Undergraduate Summer Scholars
The Office of Research for Undergraduates facilitates the Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program. The USS program's primary goals focus on student-centered learning through mentored research. This 9-week summer program aligns with Miami's focus on offering “active, engaged educational experiences for our undergraduates."
Review the USS 2024 Program Guidelines below.
The individual student is responsible for finding an eligible Miami faculty mentor(s) to jointly create the research project and complete the USS application form. Review information about the student fellowship award and project funding support for the student and mentor.
An MS Word version of the USS Application form will be shared with department chairs and program directors.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates and Deadlines
USS 2024 Student Application must be submitted by 5:00 pm Friday, February 16, 2024. Review the full timeline in the Guidelines below.
Summer Research Students
This Miami summer research program is for full-time Miami sophomores and juniors (defined as having earned 60 credit hours by the end of the spring term) who will be returning as an undergraduate for at least one semester after completion of the USS project.
The individual student must submit the application via email to the department chair or program director of the eligible Miami faculty member who agrees to supervise the student's conduct of the research project. Submission and Responsibility for a successful program will rest with the student scholar, the mentor(s), and the primary USS mentor's administrative unit (department or program).
Instructions and Guidelines
USS 2024 Application Due Date is Friday, February 16, 2024 (by 5:00 pm EST)
Review the USS Program Guidelines carefully to understand details about participants' Roles and Responsibilities BEFORE you (the student) search for an eligible Miami sponsor who agrees to serve as your USS mentor.
Email UndergradResearch@MiamiOH.edu to request an MS Word version of the USS application.
How to Submit Your USS ApplicationThe individual student is responsible for the email submission of the USS application to the department chair or program director of the student's USS mentor. Note: The student will copy the USS mentor(s) on that email. By submitting the USS application the student and mentor(s) agree to abide by USS program requirements as well as Miami University policies.
Components of the USS 2023 Application
Page 1 USS Application Cover Page.
- Create Cover Page 1 for your USS Application
- Mark the checkbox to Request up to $600 from the Undergraduate Summer Scholar Supplements for a combination of supply funding and faculty professional development. The faculty mentor(s) is required to include a written Budget Justification and include line-item costs.
- Mark the checkbox to Request Consideration for one of five Western Center Social Impact and Justice Research USS fellowships. These USS applications must address how the research engages with issues of social impact and/or social justice, in the project description. Eligible research explores topics related, but not limited, to equity, diversity, ethics, socio-cultural change, environmentalism, community engagement, identity, inclusion/exclusion, dialogue, and/or utilizes participatory research methodologies such as action research and citizen science. These research projects can be proposed by students from any major or disciplinary perspective/s. Western Center selected students will receive an additional $200 as part of their USS fellowship, and are expected to submit a 2-page research narrative or reflection in early fall semester 2024.
- Enter data for the student, mentor(s), and project title. Review the mentor and student certification statements.
Page 2 Proposed USS Research Project Description.
- The student/mentor team will provide the USS research project description or outline. Relevant items may include:
- The project’s purpose
- Scholarly approach
- Expected outcomes
- Expected educational benefits to the student of completing the research project
Pages 3-4 Plans for USS 2024 Faculty Mentoring/Supervision and Student Responsibilities.
- Describe the plan for mentoring the student’s conduct of the research, the expected manner, form and frequency of interactions between the student/mentor(s).
- Describe the student’s plan to carry out the research project under the mentor(s) guidance, to meet the project milestones, and to manage any product(s) as the result of the research.
- Share your ideas about the dissemination of the project outcomes to non-technical audiences [not professional conferences].
- Include a brief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statement about how the proposed research, scholarship, or creative activity, or how your participation in the USS program addresses issues related to DEI.
- A DEI statement will ideally address multiple facets of how your values and experiences advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in your work.
- It is customary to write the statement in the first person.
- Six guiding questions have been developed for consideration by the mentor(s) and student who jointly write a brief DEI statement.
- How will your research serve the DEI mission of the institution?
- How will your research contribute to your professional discipline?
- What are the societal benefits of your research?
- How is your research relevant to your career development?
- How will your research project incorporate diversity of thought?
- How do you take agency/positionality/ownership of your work, and recognize the contribution of others?
Page 5 The Faculty Mentor(s) Budget Justification
- Provide a rationale for your request of supplement funds in support of the project or faculty professional development. Include line item costs.
Application Preparation and Submission
Student application due date is Friday, February 16, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. EST.
- A student can submit only one application.
- A student can create a project with two eligible mentors who will collaborate on writing the USS application.
- The individual student is responsible for the email submission of the application to the department chair or program director of the USS mentor.
- Note: the student will copy the USS mentor(s) on this email.
- By submitting the USS application, the student and mentor(s) agree to abide by all USS program requirements as well as all Miami University policies.
- Physical signatures are NOT required.
Administrative Units that choose to participate, agree to undertake the administrative burden required of them by the USS program. Units are responsible for collecting applications, reviewing and approving the mentored independent study research projects, submitting each eligible application to the ORU Coordinator, selecting student/mentor(s) projects for the allocated number of research fellowships, ensuring the educational value of the student experience, and monitoring the student/mentor(s) collaboration. (See Details in Section V.A. Roles and Responsibilities).
Administrative Unit Eligibility
Miami Administrative Units (departments, programs and centers) on the Oxford campus and the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science campuses are eligible for participation in the USS Program. The student may create a USS project with any eligible mentor(s).
A team of two faculty members can serve as mentors for one USS student applicant. To promote access and inclusion, TCPL (Teaching, Clinical Professors, and Lecturers) faculty or staff with academic unit affiliations can serve as mentors, as long as they meet departmental guidelines.
To participate in the USS program, the mentor(s) must be willing and able to supervise and mentor the undergraduate researcher. Each student/mentor(s) team should jointly complete the application. A single mentor can be listed as a prospective mentor on two applications. Other than these restrictions, there is no limit on how many applications may be submitted by administrative units.
Miami undergraduate students may only receive one USS Research Fellowship while pursuing their degree and must agree to participate during the specified summer term dates stipulated in the USS Program Guidelines. Application is open to any Miami undergraduate student who:
- Is in good standing (minimum 2.0 G.P.A., not on probation, etc.)
- Will have completed the sophomore year (defined as having a minimum of 60 credit hours) or junior year prior to the beginning of the Summer Session.
- Will enroll for at least one semester at Miami University as an undergraduate student after the completion of the USS project and agrees to full-time participation* in the USS program (*as defined by the administrative unit's department chair or program director).
- Who, during the selected 9-week period of USS participation agrees: NOT to enroll, without VERBAL permission of the USS mentor in other courses NOR accept any fellowships, internships, volunteer positions, or employment that would interfere with the student's full-time educational commitment. (See Student Roles and Responsibilities Section V.C. for details.)
Roles and Responsibilities
Responsibility for a successful program will rest with the student scholar, the mentor(s) and the primary mentor's unit. All participants are responsible for adhering to Miami University policies covering COVID-19.1. General Oversight and Administration of USS Program. While the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) facilitates the USS program, the participating units handle the administration and are responsible for
- Collecting applications and assuring mentor(s) eligibility for the program
- Approving specific student research projects and submitting each eligible student/mentor application to ORU by the deadline (via a provided Formstack link)
- Managing the process to select student/mentor(s) projects for the allocated number of research fellowships
- Requiring the selected student/mentor pairs to confirm their agreement to participate during summer term to conduct the research project.
- Notifying non-selected student/mentor pairs and notifying the ORU Coordinator of both selected and non-selected student/mentor(s) names via a provided Formstack link
- Assuring the educational value of the student experience, and
- Monitoring the student/mentor collaboration
- Tracking and reporting expenditures from the USS project's allowance.
2. Administrative Unit USS Application Submissions Due Date Friday, February 23, 2024. Department chairs or program directors will delegate a staff member to upload each application. The ORU Coordinator will provide a formstack link to the head of each administrative unit. Apply this naming convention [XXX-uss-23-student unique ID] prior to upload. Replace XXX with the 3-letter department or program code. [xxx-uss-23-potterhj.pdf]
By March 1, 2024, the Coordinator will announce the number of USS fellowships allocated to each department/program via an email to the department chair or program director. The coordinator will provide a fillable pdf file for the department/program to identify the selected student/mentor(s) who have agreed to accept the fellowship.
3. Administrative Unit Internal Review (Monday, March 4 - Friday, March 15, 2024).
Department chairs and program directors will determine the review process for USS applications to ensure eligibility of the undergraduate student, faculty/staff mentor(s), and proposed research project. Administrative units will make the final decisions and notify ALL applicants (selected and NOT selected) of the unit’s decision.
By Friday, March 22, 2024, department/programs MUST require selected students (who accept) to confirm via e-mail to the department which Summer Term Dates the student mentor pair will carry out the research project. These dates can be divided into two different time periods.
4. By Monday, April 1, 2024 Administrative Units MUST Notify the ORU Coordinator of the Names of Selected Student/Mentor Pairs via upload of a pdf file to a formstack link the ORU Coordinator will provide. The department/program will delegated staff member to upload a marked-up pdf file confirming which student/mentor(s) teams have been selected as USS participants and who have agreed to abide by the program requirements.
By Monday, April 8, the ORU Coordinator will email an official USS Fellowship Notification Letter to selected student/mentor(s) teams to provide details about USS program participation. This letter will provide the student instructions to complete both of these two required forms and include information about the disbursement of the USS fellowship amount ($3,200) in early June, 2024.
Mentor Roles and Responsibilities
- Project Participation Required During Summer Term May 21 - August 9, 2024
- Mentors who agree to participate will collaborate with specific students in developing and submitting a USS application, are expected to be available to the student during the selected 9-week period of mentorship, and will be responsible for facilitating a meaningful and appropriate student experience. With permission from the mentor, the student may split participation dates.
- Compliance with University and Federal Research Regulations
- The mentor(s) must ensure that all required regulatory committee approvals: Institutional Review Board (IRB) - human subjects; Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) - vertebrate animals; radioisotopes or recombinant DNA] are obtained prior to the start of the student project. The mentor(s) must ensure that any USS project-related travel is consistent with Miami University travel policies.
- Faculty Mentor Fiscal Responsibility for USS Project Allowances.
- For summers 2024 and 2025, the USS program allows up to $800 in project funds of which $200 is to be used by the student for project supplies, travel, services, etc., and up to $600.00 can be used by the faculty mentor for professional development, supplies, services, and travel in support of the USS project.
In accordance with the University's general accounting policy, each department has designated an E&G banner index for charges to the USS research project allowance. The USS project mentor will work with the administrative staff member who will assign an activity code to monitor expenses. The project mentor is responsible for any charges made to the index above the project allowance. Funds must be spent by March 1, 2024.
Student Roles and Responsibilities
- Student Responsibility to Find Your Own Mentor and Submit the USS Application
- The USS program focuses on individual student/mentor relationships for Miami University sophomores and juniors. A student is responsible for finding their own mentor(s). The program provides an opportunity for full-time, intensive interaction between the student and the mentor(s) who agree to collaborate to design the independent study research project. During their time at Miami, undergraduate students may only receive one USS Fellowship which must be used for the summer term in the relevant USS Program Guidelines (See Section III Student/Mentor Application Procedures).
- Summer Term Project Participation Required
- The supervising mentor(s), in consultation with the student and department chair/program director, will determine the specific 9 weeks of a student's participation (which can be divided into two different periods during the summer session).
- Summer Term Employment Limits
- The USS program allows Miami students to accept employment at Miami or elsewhere during the selected 9 weeks of their USS participation, provided the student and mentor agree on a plan to ensure that the employment will not interfere with the student’s full-time program participation. However, participating students are strictly prohibited from incorporating any internships or volunteer positions into their USS research project.
- Summer Term Other Course Enrollment Limits
- Due to the nature, duration, and intensity of the program, students accepting to participate MUST seek VERBAL PERMISSION from the USS mentor(s) to register for any additional coursework during the summer term. If permission is granted, the USS student is responsible for all costs associated with taking additional summer credit hours.
- Student Research Presentation Opportunities
- Although not required as part of the USS program, students may produce a product (paper, oral presentation, poster, artwork, portfolio, model, digital, etc.) that summarizes the outcomes of their USS projects. The student and mentor should agree on the purpose and form of this product at the beginning of the student's participation. Students will be given the opportunity to present a poster about the results of their research at the annual spring Undergraduate Research Forum.
- Workshop Participation Requirement
- ORU will offer professional development workshops, such as "Communicating research to non-technical/public audiences." Students will commit to attending several of these workshops. Students will commit to sharing a brief project reflection outlining the accomplishments of their project, and how they plan to integrate what they learned through the professional development workshops, especially in regard to communicating research to a public/non-technical audience, and outcomes for diversity, equity and inclusion".
The USS Fellowship Distribution will be described in the Selected Student Notification Letter from the ORU Coordinator. The $3,200 fellowship will be disbursed to the student in early June 2024. The faculty mentor will oversee the student project allowance.
Student Financial Aid Considerations
The USS fellowship amount may be subject to required Student Financial Aid considerations. Miami is required to report the USS fellowship amount to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1098T. As required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) designated Miami offices manage student records.
Selected Student Enrollment in a Summer Internship for Zero Credit Hours
Miami's Center for Exploration and Student Success will enroll the student in a zero-credit hour internship to conduct the summer research project. The USS mentor will be the instructor of record. The USS Selected Student Selection Letter will provide instructions to complete the internship template.
Housing and Meal Costs Are Student's Responsibility
Students are recommended to decide with their mentor(s) whether the student needs to stay in the Oxford area while participating in the USS Program. Students are solely responsible for arranging for and paying for their own housing and meals during USS participation.
Miami University is required to report the USS student fellowship on the student’s 1098T. Income taxes will not be withheld from USS student fellowship unless the student is an international student whose country does not have a reciprocal tax agreement with the United States. Depending on the student's use of the fellowship money, portions of the fellowship payment may be considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For additional information on Scholarship and Fellowship Grants, refer to IRS Tax Topic 421, and Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
Timeline with Important Dates
- Friday, Feb 16, 2024 – by 5:00 p.m. (EST)
- Student Deadline to Submit the USS application as a PDF file via an email to the department chair or program director of the faculty member who has agreed to serve as the USS project mentor. The student must copy the USS faculty mentor on this email.
- Early June 2024 USS Fellowship Disbursement
- As required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) the One-Stop-Shop offices manage student records. Students are responsible for contacting Miami's Office of Student Financial Aid to review the effect the USS program participation will have on their financial aid eligibility. Miami is required to report the USS fellowship amount (described above) to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1098T.
Additional Resources for Crafting a DEI Statement
- STEM: Broader Impacts (NSF) Broader Impacts (NIH) What-we-do/impact/nih-research
- University of Texas at Austin Faculty Innovation Center Why Should I Write a DEI Statement?
- Efrain Brito & Arnetha F. Ball (2020) Realizing the Theory of Generative Change using a Freirean Lens: Situating the Zone of Generativity within a Liberatory Framework, Action in Teacher Education, 42:1, 19-30, DOI: 10.1080/01626620.2019.1702598
The Student Experience
Read some of the stories from last year's summer scholars.
- Gretchen Allman ‘23 joined the Undergraduate Summer Scholars program to pursue a topic centered in a region of heightened political conflict.
- Alexandra Bagg ‘23 prepares for medical school through her analysis of the impacts that e-bikes have on older adults’ glucose levels.
- Bunsi Chapadia '23, USS project gave her a new perspective on providing medical care to underserved populations.
- Luke Croner ‘23, discusses the potentialities of using energy transference in cyanobacteria to combat climate change.
- Kelly Horvath '22 double major in Architecture and French, is sharing her project on this website 16th Century French Literary Architects
- Mary Le ‘24 helped develop and refine a model to understand the economic effects of popular consumer platforms including Airbnb, Amazon, and Uber.
- Jon Sciortino ‘23 works in Dr. Matthew McMurray’s lab to find a similar non-hallucinogenic compound that can alleviate symptoms faster and with fewer side effects.
- Hannah Seinfeld ‘23 works to implement DEI initiatives within children’s educational apps for teachers and speech pathologists.