William & Mary

Freshman Summer Project Guidelines

Most of the funding currently available to support undergraduate research at William and Mary is awarded for advanced research conducted by upper-level students in the areas of their declared majors. In contrast, the Freshman Monroe grants are intended explicitly to augment the pre-major, general education experience of first-year Monroe Scholars.

For the summer of 2015, the Monroe Scholars Program will provide stipends of $1,000 to approximately 50 first-year Monroe Scholars to undertake projects that extend or build on topics that have been introduced in their freshman classes.

Please be sure to read the Guidelines below carefully before you begin the application.

NOTE: We strongly recommend that both upperclass and freshman Monroe Scholars make an appointment to meet with a Swem Research Librarian unless their proposed project is a continuation of science labwork. 

Successful applicants will each devote a minimum of 2 full-time weeks (80 hours) to their projects (or the equivalent, e.g., 4 half-time weeks), although many projects may take longer than this and it is important that students propose a length of time that is sufficient to accomplish their stated objectives. Each successful applicant will receive a stipend of $1,000. Because the stipend is intended to buy the student's time for two weeks, applicants are not required to submit detailed project budgets or justify expenses.

  1. The application process is entirely online this year. Please watch your email for the link to the proposal form. The application is due by 12:00 noon on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. In putting together the proposal, each applicant must consult with an advisor who is a William & Mary faculty member knowledgeable about the topic.  This advisor may be - but does not have to be - the instructor of the course that inspired the proposed project. If you have questions about finding an advisor, please email [[lmgrim, Lisa]].
  2. Students may propose topics that are tied to either their Fall 2014 or Spring 2015 courses, but all projects must be specifically tied to one or more of the courses they have taken. For example, if a student has studied a film made by Alfred Hitchcock in a freshman seminar, he or she may propose to conduct a comprehensive study of all of the films made by that director. Similarly, if a student has studied volcanoes, or a specific statistical technique, environmental regulation, or religious practice in a freshman course, he or she may propose a project that extends or builds on this experience. The key criteria here are "extends or builds on": for example, a student who has not studied Japanese art in a freshman course may not propose a project on this subject for this scholarship. Please note that travel is not required.
  3. Each successful applicant must :
    a)  spend a minimum of two full weeks on their research
    b) post a brief abstract of the Monroe project to the Freshman Monroe Research blog 
    c) post a minimum of thhree additional entries to the Freshman Monroe Research blog throughout the course of the research during the summer, the last of which will be a summary of your research
    d) post at least two substantive comments to other Freshman Monroe Researchers' blogs
    e) present their work at the Charles Center-sponsored Summer Research Showcase event in the fall.

The Proposal

Please use this sectioned format when writing your proposal. 1.5-2 line spacing is good.

There are no word limits. Use the amount of space you need to fully answer the question without being repetitive. See the Peer Scholarship Advisors for help with that.

Section 1: What do you propose to do / what question(s) do you hope to answer?

Section 2: Explain why you want to do this research. What are your goals in undertaking the project, and why is the project you are proposing the best way of achieving these goals? Why do you find the work exciting?  How do you think this research project fits in with your intellectual development?  While this is not required, if you think this project might lead to further work, such as continued lab experience, an independent study during the next academic year, a portfolio, etc., please describe.

Section 3: Explain the relevance of this work in the greater scheme of things / to people besides you and your advisor. Do not use jargon.

Section 4: What course inspired your choice of research topic?  If you have had other coursework or independent experience that will help prepare you to conduct the research you are proposing, please describe.

Section 5: Discuss your methodology. What is your research plan? Where do you propose to conduct the research and why is it necessary to be there? Describe the timeline, making sure that the project lasts a minimum of two full-time weeks. Note that the project may be spread out over four half-time weeks, etc., as long as it lasts for at least 80 hours.

In this section, please address the following logistical questions. If any of them applies to you, be sure to indicate where you stand in the process. 

  • If your research involve human subjects in any way, you must complete the CITI training and submit your research protocol to the Student IRB. Your IRB protocol must be submitted by the February 25 deadline. You will need to work closely with your advisor on the IRB protocol. Don't wait to do the CITI training. If you even suspect that your work will involve human subjects, do that first (it takes about 3 hours). See this page for details: http://www.wm.edu/offices/sponsoredprograms/researchcompliance/guidanceandprocedures/studentirb/index.php  If you're not sure if you need to go through the IRB process, please talk to Lisa (office hours 10-1 Mondays and by appointment).
  • If your research involves international travel, you must purchase travel insurance. http://www.wm.edu/offices/revescenter/studyabroad/healthsafety/healthinsurance/index.php
  • If you propose to travel to a country under a travel warning, you must petition for approval. Nick Vasquez, the International Travel and Security Manager in the Reves Center, is the contact person for that. The deadline for petitioning is April 15, 2015.

Additional Resources

Read the FAQ for more information.

William and Mary 1693 Scholars are not eligible to apply for the Freshman Monroe grant.

Samples of Successful Freshman Monroe Research Proposals

Nicky Bell: An Analysis of Grassroots  Movements in Spain as a Response to the 11-M Madrid Train Bombings (Hispanic Studies 207 with Prof. Arwari)
Click here to read Nicky's blog posts

Adam Lerner: The Role of Free Will in American Political Thought (Government 392 with Prof. Stow)
Click here to read Adam's blog posts