Sophomores benefit from research grants

Twenty-one students this year received the Chappell Lougee Scholarship for summer research, with a few more awards yet to be finalized, according to Christina Mesa, an Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR) academic director and the scholarship’s coordinator. The recipient group currently includes only three male students.

 

UAR will fund the winners’ projects in the humanities, creative arts and qualitative sciences. The scholarships are restricted to sophomores and were established in 1987 to honor History Professor Carolyn Chappell Lougee’s work as dean of undergraduate studies from 1982 to 1987.

 

While almost the same number of students applied for the Chappell Lougee Scholarship this year as last, there was a record number of students who began and did not complete the application process this year, Mesa said in an email to The Daily.

 

One of the major changes with the application process was the change of the deadline from December to February.

 

“After much discussion, we decided to experiment with giving students more time to prepare the application, most significantly over the winter break,” Mesa said. “In addition to the later deadline, we also gave more students an opportunity to revise and resubmit their proposals –some with minimal revisions, and others with more substantial recommendations for changes.”

 

“We want potential research projects to get the feedback and revision they deserve,” she added.

 

Mesa said that these changes have been an improvement for the students, who could focus on fall quarter final exams rather than worry about completing the Chappell Lougee application by December.

 

“Among the students who were not awarded scholarships, many found other opportunities, did not submit complete applications or decided not to make substantial revisions,” Mesa said. She said that 65 to 70 students that she met who began applications were directed to other funding sources or found internships and other opportunities.

 

Mesa noted that Chappell Lougee applicants, regardless of their success, are almost twice as likely to be awarded a student grant in subsequent years.

 

“We think this is because the process of writing a proposal, engaging with faculty and reflecting on the objectives and design of their project ideas are really valuable experiences,” she said.

 

Initially, studying the Olympics in London was a popular subject area among applicants, but in the end, only one student will be doing research on the Olympics. Three student researchers will be headed to Paris. Helen Anderson ’14 is one of them.

 

“I think it’s pretty unbelievable that Stanford is funding me to go to Paris and work on my novel,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t feel like real life. I am incredibly grateful to have this kind of support for a project that still seems huge and daunting to me.”

 

“Usually writing is something I do on the side, something I have to make time for amid the craziness of everything else,” she added. “Having an entire summer to devote to my writing is, I think, going to be invaluable to my development as a writer.”

 

Katherine Loosley ’14 is another Chappell Lougee recipient this year. Loosely will be going to Gansu, China, where she will interview elementary school principals who participated in large-scale, randomized controlled trials in which they were given monetary incentives for successfully treating anemia at their schools.

 

“My goal will be to gain an understanding of how the principals processed and internalized the monetary incentives that cannot be captured by quantitative measures,” Loosley said. “By understanding how principals process, internalize and respond to incentives, future researchers will be better equipped to design cost-effective development programs that potentially achieve even higher outcomes.”

 

Loosley offered advice to prospective scholars.

 

“Start early,” she said. “The best proposals are developed over time, so give yourself plenty of time. Also, if you are short for ideas, talk with professors, and you are sure to come up with something.”

 

“This was actually an outcome we hoped for — helping students develop project ideas and find ways to realize them often leads them to other funding sources, if the projects themselves are not appropriate for the Chappell Lougee,” Mesa said. “It feels pretty great to witness the process of one of these research or art ideas as it comes to life, even if it does not end up being funded by the Chappell Lougee Scholarship.”

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