Honors College offers undergraduate opportunities

Debby Hernandez, Administration Editor

The Honors College is having applications for the Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Creative Activities grant along with the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research conference, open to all students conducting undergraduate research.

The 25-year-old grant offers funding to students interested in receiving funding for undergraduate research, scholarship money, and funding for creative activities.

Dean of the Honors College Richard England said the grant will help students with a variety of things necessary for their research.

“Students buy materials they need, students can fund travel related to the investigation, and some travel to conferences around the country to be able to get their research out there,” England said.

Students must provide a proposal describing how they will use the grant.

Requirements for applicants include a letter of faculty support, a minimum 3.0 GPA, as well as be enrolled as a full-time students for the current semester and the semester in which the research or creative activity will be conducted.

Applications are due after Fall Break, which ends Oct. 19.

Undergraduate research acceptable for this grant can pertain to a variety of interests.

“There are subjects ranging from technical and scientific to literary and historical studies,” England said. “It is really about using the skills you have developed independently in a way that shows off those skills that are appropriate for your discipline”

England said this is an opportunity for students to achieve their goal.

“It helps them get the research done and that it can allow them to present that research in the venue that they otherwise would not be able to afford to go to,” England said.

In addition, he said it serves as a benefit for the university as a whole.

“One of the things we really do well here is support students doing independent inquiry of all different kinds and all different disciplines,” England said.

Funds for the URSCA grant vary depending on the semester and the number of applicants.

”Grant money is assigned from appropriated funds; it is part of the honors college budget,” England said. “We get the largest number of applicants in the spring.”

He said an average of $500 are given to awardees during the fall and spring semesters, while up to $3,000 are awarded to individual award winners during the summer.

He said 50 to 60 percent of applicants are awarded during the fall and spring semester, while 20 to 30 percent are awarded in the summer.

Six students were awarded the grant this fall as well as during the summer session.

England said students interested in the grant are encouraged to speak with faculty for input.

Students who apply to the grant are also eligible for the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research.

However, the conference is open to any undergraduate interested in presenting their research.

England said the conference is multidisciplinary and represents from 150 to 200 different universities.

“We are a leading institution in attending the national conference for undergraduate research,” England said.

He added students receive various benefits from attending the conference.

“It gives them exposure to what other folks are doing, lets them interact with faculty and students from other universities, helps them share what they have done in a wider audience, and helps them compare what they’re doing and see what other students are capable off,” England said.

He said Eastern takes students to the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research conference with travel and lodging paid for.

“Last year, we had 50 students interested in going and able to take about 40 of them” England said.

England said last year the conference took place in Kentucky and location various each year.

This year, the NCUR conference will be from April 16 until 18 in Washington State.

Students interested in the URSCA grant and the NCUR conference must apply online through the Honors College website.

Debby Hernandez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].