URECA Scholar

Program Description |   Guidelines   |   Proposal   |   Application   |   Review Criteria   |   Reporting Requirements


Program Description

URECA Scholar awards will be available to students who intend to collaborate with one or more faculty members, and will take the lead role in their project (from design to implementation to report writing/presentation). The Scholar award is for students who have successfully completed an URECA Assistantship or other similar research or creative experience as documented by a letter from their faculty mentor. The amount of the stipend should be determined in consultation with the faculty mentor(s) based on the number of hours the scholar will contribute to the project.

An additional award of up to $400 ($500 for international travel) may be used to cover costs associated with travel integral to the conduct of the project. Costs of materials, supplies, library/studio charges, or technical documents connected with the discipline may be supported up to $300 for Silver Scholars and up to $500 for Gold and Platinum Scholars. The size of the supplies award will depend critically upon the justification of need.

Projects can remain open for a maximum of 3 semesters. Stipends not claimed past that time period will not be paid. 

Faculty mentors of Gold and Silver projects will can receive $500 extra compensation for significant time mentoring their student scholar.

Guidelines

  1. A student must present a clear project that demonstrates it potential value and contribution to the field of research or creative activity.
  2. The student must have the support of a faculty mentor willing to collaborate on the project.  Faculty mentors must have a shared interest and a high degree of expertise in the subject area of the project, because they will be mentoring the student throughout the project.
  3. If the student's project is directly related to the work of the faculty mentor(s), two things may take place: a) the student may develop his or her own spin-off project from a faculty project, to which URECA funding will be applied, or b) the student's involvement with the faculty project should be at a level such that published/presented works resulting from the collaboration would include the student as co- and preferably first-author or lead role artist/producer. In either case, students are expected to play a primary, not an assistant role.
  4. The faculty mentor(s) should be familiar with the expenses, including equipment, supplies, publication costs, library, studio, or laboratory fees, copy costs, travel or other expenses that are allowed in the program and should be consulted in the preparation of the budget portion of the application. Supplies are limited to $300 at the Silver Scholar level and $500 at the Gold and Platinum levels of funding.

Proposal

The proposal must clearly state the intended goal of the project and must contain sufficient background and documentation to permit a rigorous assessment of the potential for success.

Important Reminders:

  • In order to be eligible for Scholar-level funding, the student must have prior research experience, either as a URECA Assistant or with another mentor (high school/college/work). A letter of support from the student’s previous mentor must be included in the application. 
  • Reviewers of the proposal will be compromised of faculty from various disciplines. Therefore, it would be advantageous to use language that is broad enough for reviewers outside of your discipline to understand. 
  • Proposals should not exceed five typed, (12 pt. font) double-spaced pages, excluding figures, tables, and references.  **Please place figures and tables on a seperate page in the appendix.
  • Proposals must be written by the student.
  • If your project requires IRB or IACUC approval, the URECA Committee strongly recommends that you begin the approval process before you begin your proposal. Please visit MTSU's IRB websiteto find out if your project will require IRB approval. If your project involves animals, please visit the MTSU IACUC website to learn about filing your protocol.

What should be included in the proposal?  Specific elements of the proposal will depend on the discipline, but proposals might include the following elements: Introduction, Background, Purpose, Methods, Timeline, and Collaboration with Faculty Mentor(s).  

Introduction.  The Introduction should begin with a brief description of the project in layperson's terms before the more technical aspects of the project are discussed. Provide a statement of the objective(s) of the proposed work, and the anticipated significance of the work. Consider...

  • What problem(s) will be investigated?
  • What hypothesis/hypotheses will be tested?
  • What will the artistic endeavor explore?
  • What is the overall concept/treatment and significance of the project?

Background: As appropriate for the discipline, either provide a brief review of the work that has already been done in the project area (together with complete references in the appropriate professional style) or provide a description of the context within which the project fits.

This section should also include any personal information about the student, which would indicate to the reviewers the student's qualifications to successfully complete the project. What else does the committee need to know about your ability to perform the proposed research or creative project at the level for a Silver, Gold, or Platinum award?  The committee encourages applicants to submit evidence including, as appropriate, one or more of the following:

  • Letter(s) of support from previous research or project mentor(s);
  • Examples of creative works or resume/curriculum vitae (CV);
  • Brief description of relevant work experience or research experience; and/or 
  • List and brief descriptions of courses that have prepared you for the proposed project.

Please note:  Scholar applicants without a prior URECA award will need to submit a letter of support from their previous research or project mentor(s) and either an example of previous creative works for creative activity applicants or a resume/CV for research applicants.  

If you are a prior URECA awardee and you are changing your mentor and/or project focus, please provide a brief description how that prior experience and/or relevant research coursework has prepared you for your proposed project.

Purpose: Tell what the project will entail and describe the expected outcome.

Methods: Provide a detailed description of the research methods or creative process that will be used in the project. This description should include a justification for the specific approach that will be used.

Timeline: Provide dates for the initiation and completion of each phase of the project. Propose a detailed timeline taking into consideration all phases of the project and the writing of the final report.

Collaboration with Faculty Mentor(s): Provide a description of the way the student and faculty mentor(s) will collaborate on the project. The faculty mentor(s) should play a significant role in responding to ideas, providing advice for new directions and resources, discussing the implications of the results, and reading drafts of the final report. Will there be regularly scheduled meetings between student and faculty mentor(s)? Explain how the project relates to the on-going work of the faculty mentor(s), if this is the case.

Budget Request and Justification (if applicable).  As part of your URECA application, you can request funding for supplies needed to complete your project. The max is $500 for a Scholar level application. 

Talk with your mentor about what supplies as they often know what you will need to complete your research, what vendor is the cheapest, and the quantity needed.  Both consumables and equipment are resonable requests. However, if requesting funding to purchase equipment, the student and faculty mentor must present justification as to why the department is not purchasing the item, and how it will be used after the project concludes to support student research. Consumables and equipment should be listed seperately on the budget request.  

Be sure to include justification for your requested items in your budget. View a sample budget request.

Application

Each application packet should be ONE combined PDF that includes: 

  • Application signed by student and faculty mentor. 
  • Letter of support from previous mentor.
  • Proposal - 3-5 pages maximum.
  • Reference page.
  • Appendix including graphs, charts, and images, if applicable .
  • Timeline of project.
  • Budget request and budget justification, if applicable. View a sample budget justification.
  • Travel request, if applicable.
  • Unofficial transcript.  Click HERE to view detailed instructions about how to find and add your unofficial transcript to your application.

Incomplete applications will be rejected. Use the application checklist to make sure that your application is complete.

The application must be submitted electronically as ONE combined PDF document to the URECA applications submission website by 4:30pm on the day of the deadline.

Review Criteria

Application packets must be complete to be considered.  The applications will be evaluated and ranked on the basis of how well the instructions are adhered to and the degree to which the application meets the outlined criteria. These criteria include the following:

  • Thoroughness of application and adherence to guidelines in the request for applications.
  • Clarity of the project proposal.
  • Quality of the project.
  • The strength of the faculty mentor endorsement.
  • Assessment of student transcript.
  • Potential for successful completion of the project.

Reporting Requirements

The award is made with the expectation that broad dissemination of the outcome is a high likelihood and that the student will play a significant part in the preparation of the product to be presented. It is anticipated that the project will result in a presentation, publication, exhibit, or performance in a forum with greater-than-regional audiences. Should a student's work result in a publication, conference presentation, exhibit, recital, etc., support from the URECA program should be acknowledged, and the Program Manager should be notified. URECA scholars will complete a post-experience reflective questionnaire upon completion of the project. 

URECA recipients will also be expected to share their work with the campus audience via a poster presentation at the Summer Research Celebration, the Fall Open House, or Scholars Week.  Questions about this expectation should be directed to Dr. Jamie Burriss, Program Manager (Jamie.Burriss@mtsu.edu or 615-494-7669).  

Need Help?  Introducing URC's Peer Mentor Scholar, Jared Frazier

The role of the Peer Mentor Scholar is to mentor students interested in getting involved with undergraduate research, provide guidance related to URECA grants (proposal, budget, timeline) and the dissemination process.

Jared FrazierJared Frazier, SOAR Student Mentor

Jared is a member of MTSU’s Honors College and is a senior Computer Science major with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics. He is currently serving as both the Vice President and Peer Mentor Scholar for the Student Organization for the Advancement of Research (SOAR). In addition to having received four URECA grants (one at each of the available levels), Jared has received national/international fellowships such as the Goldwater Scholarship, DAAD RISE, and National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates. He is also a literature editor for MTSU’s creative arts journal Collage and has acted in two MTSU theatrical productions.

I am always willing to assist students interested in URECA grants with the process of applying for, carrying out, and then disseminating their research via conferences and publications.  - Jared 

Contact Jared at jf5s@mtmail.mtsu.edu for URECA related inquires and mentoring.