Application Requirements and Process

The Peak Summer Research Fellowship is designed to support students and faculty engaged in research in the two colleges it serves. Undergraduate students with a major degree in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or the College of Science are invited to submit a joint application with their faculty mentors.

Requirements & Materials

Students applying for the fellowship should have established a record of engagement in research with a faculty or doctoral-student mentor for at least one semester prior to the fellowship (this could include course-based research). They must demonstrate understanding of the research process in their discipline and show evidence of academic merit and dedication. Additionally, they must show that they have investigated and identified appropriate graduate school programs and national scholarships, that they have an understanding of the requirements of these competitive opportunities, and a plan as to how to submit a strong application.

Although there is no minimum GPA for applicants, GPA will be one factor in the evaluation process, and should be in keeping with the requirements or standards of the programs the student has identified as targets. For example, no USU student who has won a Goldwater award has had a GPA lower than 3.86 and the typical Marshall Scholar has a GPA of 3.8 or higher. For some awards, such as the Truman, Udall, and Boren, demonstrated achievement in public or community service, global engagement, or social justice are more important than GPA, though it is rare for students with a GPA under 3.7 to receive any of these awards.

Please see our table of national scholarship opportunities. You will find information on typical GPA and other requirements or standards associated with a variety of opportunities, plus links to the scholarship home page.

While fellows do not need to enroll for summer session, they do need to be currently enrolled as full-time students at the time of application (Spring 2023), and not planning to graduate prior to the end of Fall 2023. Most candidates for this award will be rising juniors or seniors, though rising sophomores may apply, especially if interested in the Udall or Goldwater awards. All applicants must be currently enrolled as full-time undergraduate students.

Students interested in applying for the Peak Summer Research Fellowship should discuss the opportunity with their mentors.

The online application form will open on February 1 and close at 11:59pm on February 15, 2023.

Applicants will submit the following materials:

  • Research Proposal:
    • A proposal narrative describing the project and providing a rationale for conducting the work.
      • The narrative portion of the proposal may not exceed 2,500 words (5 single-spaced pages, with 12-point font and 1″ margins) excluding citations.
      • Although a lengthy literature review is not required, previous scholarly work should be cited. The narrative should also include what the student hopes to accomplish.
      • In the sciences and social sciences, excellent proposals will: (a) orient reviewers to the greater body of relevant literature and convey why the project is important and significant, (b) present the goal, aims, or hypotheses for the project that are related to the previous literature, and (c) include a clear and descriptive methodology section that directly connects the project goals, aims, and hypotheses to the overall importance and significance of the project.
      • In the humanities, excellent proposals contain a description of the idea or question that the student will be exploring, the planned approach or line of thought, and the significance of the proposed work and the contribution that it will make to the discipline.
    • A timeline showing how the project will progress within the ten-week fellowship.
    • An education plan showing how this specific project (not the overall fellowship) will benefit you intellectually. Include 3-5 learning objectives and their impact on your education.
  • Academic, Research, & Personal Record:
    • An unofficial transcript current through Fall 2022
    • A current Curriculum Vitae, including research experience
    • A 500-word or less personal statement describing:
      • How you came to be involved in this research project and why you wish to continue your involvement
      • How the research fellowship will advance your specific educational and career goals
    • A 200-word or less statement of intent to apply for a national scholarship, fellowship, and/or graduate program
      • Specify the program(s) you have identified
      • Briefly describe why you selected each program you identify and describe aspects of your record and experience that will make you competitive for each program
  • Support
    • A list of other forms of funding for which you are applying or which you have already received for this period (summer 2023). Please specify the amount requested and (when applicable) the amount funded:
      • Do not include student loans or private scholarships
      • Do not include off-campus employment if it will not impact your ability to meet the fellowship’s time commitment for the ten-week period
      • Include on-campus hourly employment and indicate expected hours
      • Include any scholarships, grants or stipends that are related to research, such as Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities grants, College of Science Mini Grants, College of Humanities and Social Science Mentoring Grants.
    • A letter of support from your mentor, which should include a clear statement of their commitment to be present and available as a mentor throughout the 10 weeks an acknowledgement of your mutual plans to work towards a national fellowship application and/or graduate school application, as well as a description of any additional financial or in-kind support for your research (such as lab supplies, space) that they have agreed to provide.
      • Your primary mentor’s current CV
    • A second letter of support from a faculty member, post-doctoral researcher, doctoral student, or employer who can speak to your research abilities and your personal and intellectual character. You should also have discussed your scholarship and graduate school plans with this individual, which should be noted in the letter.

Review Process

A panel of faculty reviewers will evaluate each application, and the results of these evaluations will be a ranking of all applications.

Selection will be made on the following criteria:

  • Completeness of application materials
  • Clearly stated objectives in terms of continuing engagement in research, including intent to apply for specific scholarship and graduate programs
  • Sustainability of the student for the scholarship and graduate opportunities identified (e.g. academic record, including GPA, record of public service, or any other relevant characteristics for the specific opportunities identified)
  • Strength of the student’s project narrative and its relevance to their educational and career goals as articulated in the personal statement
  • Feasibility of the research project within the time given
  • Student’s demonstrated engagement with research
  • Faculty mentor’s commitment to the student and the project and willingness/ability to serve as a primary mentor through the application process for national scholarship and graduate opportunities
  • Strength of second letter of support
  • Potential for the student’s research perspective to contribute to the interdisciplinary cohesion of the Fellows group

Applicants will be notified of award decisions before the end of March.

Award Process

Upon receipt of award offers, all awardees and their mentors must formally accept the fellowship. The awardee must then submit the following documents:

  • A work plan detailing the ten-week commitment to full-time research that the student has made
  • A longer-term plan for the relevant national scholarship and graduate school application process covering the expected duration of the student’s undergraduate degree
  • Documentation relating to any project-relevant safety, lab-animal, or human-subjects research trainings, approvals, and certifications the student has completed or is in the process of completing.
  • An updated current and pending funding document
  • A Peak Summer Research Fellows agreement co-signed by your mentor

A mandatory meeting for all awardees and mentors will take place prior to the end of the Spring 2022 term in order to finalize meeting times and topics and begin to acquaint the fellows with one another.

At the conclusion of the fellowship in the fall, we will hold a second mandatory meeting with awardees and mentors to follow up and hear feedback on the program to share with its sponsors.