time they apply, and still study for at least one more semester at BW in the term after their Summer Scholars Program session. Most students who participate do so between their junior and senior year, said Stahl, but sometimes students are able to participate earlier in their college career.
In order to apply, students must fill out a six-part online application that covers the areas of their project’s goals and objectives, the methods that will be used in the project and the materials, and facilities required for the project to succeed, how progress will be measured and results will be shared, what the role of the student’s faculty mentor will be in the project. Including a budget for up to $500 and notes on any additional expenses to be covered outside of the program and other information and details regarding the logistics of and preparation for the project.
The selection committee that evaluates the applications is made up of one member from each school within BW, said Stahl, and the committee looks at the whole picture of each application as well as the strength of its components.
“Ultimately,” said Stahl, “they’re looking for a student to show in this report that they have a good handle on what the project is, that they’re excited about the project, they understand what the timeline is and how far they’re going to get, and there’s a level of maturity about the research that indicates that they are going to benefit from this.”
The Summer Scholars Program was proposed in 2003 by BW professor Andy Mickley, said Academic Affairs Project Coordinator Lynn Hulthen, with the first session running in 2004. The program was initially grant-funded, but is now funded by the Joyce Evans Schanz ’53 Summer Scholars Endowment Fund, Hulthen said, which has allowed the program to accept more students. It has grown from an initial three to five students to about ten per program.
“Applications have increased,” said Hulthen, “and it has become a very selective program, pretty competitive. We usually receive over 20 applications for ten spots.”
Students who apply for and are accepted into the program span disciplines, said Hulthen, coming across the sciences, humanities, and Conservatory.
Stahl said he program allows students to develop a greater maturity and sophistication in their discipline to work with their mentors and peers as a community of colleagues invested in each other’s success, and to have “the ability to focus on what their passion is at a high level.”
For students interested in applying, information and applications are online on the my.bw website under the Academic Life menu, within the Undergraduate Research and Creative Studies page accessed through Academic Affairs.