Community-Based Research

The research portion of the Sharpe experience provides students the bridge between academics and effective, real-world action.

The first half of a Sharpe Scholar's freshman year is devoted to learning the tools of ethical community-based research. The second half is devoted to developing that research. In the Sharpe Seminars, Scholars work together to study a specific community issue. They also work with community partners to ground their research in the real world. The goal is to plan a research project that will inform decisions and actions that address the issue.

While many freshman projects do not go beyond the planning phase, several scholars have taken them to the next step. Some students want to continue their Sharpe project beyond the first year. Others want to test their new skills on their personal research. Those students may compete for summer research grants. These grants are to support the student financially for 7 weeks of full-time research over the course of one summer.

Some Scholars find that their freshman experience colors their entire academic career. They may use their Sharpe experience to conduct a community-based Honors Project. Or they might use the insights they gain to plan a study abroad experience.