Undergraduate Research Fellows Selection Process
The fellowship requires a commitment to scholarly activities. It is not just a summer job, but an excellent opportunity to learn and grow as a student researcher — it must be the main focus of your summer!
Applications for summer undergraduate research fellowships are due February 15. Applications are evaluated by the SD BRIN UGF Selection Committee made up of: SD BRIN Director Dr. Goodman, a representative from Augustana College, a representative from Black Hills State University, a representative from DWU, MMC or USF, and a representative from the USD Honors Program. Each committee member evaluates the applications individually and then the final selection is made at a group meeting at which all applications are discussed. It is the undergraduate fellows who are selected NOT the undergraduate fellow/mentor team.
After the selection of the fellows, institutional representatives contact potential mentors and consult the mentor/location choices of the selected fellows in order to place fellows in a laboratory. Decisions and placements will be sent to the applicants around March 15.
Evaluation criteria used for selection of fellows:
- Year in school – must not be graduating before the summer; sophomores and juniors have higher priorities than first year undergraduates.
- GPA – 3.0 required except for extenuating circumstances, which need to be described in the application.
- Personal statement – fellows with strong interest in either a research career or a biomedical profession, which includes a strong research component, are given highest priority; well written statements can be strengths for the final evaluation standing.
- Reference letter – strong letter of recommendation from faculty member at home institution is necessary to evaluate the dedication of the individual and their honesty in choosing a research career.
- Repeat as fellows – while fellows are encouraged to pursue other opportunities for doing research after a SD BRIN fellowship, fellows may repeat for one or two years especially if they are making good progress towards a scientific manuscript for publication or if they are essential to the training program in the mentor’s laboratory.
- Choosing location – to encourage diversity of training for students, applicants are strongly encouraged to choose to work in a lab away from their home institution; this lab may be in the same city as their own institution and still qualify.
- Choosing discipline – fellows with a strong interest in biology and mathematics/computer science who plan on doing bioinformatics research may receive high priority in selection and placement.
- Nepotism – any fellow selected cannot work in the lab of a parent or relative; assignments will be made with this in mind, so please be mindful of this when you select a mentor.
The number of fellows to be selected each summer depends upon how many each partner institution can support from their SD BRIN or other funds. Some institutions will also be supporting undergraduate fellows for academic year research. All salary support is paid by the home institution to the fellows as is the $2000 to the laboratory of the mentor to purchase supplies.
Successful candidates will be required to complete a commitment agreement prior to the beginning of the fellowship. It spells out the commitment that we expect from a fellow in our program.