Undergraduate Fellowships for Community-Engaged Research
The Center for Community Engagement and Impact (CEI) will fund undergraduate community-engaged research fellowship awards for research projects mentored by VCU faculty and carried out in collaboration with a community partner. Proposals for this fellowship should include a community-engaged research project that creates and disseminates knowledge or creative expression with the goal of contributing to the discipline and strengthening the well-being of the community. Successful proposals must discuss how the project will both:
- Increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience through a mutually-beneficial partnership in the community and
- Address a community-identified need
Each fellowship award includes $1,500 in funding for the student, $500 for the faculty mentor, and $500 for the community partner.
The Undergraduate Fellowships for Community-Engaged Research is open to full-time VCU undergraduates with at least one full academic year left to complete before graduation.
1. The student and mentor together, with input from the identified community partner, must write a maximum 5 double-spaced-page proposal, detailing:
- The significance of the proposed work - briefly, what similar work has been done by others, and how has it contributed to human knowledge?
- A research question - what do you propose to find out in your project?
- The specific aims of the work - what objectives are you setting out to accomplish?
- The methods to be employed - what will you do to answer the research question and to meet your specific aims? How do the method(s) align with best practices in community-engaged research?
- Results expected - what outcomes do you expect from your project, and how will you know whether or not you have achieved them?
- How the project will contribute to the research knowledge and skills of the student
- How the project has the potential for contributing to the well-being of the community by addressing community-identified needs
- Evidence of reciprocal collaboration between the student researcher, the faculty mentor, and the community partner
- A detailed work plan: showing a significant amount of time dedicated to your project, assuming around 20 to 30 hours of work per week. The workplan must contain elements that correspond to the specific aims laid out in the proposal.
- How you have addressed the required safety measures and limitations of COVID-19 in your project design
- How you have addressed potential inequities in your project design, application, and/or dissemination, including but not limited to racial, socio-economic, gender, privilege, and positionality
- A statement wherein the student pledges to participate in a mandatory community-engaged research training session, submit a mid-term project report by August 15, and to participate in the VCU Undergraduate Symposium/Poster Day the following spring semester.
2. The student must write a maximum two-page personal statement addressing these questions:
- What experience or qualifications have prepared you for the work you propose?
- What will the Summer Fellowship do to help you advance your career goals?
3. The mentor must write a letter of support for the Summer Fellowship application, addressing the following questions:
- How long and in what capacity has the mentor known the student applicant? Have you mentored this student before?
- What experience, knowledge, skills, or capacities does the mentor believe the applicant possesses that qualify the student to conduct the proposed work?
- How does the mentor believe the Summer Fellowship experience will help the student meet his/her career goals?
- How the project will contribute to the research knowledge and skills of the student.
- How the project has the potential for contributing to the well-being of the community.
- Evidence of collaboration between the faculty mentor and/or student researcher and the community partner.
- A brief statement describing the mentor’s support for the workplan.
4. The community partner must write a letter of support for the Summer Fellowship application, addressing the following questions:
- How long and in what capacity has the community partner known the faculty mentor and/or the student applicant? In what capacity has the community partner worked with the faculty mentor and/or student before?
- What experience, knowledge, skills, or capacities does the community partner believe the student applicant will gain throughout this project?
- How does the community partner believe the Summer Fellowship experience will help the student meet his/her career goals?
- How will the project impact community-identified needs?
- How does the project align with the mission and/or goals of the community partner?
- A brief statement describing the community partner’s support for the workplan.
Applicants must upload their materials to go.vcu.edu/vcuresearchfellowships by the deadline of March 10 for review.
Faculty Mentors and Community Partners should email their letter of support to email@example.com with the title “CEnR Fellowship Letter/(name of student)” by the application deadline. Awards will be announced in mid-April.
For help in thinking about your Summer Fellowship project, or about other ways to participate in research or creative scholarship, visit the Resources for Undergrad Research web pages, especially the For Students page. If you have questions, contact Herb Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.