STEM Scholars Program

The STEM Scholars Program prepares students to excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduate and professional careers. The STEM Scholars Program (SSP) provides full-time summer research experiences to Agnes Scott students in astrophysics, physics, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, engineering, geology, mathematics, computer sciences, biomedical sciences, environmental sciences and multidisciplinary variations of these.

Students are mentored by ASC faculty (and sometimes by faculty from nearby ARCHE institutions) to conduct cutting-edge research. The full-time experience of authentic research, with all its challenges and rewards, helps students gain essential skills for STEM scholarship and workforce leadership, and offers the chance to understand how researchers build new knowledge.

  • Program Dates: June 1- July 31, every year on the ASC campus
    • (Some ARCHE project dates may run from Memorial Day through the first week in August)
  • Full-time research: 40 hours per week
  • Research awards:
    • $1600.00 (4-week projects)
    • $3200.00 (8-week projects)
    • $4000.00 (10-week projects) -- (applies to some ARCHE & external opportunities)
  • Research ethics seminar series
  • Professional development workshop series
  • STEM communication skills workshop series
  • STEM community talks and social events
  • Opportunities to present research to academic and public audiences

Please note that prior research experience is NOT required. Prerequisite coursework and skills depend on each individual project. All students intending STEM-related careers are encouraged to apply. STEM Scholars Program welcomes first-year, DACA and international students.

To be eligible for STEM Scholars Program funding in summer 2022, applicants must:

  • be an ASC student, currently enrolled, in good standing
  • be interested in pursuing a STEM-related career
  • commit to full attendance and participation during the program and research dates
  • submit a valid application by the deadline
  • NOT have earned a previous B.A. or B.S.
  • NOT plan to graduate or transfer before December 2022

During program dates, the STEM Scholars Program provides funding for faculty-student collaborative research, including:

  • Student awards for 4-, 8-, and 10-week projects ($1600, $3200, and $4000, respectively)
  • Student housing: ASC housing during Summer I & II session will be provided for Scholars, contingent upon public health guidance and ASC housing policy for summer 2022.

STEM Scholars Program is generously supported by:

  • Frances Marx Shillinglaw Women in Science Fund (all STEM fields)
  • Maria Wornom Rippe '64 STEM Research Fund (all STEM disciplines including biomedical sciences, health professions and public health)
  • Goizueta Foundation (all STEM disciplines)
  • Marion T. Clark Research Fund (Chemistry)
  • William Joe Frierson Research Fund (Chemistry)
  • The Arthur T. Allen, Jr., Ph. D. and Arthur T. Allen III, M.D. Science Fund (all STEM disciplines including biomedical sciences, health professions and public health)
  • Leonard Doerpinghaus Biology Student Excellence Fund (Biology)
  • Jessie Ball duPont Fund for the Equitable Advancement of Underrepresented Students in STEM (all STEM fields)
  • STEM faculty, who offer their time, expertise, and mentorship to nurture the next generation of scientists, and our STEM departments, which dedicate resources and support for mentored research experiences
  • Nearly every department across campus, for whose collaboration we are grateful. We could not provide this research opportunity without ITS, Development, Facilities, ResLife, Accounting, ASC Catering, Academic Advising, Library Services, OICD, CWS, CSI, Wellness Center, Public Safety, and many, many supporting individuals. Thank you.

Research opportunities at Agnes Scott College will be posted by Jan 31.

In the meantime, students are encouraged to talk to your faculty about their research, and whether they plan to offer a summer project.

Other research options include submitting a proposal to work with an external research mentor at an ARCHE institution (Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education). See the tabs for ARCHE mentors and proposals.

STEM Scholars Program supports student research at other institutions in the Atlanta area – there are 19 colleges and institutions in ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education). You may browse departmental web sites at Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine, GSU, or others to find researchers who are investigating a topic of special interest to you. If you would like to contact a researcher to inquire about summer research positions for undergraduates, it is recommended that you:

  • make an appointment with Dr. Embree for guidance, and
  • begin this process in the fall semester (ideally) or as early as possible — it takes time.

Some first steps:

  • Rule 1: if you are not truly interested in the researcher's topic, do NOT contact them. This would be a waste of their time and yours. ASC wants to keep our good name with our neighbors by respecting their time and professional expertise.
  • If you are truly interested in the researcher's topic, then you may want to consider developing a proposal to research with them.
  • Review the researcher's web page thoroughly. You should understand in general terms what their main research questions are, and who does what within the team.
  • Prepare to contact the professor by:
    • connecting your academic goals & interests to their research questions and techniques
    • jotting down 5-10 questions you would like to ask (could be about the research, the techniques, the research environment, the schedule, expectations & responsibilities – think about what you need to know to find a good research fit)
  • Make a COMPASS appointment with Dr. Embree as soon as possible if considering a proposal.
  • Allow 2+ weeks to complete the proposal, using the template provided on the Proposal tab. You may submit only one proposal.

The application for ASC projects will open by January 31, 2022.

Application Process

  1. Access application information and documents by exploring the tabs.
  2. Review the ASC projects.
  3. Consider your interests, skills, & coursework relevant to each project’s requirements.
  4. Consider your goals (big & small, short-term & career).
  5. Consider whether an external faculty mentor would better advance your goals (proposal option).
  6. Develop a personal statement (instructions below) that explains how the research you choose advances your goals.
  7. Complete the online application.
  8. Upload your personal statement and résumé or cv.
  9. Optional: Submit a proposal to conduct summer research with an ARCHE/external research group, by following the proposal guide and checklist.
  10. Submit a complete and valid application by the deadline

Personal Statement Instructions

Consider your academic & career goals, and what you hope to gain from a research experience this summer. Why have you prioritized the projects you selected? What goals do you have for yourself this summer, given the projects you ranked highly? What preparation do you bring to these particular projects? Address how research will advance your academic and/or career goals. Format and submit as follows:

  • Word document
  • 1 page, max 500 words
  • include word count at bottom of page
  • legible font; size 11 or larger
  • clean document, free from spelling & grammatical errors
  • your name in header
  • name your file as Lastname_Firstname_PS.docx

The personal statement is the most important part of your application. Take time to brainstorm before you write. It is not sufficient to prioritize projects on the online form – discuss your goals and interests related to specific projects in your personal statement.

Review Process

The STEM Scholars Program Review Panel is comprised of ASC STEM faculty, SCW staff, and one or more former STEM Scholar. Reviewers will not evaluate the applications of students where conflicts of interest arise. Each student application will be evaluated independently by two or more reviewers. Where scores are widely discrepant, a third reviewer will score the application independently, and the full panel will discuss the case to clarify the scoring protocol. Each application will be considered on its own merits, and all applications will be discussed by the full panel with regard to matching student interests to research opportunities. The Review Panel will make recommendations to faculty mentors, who have final approval of students matched to their research groups. Students are welcomed and encouraged to seek feedback on their applications after notification, as an educational opportunity to find potential areas to improve as well as to reinforce their strengths.

For more information, contact STEM@agnesscott.edu.

A proposal is NOT REQUIRED for projects with ASC faculty in the STEM Scholars Program. It is only required for students who want to apply for funding to work with a researcher at another institution.

The Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE) includes Agnes Scott College and nineteen other institutions. Agnes Scott College students may use the following guidelines to propose a STEM research project with any ARCHE lab for consideration with their application to the STEM Scholars Program. Upload proposal and PI permission document with application.  Please start by reviewing the preparation checklist for contacting a faculty member on the ARCHE Mentors tab.  Students may submit only one proposal with their application.

Formatting Requirements

  • 4 pages maximum, including figures (figures are optional)
  • Margins > .70 inch
  • Legible font: 11 point and larger
  • Line spacing: single or greater
  • Student name in header
  • Document type:  Word doc or pdf
  • Document filename:  Lastname_Firstname_Proposal2021

Proposal Contents

  1. Student Applicant Info
    1. Student Name
    2. Student Email
  2. Research Mentor Info
    1. Mentor Name
    2. Mentor Email
    3. Mentor phone number
    4. Institution & Department
  3. Proposed Research Project
    1. Title
    2. Brief background
    3. Hypothesis, research question, or conjecture
    4. Project Timeline (weekly plan of activities, up to 10 weeks)
    5. Methods (a few sentences suffice for each of the following)
      1. Project design
      2. Data analysis
      3. Planned troubleshooting
      4. Specifically address how the project will be managed (and/or modified) in the event that in-person meeting is not advisable under public health guidance during the pandemic.
    6. References (Please limit to 5-10.  9-point font is permitted for this section only)
    7. Mentor approval of project description and permission to submit proposal. This can be a simple signed statement by the PI included in the proposal document or copy of email uploaded with application.
  4.  Resources
    1. Time Allocation (Briefly detail the hosting lab’s typical weekly schedule, the mentor’s weekly availability for 1-on-1 meeting with the student, and the student’s expected weekly schedule in the lab).
    2. Transportation (Student must indicate how they will reliably self-transport to & from ARCHE Lab on required schedule).
    3. Logistics (list any additional considerations)
    4. Institutional Approvals (The hosting ARCHE lab must indicate what approvals are required before research can begin – e.g. IRB protocol approvals, safety training, vaccinations, permits, IACUC, etc.  All requirements must be met before student may begin research.)
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