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Undergraduate Research Opportunities at Fisher

Get curious and grow your ideas, Fisher! New grant-funded opportunities will support paid undergraduate research during the academic year. Or, spend the summer engaging in a research experience. Multiple opportunities are available!

Undergraduate students can dive deep into a discipline or topic through engaging in the high-impact practice of student research (AAC&U). Guided by faculty mentors, students gain workforce readiness skills such as communication, critical thinking, and teamwork. Participating in a research project can set students apart from other candidates in graduate school and job applications.

In addition to opportunities to engage in research for academic credit overseen by departments and programs, we offer a competitive summer program for undergraduate students at St. John Fisher College to get involved in faculty-mentored research projects in a variety of disciplines and multidisciplinary collaborations. Explore the summer research opportunities and new grant-funded projects to determine which is the right fit for you to get involved or extend your research experience. 

Looking for summer research outside of Fisher? Check out the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates search site, the CUR Arts & Humanities list, Pathways to Science for STEM students, or speak with your professors for more ideas.

Questions?

Email Center Director Dr. Kristin Picardo (kpicardo@sjfc.edu) or stop by her office, ISHS 203. You can also request a Zoom meeting through email or FisherLink!

Summer Research Opportunities & Application Instructions for All Summer Research Opportunities

We offer a competitive summer program for undergraduate students at St. John Fisher College to get involved in faculty-mentored research projects in a variety of disciplines and multidisciplinary collaborations. Explore the Summer Fellows Research Program which allows for the most creativity in designing projects or explore the special projects listed to determine which is the right fit for you to get involved or extend your research experience. The full 10-week program begins June 1 and ends August 7, 2021.

Expectations

Summer Fellows students will:

  • Engage in an intensive summer research experience mentored by a full-time Fisher faculty member
  • Practice goal-setting and critical self-reflection through research
  • Communicate research findings to peers and broader community of scholars on/off the Fisher campus (poster printing fee is covered by this award)

Mentors will:

  • Intellectually engage the next generation of scholars in their discipline
  • Extend their scholarship and research, or mentor in a related area of expertise
  • Be supported (e.g. stipend, mentoring support) by the Center for Student Research & Creative Work

Eligibility

  • Current rising sophomore - rising senior undergraduate who will be continuing their study as a full-time Fisher student in the fall semester following the summer fellowship
  • Any major
  • GPA in Good Standing (at least 2.0)
  • Faculty can mentor a maximum of 2 Summer Fellows students
  • Past Summer Fellows awardees are ineligible (with the exception of the Presidential Research Fellows special project) and are encouraged to explore other opportunities with help from the Center for Student Research & Creative Work.

Additional Program Details

  • Student researchers and mentors will attend a required kick-off orientation meeting at the start of the program.
  • There will be a series of 3 "Coffee Talks" - informal gatherings where we will share our successes and challenges. Also, students will receive support on resume building and mentors will be supported in articulating their work with students into their CVs and evaluation narratives.
  • The Center also provides support for responsible conduct of research training, opportunities for publishing in undergraduate research journals, and a variety of other opportunities related to undergraduate research.
  • EvaluateUR will be used to facilitate the mentor-student relationship and to provide necessary program evaluation data
  • Students will be required to present their research at the 2022 Student Research and Creative Work Symposium held at Fisher.

Support Options

Options for Student Support (students and mentors decide and provide justification):

  • Tuition waiver (for 1-3 credits; 1 credit = 35 hours total for the 10 weeks) OR summer stipend of up to $4,375 (depending on the number of hours per week for 10 weeks). 
  • Most students request a stipend for 15-20 hours per week.

Request for Supplemental Project Support (justification required):

  • Up to $450 for research supplies or project-related expenses (requests for travel support to conferences cannot be included here but instead can be made using the form under Travel Support)

News and Special Projects for 2021

Housing will not be available on campus for Summer 2021.

You can propose your own project in consultation with a faculty mentor OR choose from one of the special projects accessible on the main summer research page.

Application Process

Open TBD - April 16, 2021; Applications to Presidential Fellows open until April 30, 2021

Be sure to include a consideration of how your project, or aspects of the proposed work, can be conducted remotely. As we know more about the impact COVID-19 will have on summer 2021 programming we will keep this page updated.

Students

  1. Consult with potential faculty mentors. Your summer research project should be designed in collaboration with a faculty mentor unless you are applying under a detailed special program where the project is already determined.
  2. Complete the online Summer Fellows Research Program Student Application.
  3. Submit the materials described below (saved as a single PDF file labeled as "Student Last Name_2021_SummerFellows") to: email studentresearch@sjfc.edu
    • 1-page summary (12pt font, 1.5 line spacing, normal margins) geared toward a generally educated audience, free of disciplinary jargon, describing the research project and outcomes expected
    • NOTE: 
      • If you are applying under the special project for the University Radiation Medicine Foundation, you should provide additional project details up to 3 pages in length. Articulate how and why your project fits under this special opportunity.
      • If you are applying under the National Geographic Society STEM Field Assistant opportunity, the 1-page project summary is not required, but you should provide a document up to 2 pages in length to articulate why you are interested in this opportunity. 
      • If you are applying to be a Presidential Research Fellow, the 1-page project summary is not required, but you should provide a document up to 2 pages in length to articulate 1) why you are interested in this opportunity 2) how you envision your experience can contribute to this project 3) how this summer fellowship will advance your academic experience and/or career goals, if you have a pathway decided or not, and 4) how you feel your student peers might benefit from gaining an understanding of and training in grant writing as part of their academic journey.
    • 1-2 page student personal statement (12 pt font, 1.5 line spacing, normal margins) using the following prompt:
      • Describe two goals you have for yourself through your work as a potential Summer Fellow and identify how working to achieve these goals will help to prepare you for your future.
    • A statement of your support request – choose ONE below and provide justification. Please be sure to consult with your mentor to ensure your request is appropriate for your proposed project. (NOT required for those applying under a special project)
      • Request for a tuition waiver and number of credits up to a 3-credit maximum (keep in mind that a 1 credit hour experience requires 35 hours total over the 10 weeks)
      • Request for a stipend of up to a $4,375 maximum (requires 35 hours per week for 10 weeks). You can also request a reduced stipend and calculate per hour ($12.50 paid per hour for summer 2021).
  4. Request a statement of support from either a professor you have had in past or current coursework in the discipline of the proposed research, or your current academic advisor. Your research mentor should not complete this form unless you are applying to be a Presidential Research Fellow. This letter should be submitted via the online Student Applicant Support form.

Mentors

Mentors need to prepare the project budget and justification for both the 1) budget and 2) number of student hours per week to be spent working on the project. This should be submitted via the online Summer Fellows Faculty Mentor Information form.

Application Deadline

All application components are due by Friday, April 16, 2021 at midnight; Presidential Fellows applications are due Friday, April 30, 2021 at midnight.

Questions?

Email Center Director Dr. Kristin Picardo (kpicardo@sjfc.edu) or stop by her office, ISHS 203.

Presidential Research Fellows 2021 – Cardinal Grant Writing Experience

Presidential Research Fellows 2021 – Cardinal Grant Writing Experience

Description of the Program

Have you ever wondered how organizations, researchers, and even students secure grant funding? Grant writing is skill that can be applied across fields and can differentiate one job applicant from another. Through the Cardinal Grant Writing Experience, a team of three participants will be mentored by the Director of Foundation Relations, Sara Vinch, and the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, Maya Temperley, to explore grant writing and develop a roadmap for how grant writing training can be integrated in future programming for students at the College. President Rooney and Chris Biehn, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, will join the group periodically to engage with and support the team.

Additional Program Details

  • Student researchers and mentors will attend a required kick-off orientation meeting at the start of the program along with other Fisher Summer Fellows.
  • There will be a series of 3 "Coffee Talks" - informal gatherings where we will share our successes and challenges. Also, students will receive support on resume building and mentors will be supported in articulating their work with students into their CVs and evaluation narratives.
  • The Center also provides support for responsible conduct of research training, opportunities for publishing in undergraduate research journals, and a variety of other opportunities related to undergraduate research.
  • EvaluateUR will be used to facilitate the mentor-student relationship and to provide necessary program evaluation data
  • Students will be required to present their research at the 2022 Student Research and Creative Work Symposium held at Fisher.

 Student Support

  • The project will begin on June 1 and run 10 weeks along with the Summer Fellows Research Program. Stipend consists of $2,500 for the 10 weeks of work (20 hours/week).

Qualifications of Student Team Members

  • Enthusiastic interest in participating in a team-based summer project around grant writing
  • Rising sophomores and rising juniors enrolled as a student at Fisher
  • GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Students encouraged to apply include:
    • First-generation students (not required to be a First Generation scholarship recipient) and/or diverse ethnicity
    • Students from any major
    • Students with a range of experience
    • Students with a wide range of career interests

To apply, see the application instructions for Summer Fellows on the main summer research page.

National Geographic STEM Field Assistant

Summer Research opportunity with Dr. Fernando Ontiveros

Description of the Program:

The National Geographic STEM Field Assistant Program seeks to identify upper-level undergraduate students who come from underrepresented or marginalized groups in STEM disciplines for an opportunity to spend time in a fieldwork setting with a Principal Investigator from the National Geographic Explorer family, Dr. Fernando Ontiveros, Associate Professor of Biology, at St. John Fisher. The intent is for these Field Assistants to build a network of peers and senior scientists who can mentor them and provide confidence and social support to advance in their chosen STEM field, whether that be an advanced degree or work-related opportunity. In the 2021 pilot year, the focus will be on Black, Latinx, and Native American students who are US citizens, with a preference for first generation college students. The program will involve fieldwork between June 1 - August 7, 2021, a series of webinars from May - December, and a final grant writing workshop in late 2021. National Geographic will cover expenses in the field and a stipend for the student's work. 

Additional Program Details:

  • Student researchers and mentors will attend a required kick-off orientation meeting at the start of the program along with other Fisher Summer Fellows.
  • There will be a series of 3 "Coffee Talks" - informal gatherings where we will share our successes and challenges. Also, students will receive support on resume building and mentors will be supported in articulating their work with students into their CVs and evaluation narratives.
  • The Center also provides support for responsible conduct of research training, opportunities for publishing in undergraduate research journals, and a variety of other opportunities related to undergraduate research.
  • EvaluateUR will be used to facilitate the mentor-student relationship and to provide necessary program evaluation data
  • Student will be required to present their research at the 2022 Student Research and Creative Work Symposium held at Fisher.

Student Support:

  • Field research will begin on June 1 and run 10 weeks along with the Summer Fellows Research Program. Stipend consists of  $2,500  for the 10 weeks field work (20 hours/week).

Qualifications of the student:

  • Demonstrated and enthusiastic interest in pursuing a career in STEM
  • Rising juniors and rising seniors enrolled as a student at Fisher
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Willing to commit to a 8-9 month experience, including mentorship activities, webinars, and a grant writing workshop (including writing a preliminary grant proposal). The summer research will span June 1 - August 7.
  • US citizen or legal resident 

Obligations for student and professor (“NG Explorer”):

  • Mentorship between student and NG Explorer (Dr. Fernando Ontiveros at Fisher)
  • Student becomes part of a NGS cohort and will commit to the following activities:
    • Webinars 1-2 times per month to discuss different aspects of being in the field (from May through end of year)
    • A grant writing workshop in the fall (includes submitting a grant application)
  • Capture and provide photos (and video if possible) to NG of the student and NG Explorer in the field
  • Agreement that NG + any sponsors can talk about the NG Explorer and student participating in this program
  • Agreement that NG + any sponsors can use photos, video, messaging about the program

To apply, see the application instructions for Summer Fellows on the main summer research page.

Radiation and Impact on Human Health

Radiation and its Impact on Human Health

  • Up to 2 students will be awarded stipends and research supply funds to investigate radiation medicine-related projects. Students in any major can propose work under this special project.
  • Mentors can be from any department as long as the project focuses on how radiation impacts human health
  • Funding for this special project has been made available by Fisher alum Dr. Timothy Kinsella and the University Radiation Medicine Foundation.

To apply, see application instructions on the main summer research page.

Chemistry Research funded by the NSF

Student Research Opportunity in Chemistry with Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko

Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko (Dr. I.), Associate Professor of Chemistry, has been funded by the National Science Foundation for his project titled “Mapping Catalytic Sites on Alkali Promoted Anatase Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)” which will involve a truly enriching student research component. You can read the Fisher News release to learn more!

The subject of the study is in the area of organic reactions on metal oxide surfaces at the cross-section of analytical, physical, and organic chemistry. Students are expected to learn modern methods of surface analysis including electron microscopy, x-ray powder diffraction, and photo electron spectroscopy at University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and will be engaged at Fisher in the research activity.

Dr. Ignatchenko is looking to partner with:

2-3 sophomore or junior students who have successfully completed General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry (may be currently enrolled in Organic Chemistry), and who, preferably, hold an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged. The program will provide a chance for students to co-author a publication in highly cited journals and it will mostly benefit those students who are going into a graduate school in chemistry, physics, biology or medical sciences.

Student researchers will have the opportunity to:

  • Travel to Oak Ridge National Lab in Oak Ridge, TN May 16-25, 2021 where students will be trained by Dr. I. and collaborating scientists at Oak Ridge. Students will not earn a stipend for this time. All travel, lodging and meal expenses will be covered. Note: Travel is subject to review due to current and changing travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
  • Engage in a 10 week summer research experience at Fisher after June 1, 2021. Housing and food availability on campus to be determined at a later date. Students will earn a stipend of $12.50/hour and will be expected to work on-campus with Dr. I. and other students for 35 hours/week over the 10 weeks (total earnings not to exceed $4,375).
  • Gain informal training in the lab at Fisher that may lead to academic credit open in the fall 2020 and spring 2021 to begin to prepare students.

Interested students should contact Dr. I. at aignatchenko@sjfc.edu for more information on how to apply.

The College does not discriminate against applicants or employees in hiring, promotion, termination or the terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sex, perceived sex, gender identity, gender expression, the status of being transgender, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, marital status, military status, veteran status, predisposing genetic, characteristics or genetic information, arrest or conviction record, status as a victim of domestic violence, or any other characteristic protected by law.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1955139. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.