Frequently Asked Questions

The Charles Center encourages you to read through the Frequently Asked Questions before applying for a Charles Center Summer Research Funding Award. Click the specific question to go straight to the answer or scroll through the page.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the online application?
For questions concerning a technical issue with the online application system, email support@embark.com or visit the Embark Application Support website. If this does not resolve the issue, please email [[lmgrim, Lisa Grimes]] at the Charles Center.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the specific scholarships and their application requirements?
Please submit general questions about the scholarships and/or application requirements to [[lmgrim, Lisa Grimes]] at the Charles Center. For questions regarding the Honors Fellowships, please email [[kmneuhart, Kristina Neuhart]] at the Charles Center.

I have applied for a Charles Center Scholarship through the online application system before. How do I start a new application?
Access the online application. Log in with your WM email address and the password used for the old application. Once you are in the system, you will need to change the answer to your Preliminary Questions by clicking the "update my answers" link located on the right of the William and Mary banner. Select Charles Center Summer Research under program for which you are applying.

What are the guidelines for the project proposal and/or personal statement for the Charles Center Summer Research Funding applications?
The project proposal can be uploaded (as a Word document or PDF) or typed directly into the online application. This proposal should be no more than 2 single-spaced pages and should address the following:

  • What is the question you are hoping to answer with your research?
  • What coursework or other experience have you had that is relevent to this proposal?
  • Discuss your methodology in detail: How will you carry out your work? What sources will you use?
  • What support do you have for the project? Where are your sources and how will you access them? (lab space, collections/archives, etc)
  • What will be the outcome of your research (article, play, website, etc.)?
  • Why is this work exciting or unique?
  • How will this research help further your own academic/intellectual development?

The personal statement can be uploaded (as a Word document or PDF) or typed directly into the online application. This statement should be no more than 1 single-spaced page. The personal statement will reflect on your intellectual influences and examine what you hope to achieve both here and after graduation. What led you to develop an interest in your field of study and the proposed research topic? As you reflect on what to write, be sure to consider your favorite authors, scholars, teachers, or classes. Also consider what things you want to study, why you want to study them, and what you hope to learn about your area of interest. Finally, consider the contribution you want to make with your research to our knowledge and understanding of your field.

Who can help me with my project proposal and/or personal statement?
The Charles Center’s Peer Scholarship Advisors are here to help with questions about developing and writing a project proposal and/or a personal statement. You can set up an appointment or drop by the PSA Office in the Charles Center to discuss your application with a PSA.

Who do I ask for a recommendation letter and how do I ask?
The letter of recommendation must be from a William & Mary faculty member who is best able to attest to your suitability to undertake the project. This would be someone who knows you and your work well. You should discuss your proposal with the faculty member before applying. If you would like someone other than a WM faculty member to write your recommendation letter, you must get permission from [[lmgrim, Lisa Grimes]] prior to applying.

Once you have determined which faculty member could best speak to you and your abilities to conduct the project proposed, email the professor to set up a meeting to discuss your proposal. Briefly explain your project and indicate that you need a recommendation letter for the application by the specific deadline. Your recommender may want to read your proposal so be prepared to bring a draft. Also, be sure to give your recommender plenty of notice so that s/he has an appropriate amount of time to write your letter. Six weeks is a good rule of thumb. You should make initial contact with your professor regarding your project and the letter as soon as possible. Don’t forget to tell your recommender the deadline and send reminders.  

After the faculty member has agreed to write your letter, you will register her/him for the  online system, using the online application. Once the recommender is registered, a message will be sent to the recommender with directions for uploading and submitting the letter. You can submit your application before your letter has been uploaded. The letter will upload to your application and you will receive an email once that has occurred. However, if your letter is missing after the deadline, your application will be incomplete and not considered.

Can I have an internship and receive a Charles Center Summer Scholarship?
Students may incorporate an internship into their project only if their time is not already committed to another undertaking, and the student is able to dedicate at least seven full-time weeks to the project.  For example, if the student is doing a full-time, seven week, unpaid internship with an environmental non-profit organization and this non-profit permits the student to dedicate full-time to the research, the student is eligible for funding. If the work with the non-profit is a fully paid job, however, the student may not receive funding because 100% of the student's time is already committed. A student cannot receive money for research if they are getting paid for an internship or if they cannot dedicate seven full time weeks to the research.

What is StudentIRB and do I need it?
The Student Institutional Review Board (IRB) oversees undergraduate research projects that involve human subjects. If your research involves human subjects in any way (talking to, interviewing, surveying, polling, etc.), your project must be declared exempt through the StudentIRB. To gain exempt status, you must submit your proposal to the StudentIRB prior to submitting your application for summer research support. You will be asked to indicate on the online application form when you submitted your proposal to the IRB. Please read and follow the instructions for submitting to the StudentIRB.

My research/program/internship requires me to travel abroad. Are there additional requirements for international travel?
All students traveling internationally with a Charles Center-funded grant are required to purchase international travel insurance to cover the length of time the student is abroad. The Global Education Office at the Reves Center strongly recommends that you purchase Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) insurance. Read more about CISI and how to purchase it from the Reves Center. If your destination is currently under a State Department Travel Warning, you will need prior approval from the Director of Global Education to travel there. Please see the next question for more details.

What is a State Department Travel Warning and do I need approval from the Reves Center to travel to my proposed research location?
The US State Department issues travel warnings to countries when long-term conditions make that country dangerous or unstable. If you plan to travel to a country which is on the State Department’s Travel Warnings list, you must petition for approval from the College, under the W&M Travel Warning Policy. This policy applies to all undergraduate student travel sponsored, organized, supported or recognized by the College of William & Mary.

Prior to submitting your Charles Center application, you must submit your petition to Sylvia Mitterndorfer, the Director of Global Education and receive approval. There will be a place on the Charles Center online application to indicate your petition submission date and approval date. 

If you wish to petition for approval to travel to a country under a Travel Warning, you should contact Sylvia Mitterndorfer, Director of Global Education for information about the petition process. All petitions for summer 2014 Charles Center-funded travel/research in a country under a Travel Warning must be received by the Director of Global Education at the Reves Center no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, February 17, 2014

Will there be interviews for the summer research scholarships?
 No.

Who reads the applications and chooses the recipients?
A committee of William and Mary faculty members reviews the applications and determines the recipients. The decisions of this committee are final.

How will I be notified that I received a Charles Center Summer Scholarship?
Recipients will receive notification by email with an award letter. Results will also be posted on the Charles Center website.

What are the requirements after receiving the award?
The award letter will contain instructions for how to proceed. All recipients of a Charles Center Summer Scholarship are required to blog about their research during the summer on the Charles Center Summer Research blog. WM Honors Fellows will blog about their research on the Honors Fellows blog. All recipients of a research award will present their work in the fall at the Charles Center's Summer Research Showcase.