Sustainability Summer Research Fellowships
Conducting research during the summer can be a transformative experience for undergraduate students as you put your skills to the test.
The Office of Undergraduate Research annually awards a vast number of undergraduates the opportunity to try something new or take their experience to the next level during the summer term. This fellowship provides undergraduates with the opportunity to study in a wide variety of disciplines while doing intensive and self-directed research or creative work under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
Sustainability Summer Research Fellowships ($3,000 stipend) are funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fee and seek to promote projects that will make a significant contribution to the student’s academic growth, while concomitantly contributing to sustainability focused research initiatives at the University of Kentucky and within the community at large. Where appropriate, we are also seeking projects that will make a scholarly contribution in their discipline.
Sustainability here is defined as the intersection of social, economic and environmental justice. Sponsored by the Student Sustainability Council, UK Sustainability, and The Food Connection.
Award Amount: $3,000 (funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fee)
Any full-time UK undergraduate student of any major who has completed at least 1 semester (preferably 2+) of research with a faculty mentor. The student also must be returning to the University of Kentucky in the following Fall Semester as an undergraduate.
Students are encouraged to apply for multiple summer research fellowships
Students may be offered multiple summer research awards, but a student can only receive ONE summer research award from the UK Office of Undergraduate Research (e.g. Summer Research and Creativity Fellowship, Summer Sustainability Fellowships, or Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship)
Please carefully read all of the information below before applying.
Good Academic Standing - 3.0 or higher
A faculty member's recommendation letter (2 pages maximum) and willingness to supervise the project are very important elements in the selection process.
Students must submit an application and sustainability research proposal. Proposal details can be found below. (Deadline: March 1, 2021 by 11:55 pm EST)
Your proposal should include an emphasis on how your research project relates to the three pillars of sustainability.
Application Opens: January 25, 2021
Application/Letters Deadline: March 1, 2021 by 11:55 pm EST
Student Online Application HERE
Upload UK Faculty Letter of Recommendation HERE
Must be uploaded by 11:55 pm EST on March 1, 2021
Decision Notification by April 15, 2021
Pre-Experience Survey Deadline: May 15, 2021
Midsummer Check-in Deadline: July 8, 2021
Summer Research Symposium: August 3, 2021; 4pm - 6pm Jacobs Science Bldg Room 121; Food will be provided. Informal presentation (no poster or slides required).
Post-Experience Survey and Final Report Deadline: August 15, 2021
Proposal Format and Requirements
Carefully read all of the information below before applying.
Completed Application Form
Research Proposal (details below)
Faculty mentor(s) recommendation and willingness to supervise the project. (2-page maximum)
PROPOSAL FORMAT AND GUIDELINES
500 words minimum and 1000 words maximum (2-4 pages)
- Microsoft Word Document or PDF
- Include the project title, your name, faculty sponsor's name, department in which the research is being done.
(The body of your proposal MUST provide a brief background along with the question you plan to address.)
- What background information to do have about the topic you will be studying?
- What role did you, the student, play in planning the project?
- What is the specific issue you will be addressing or question you will be asking?
- What specific methods will you use to perform your research or creativity? Explain how your project can be conducted remotely and/or virtually, if needed.
- How is your project directly related to the three pillars of sustainability: simultaneously advancing economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social equity?
- Will the project make a scholarly contribution to the discipline? If so, how?
- What do you expect to gain from the experience?
- Budget Worksheet (this does NOT go towards your overall word count)
Your faculty mentor should be able to help you provide a brief overview of costs associated with your research. Providing this budget does not mean you are required to use your monies for the direct purpose of the project.
SUSTAINABILITY SUMMER RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP REQUIREMENTS
- Students are required to maintain communication with their mentor and the Office of Undergraduate Research staff
- NOTE: Failure to comply with any and all of the requirements contained in the signed agreement form will require the recipient of the money awarded to return the funds to the Office of Undergraduate Research. This includes all monies provided in the grant amount.
- If your research has taken a different direction than outlined in your proposal please contact our office.
Due date: July 8, 2021
- Email email@example.com at least 2 high-quality photos (600+ dpi). Preferably these photos will be of you actively engaged in your research.
- Caption for each photo that includes student’s name, explanation of what they are doing, and focus of research
- Quote about your summer research experience to date.
- Title your email: "Summer Research - First Name Last Name"
NOTE: Students are required to maintain communication with their faculty mentor during the Summer Research Fellowship. Our office will contact all faculty mentors following the Mid-Summer check-in deadline of July 8, 2021.
Due date: August 24, 2021
- 500 words minimum and 1000 words maximum (2-4 pages)
- Microsoft Word Document or PDF
- Include the project title, your name, faculty sponsor's name, department in which the research is being done.
Summer Research Virtual Symposium (mandatory event)
Date: TBD via Zoom
- Letters of Excuse will be available if this Symposium occurs during a class or lab. Please email UGResearch@uky.edu to request an excuse (be sure to include the professor's name).
- Please come prepared to briefly present the research you did over the summer (will not require a poster or PowerPoint presentation)
SHOWCASE OF UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARS
Students awarded a Summer Research and Creativity Fellowship must register and present their research at the Office of Undergraduate Research's Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars the following Spring Semester. Summer 2021 Research Fellows will be required to present their research at the April 2022 Showcase.
For more information about the Showcase and how to register please go here!
Final Report Format and Guidelines
1. Background Information
This may be similar to what you provided in your proposal. What is the purpose of your research and how will it contribute to your field of study? Your introduction should be directed at all readers, not just those in your particular field.
Was it carried out as originally planned? If not, why? How did you adjust for the change in plans?
What sort of results did you see from your research and what can you conclude from them, and do they align with your hypothesis? What are the implications of these results and where does this study go from here? What impact does this study have within the discipline, and how might it affect the real world?
4. Your Experience - answer each question below
How has this experience contributed to your undergraduate education and your life goals?
What experiences will you take from this summer's research that will impact your future in education, research, or professional career?
Was your mentor available and helpful in guiding your summer research experience?
In reflecting back on this summer, what could have been done differently, if anything, to improve your summer research experience?
Application Judging Criteria
Applications are judged on the following criteria:
The proposal is well-written (clear, concise, well-developed and scholarly.)
The role of the student researcher is clearly articulated with an emphasis on independent work and creative thought.
According to the student and/or mentor, the project has a high likelihood of making a scholarly contribution to the proposed discipline or student’s academic growth.
The proposal outlines an achievable project with a realistic timeline for a summer-long project.
The proposal clearly defines how the project relates to the three pillars of sustainability.
The faculty letter demonstrates strong support for the student applicant and the project.
The budget is reasonable and realistic for the proposed project.
All required elements were included on the application: (1) name and contact information; (2) title; (3) hypothesis or purpose; (4) background; (5) methods and potential outcomes; (6) general budget; (7) letter from mentor
Awards will be announced by April 15. Students will receive email notification of the outcome of their applications and instructions and forms required to accept the award.
Sustainability Summer Research Fellows
2020 Sustainability Research Fellows
Bridget Bolt, a junior Agriculture and Biomedical Technology major with a Beer, Wine, and Spirits Distillation Certification minor. She spent the summer working with her mentor Dr. Carlos Rodriquez Lopez on her sustainability research project "Soybean Methylation and the Effect on the Microbiome".
Anna Foose, a junior Agriculture and Biomedical Technology major with an Economics minor. She spent the summer working with her mentor Dr. Clare C. Rittschof on her sustainability research project "Honey bee Allogrooming and Pesticides"
Kaela Jackson, a senior Dietetics major with a Certificate in Food Systems & Hunger Studies minor. She spent the summer working with her mentor Dr. Makenzie Barr on her sustainability research project "Power of Produce Club: Evaluation of Farmer’s Market Incentive Program for Children"
2019 Sustainability Research Fellows
Rachel Brown, an Entomology major, completed her project, "Use of CRISPR Cas 9 Gene Editing to Produce Sterile Male Mosquitoes," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Subba Reddy Palli in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Entomology department.
Brett Quigley, a Mechanical Engineering major, completed his project, "Waste Plastic to Fuel Oil" in Uganda with the support of his UK faculty mentor Jeffrey Seay in the College of Engineering.
Rana Turkmani, a Mechanical Engineering major, completed her project, "GIS Study of Waste Plastic Collection Potential in Uganda" with the support of her UK faculty mentor Jeffrey Seay in the College of Engineering.
2018 Sustainability Research Fellows
Shelby Browning, a Chemical Engineering, completed her project, "Sustainable Approach for Green Pesticide Production in Kenya from the Croton Megalocarpus Trees," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Dr. Jeffrey Seay in the College of Engineering.
Brianna Damron, a Nursing student, completed her project, "Mindfulness-based nature therapy for hospitalized patients with acute pain," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Dr. Mary Arthur in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Forestry department.
Christopher Kositzke, a Biology student, completed his project, "Reducing Disease Carrying Beetle Pressure in Urban Community Gardens with an Innovative, Non-Insecticidal Cucumber Beetle Trap," with the support of his UK faculty mentor Dr. Stephen Dobson in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Entomology department.
Dominik Tye, a Geography and Environmental Sustainability Studies student, completed his project, "Green Space and Representation of Lexington's East End: An Oral History," with the support of his UK faculty mentor Dr. Mary Arthur in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Forestry department.
2017 Sustainability Research Fellows
Erica Cherry, a Political Science and WRD major, completed her project, "A Portrait of Pollution: Creating a Record of Water Quality on Permitted Eastern Kentucky Land where no Mining is Occurring," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Chris Barton in the College of Arts and Sciences' Appalachian Studies department.
Brianna Damron, a Nursing major, completed her project, "Campus tree walks for university and hospital communities: Stress reduction, education, and urban canopy care," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Dr. Mary Arthur in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Forestry department.
Avery Edwards, an Interior Design major, completed her project, "Finding Sustainability in Recruitment," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Greg Robinson in the College of Design.
Alberto Rondon, an Agricultural Biotechnology major, completed his project, "Phosphorylation of Cellulose for Improved Degradation," with the support of his UK faculty mentor Dr. Matthew Gentry in the College of Medicine's Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry department.
John "Lucien" Whaley, a Civil Engineering major, completed his project, "Geothermal Energy System in Shale Formations in Kentucky," with the support of his UK faculty mentor Dr. Sebastian Bryson in the College of Engineering.
2016 Sustainability Research Fellows
Rachel Cook, an Environmental Science & Sustainability Studies major, completed her project, "Quantifying Sustsainability across Five Different Agricultural Systems," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Krista Jacobsen in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Horticulture department.
Grace Coy, a Natural Resources and Environmental Science major, completed her project, "UK Tree Corps: A pilot study using citizen science to assess attitudes and sustainability of Lexington's urban forests," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Mary Arthur in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Forestry department.
Rachel Hart, an Agriculture Economics major, completed her project, "Environmental Crowdfunding Campaigns: Why do people donate?," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Wuyang Hu in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Kendra Sandar Oo, a Dietetics and Human Nutrition major, completed her project, "Sustainable Approaches to Fighting Hunger: Development and Evaluation of an Innovative Gleaning and Nutrition Education Program Among Food Insecure Children in Lexington, Kentucky," with the support of her UK faculty mentor Tammy Stephenson in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Benjamin Troupe, a Philosophy and Political Science major, completed his project, "Sustainable Ethics: Promoting Sustainability by Developing a Holistic Morality," with the support of his UK faculty mentor Eric Sanday in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Have a Question?
Have a question? Visit our FAQ page for answers to some of the most common questions about undergraduate research at UK. If you need additional assistance, we're just an email or phone call away!