Undergraduate Summer Scholars

Application due: Typically near the end of January. Check the program's website.

Miami's Undergraduate Summer Scholars program provides funding for students to complete summer research projects, mentored by faculty. To apply for the program, you work with your faculty mentor to plan a research project; then you submit an application to your mentor's department chair.

Past USS projects in our department

Here are some of the Undergraduate Summer Scholars who have been mentored in recent years by faculty from the Department of Comparative Religion.

Jackie WagnerJackie Wagner

Jackie was a double major in religion and zoology. Her USS project was titled "Constructing and Commemorating a Patriotic Sacred: September 11, 2001 in an Eliadean Cosmos." With the guidance of faculty mentor Dr. Nathan French, Jackie conducted survey interviews with individuals from multiple age groups, in which she asked them to reflect on their personal understandings of patriotism. Jackie conceived her project as a study of civil religion, with an eye to helping to theorize a commemorative space for the four Miami University alumni killed in the 9/11 attacks.


Kimberly BlakeKimberly Blake

Kimberly was an anthropology major who worked with Dr. James Bielo, one of our department's affiliated faculty. For her USS project, "An Ethnography of Preservation at the Historic Kirtland Village," Kimberly spent nine weeks observing and interviewing guides at a reconstructed 19th-century Mormon settlement near Cleveland. She was interested in understanding how the guides' religious motives intersected with the site's educational aims. Her faculty mentor was Dr. James Hanges, assisted by Dr. John-Charles Duffy.


Taylar PetersTaylar Peters

Taylar was a double major in religion and psychology. Her USS project, "Gnostic Gems: An Illusion of Materiality," examined literary and material evidence associated with the use of gemstones by ancient Gnostics. The Gnostics were Christian "outsiders" who sought  knowledge through introspection and were generally dismissive of material existence--except when it came to gemstones. Mentored by Dr. James Hanges, Taylar attempted to understand the multisensory religious experiences that Gnostics used gemstones to cultivate.