The Student Summer Scholars Program (S3) provides funds for a student and faculty mentor to devote about fourteen weeks to a research and/or creative project during the spring/summer semester. Generally, S3 Grants provide a student stipend, faculty stipend, and a small budget for supplies. Grants do not exceed $6,000.
Through these grants and the mentorship of a faculty member, S3 program offers a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to do hands-on, professional research and creative practice in their chosen field. Combining academics, field work, and a reflection component provides students with a meaningful learning experience that helps to prepare them for graduate school and future careers.
With guidance from faculty mentors, students identify a research question or an area of creative practice and shape the structure of their project. The value of mentorship is an important part of S3. Experienced faculty mentors act as support and sounding board for their students. University-funded stipends cover materials and travel expenses, allowing participants to fully immerse themselves in the new learning environment.
Through S3, students begin to direct their own educational paths and familiarize themselves with the requirements and structure of professional research. Participants quickly learn that a successful project requires more than scholarship. Thorough planning, attention to budget, and creativity allow student researchers both to innovate while working in a self-structured environment and to cope with unexpected complications. By building on a foundation of academic and critical thinking skills provided by undergraduate courses, self-motivated students can use S3 to further their knowledge in a specific area while learning to incorporate academics with professional work.
The projects critical assessment component requires each participant to reflect on and evaluate his or her own project and the S3 experience as a whole. This comprehensive analysis of a self-directed project provides students with an opportunity to examine their own learning styles and academic strengths in order to shape further learning and working habits. S3 provides students with a new lens through which to view their long-term educational, work, and life plans.