Undergraduate Fellowship for You First at VCU: First-Generation Emerging Scholars

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You First at VCU will fund undergraduate research fellowship awards for research projects mentored by VCU faculty focused on diversity, underrepresented perspectives, student success barriers (social, academic, and financial), new approaches and innovations to enhancing student success, faculty engagement, and teaching/learning approaches. Successful proposals must discuss how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience while simultaneously attempting to enhance our understanding of first-generation students' experience and the factors that influence first generation students' academic success. Student applicants should establish a partnership with their faculty mentor before applying. Each fellowship award includes $1500 in funding for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor. Faculty who wish to recruit interested student mentees are welcome to contact urop@vcu.edu for assistance.


The Undergraduate Fellowships for You First at VCU: First-Generation Emerging Scholars is open to full-time undergraduates with at least one full academic year left to complete before graduation, and whose research in any discipline(s) aligns with the focus areas mentioned above.

Application requirements

1. The student and mentor together 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?
  • 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 will potentially contribute to human health and wellness
  • 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.
  • A statement wherein the student pledges to 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?
  • An assessment of the extent to which the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge and skill in translational research
  • A brief statement describing the mentor’s support for the workplan.

Applicants must upload their materials to go.vcu.edu/vcuresearchfellowships by the deadline of March 14 for review.

Faculty Mentors should email their letter of support to urop@vcu.edu with the title “First-Generation Emerging Scholars Fellowship Letter/(name of student)” by the application deadline. Awards will be announced in April.

For help in thinking about your Summer Fellowship project, or about other ways to participate in research or creative scholarship, visit the Research Resources webpage. If you have questions, contact Herb Hill at hhill@vcu.edu.