With students just returning from fall break, it’s the season for SRTG – Student Research and Travel Grants – at New College.
SRTGs are funded by the New College Foundation for up to $2,000 per project, meaning that donations from supporters are crucial.
The grants can support a number of student activities: travel to present at professional conferences, study abroad for the AOC, and research for the AOC, thesis planning or the thesis itself.
For example, Evan Teal, a third-year biology/chemistry AOC, received funding last year to travel to Kenya for research on how bacteria might be used in preventing the transmission of malaria. Teal lived outside Nairobi for two months last summer.
Olivia Ferrero, a thesis student with an environmental studies/art AOC, used her funding to take summer courses at University of Florida, allowing her to round her specialized program and to devote this year to field work in the Everglades.
William Cooney, also a thesis student this fall, is developing an AOC in urban planning, and used his funding to attend a six-week program in the field at University of California-Berkeley. The work, he said, is a springboard to his thesis and ideally a graduate program.
“Student research and travel grants provide access and opportunity to any student seeking innovative and exciting educational opportunities,” said Courtney Hughes, associate director of the Center for Engagement and Opportunity, and an administrator of the program. “The application process is straightforward and comprehensive which allows the student to showcase their work, receive feedback on their materials, and take pride in their product — and their merit award.”
To apply, students provide a project proposal stating research goals, including methods, outcomes and deliverables, a budget and budget narrative, a biographical statement, a letter of recommendation from a New College faculty member sponsoring the project, and a transcript and documents to support the program costs.
If that sounds intensive, it’s for a reason, Hughes said: “We do this to teach students the basics of grant writing and project proposal – a skill many of them will continue to use in graduate school, their professional careers, and in their personal community service endeavors.”
There are two cycles per year, with applications due right after fall break, and right after spring break. Each application is reviewed by a panel of three faculty members and three alumni. On average, 60 students apply per cycle, and about 90 percent of projects receive at least some funding.