Summer Scholars FAQs

What is Summer Scholars?

Summer Scholars is a competitive grant program that enables qualified Roanoke College students to conduct intensive, independent research over the summer.

Whose project is this?

Summer Scholar projects are collaborative efforts involving both students and faculty members. In some cases the research idea comes directly from the student, while in other cases the proposed research is part of a continuing research program of the faculty member. Both approaches are appropriate for this program. However, the student should be the sole author of the "Student Application for Summer Scholars". The faculty mentor should discuss the project with the student and may serve as an editor of the description, but should not do the actual writing.

Who reviews the applications?

A committee of faculty from different disciplines review the applications. Applicants should keep this audience in mind. Language should be accessible and understandable to people from a variety of disciplines. If special or technical terminology is used, be sure to explain what the terminology means, or its importance. Thirteen Summer Scholars positions are typically available each summer, and decisions will be announced on April 1.

How does the Summer Scholars Program work?

Each Summer Scholar works in collaboration with a faculty mentor throughout the summer. On-campus housing is provided at no cost to the Summer Scholars.  Over the course of the summer, students and mentors meet for a series of colloquia to share ideas and learn new skills. In the Fall, Summer Scholars agree to present their research at the Showcase of Research & Creativity, held over Family Weekend (late September/early October). Summer Scholars must submit a final research paper (for inclusion in the College archives) and a reflection paper by September 15. Summer Scholars must also complete an evaluation survey on their experiences, which will be used to improve the program in the future.

What does the award cover?

Summer Scholars are provided with a tuition waiver for one unit, on-campus housing, and a stipend of $3,000 in return for 8-12 weeks of full-time summer research. Summer Scholars will receive $2,500 during the Summer (split into multiple payments), with $500 paid upon receipt of final research paper, reflection paper, and presentation. Depending on their classification (i.e., rising sophomore, junior, or senior), Summer Scholars may choose to use their tuition waiver for an Independent Study credit (406), an Honors in the Major credit (496), or in lieu of an Intensive Learning May-term course (note: you must apply for this option to the Director of Intensive Learning by April 15).

What housing is provided?

Roanoke College will provide housing at no charge for full time, financially supported researchers. We encourage you to take advantage of this.  Housing is usually provided from the beginning of May Term until the end of Summer Session 2. Please plan your project around these dates.  Please indicate your housing needs on your application form. Once you have accepted your offer, you will choose your housing online during the housing selection process. You need to know the dates that you want to be in campus housing to make this arrangement, so talk with your research mentor first.

What else can I do during the summer?

Roanoke College Student Scholars must devote full-time effort to their projects. This policy means that they are not permitted to take summer courses during the term of the award. However, they may work part-time jobs that do not interfere with their full-time work on the project. Part-time jobs must be disclosed to the Director of Undergraduate Research and to the faculty mentor.

Summer Scholars participate in weekly workshops to enhance their research experience.  In addition, the Office of Undergraduate Research provides social activities such as movies, hikes, game nights, and bowling.

What do faculty mentors receive?

In addition to a fantastic student collaborator, faculty mentors earn a stipend of $1000. In return, faculty mentors must maintain close contact with Summer Scholars, meeting often (i.e., at least weekly), participating in a majority of colloquia, and providing feedback and encouragement to their mentees.

Do you have any tips from former Summer Scholars?

  • Example successful applications from the past are available from the Director of Undergraduate Research.
  • If RC doesn't have a book that you need, use Interlibrary Loan.  Talk to your research librarian!
  • When writing, find a daily schedule and a place that works for you.
  • Utilize your faculty mentor for advice! You don't need to know all the answers. It's ok to not know. Remember, this is a learning process, and your faculty mentor is there to help guide you.
  • Don't worry if you're not getting the results you want (or if nothing seems to be working). The key is to stay strong, keep trying, and be flexible.
  • It's ok to deviate from your original research plan.  In fact, many of us ended up with a product very different from our proposal.
  • Start writing early. You may feel like you don't know what you're talking about, and you probably don't, but that's ok. You may not keep a single word of what you write at first, but that's ok, too. Writing will help direct the project's focus.
  • Don't get discouraged! In the end, it will all come together.
  • Remember, if it worked the first time, we wouldn't call it re-search!