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Summer Research Funding

2024 Undergraduate Research Recipients

  • Ashtyn Abraham
    • Major: Exercise Science
    • Advised by: Allison Barry
    • Project Title: Perceptions of Exercise Beliefs and Nutrition Patterns in South Dakota Firefighters
  • Allison Fischer
    • Major: Ecology and Environmental Science
    • Advised by: Amanda Cheeseman
    • Project Title: Assess efficiency of a non-invasive modified camera trap design for surveying small mammals vs. traditional trapping methods
  • Keely Simonsen
    • Major: Exercise Science
    • Advised by: Marni Shoemaker
    • Project Title: Relationship Between Loneliness, Nutrition and Physical Activity in Older Adults
  • Isabella Radunich
    • Major: Animal Science
    • Advised by: Ana Menezes
    • Project Title: Effects of essential oils alone or in combination with monensin on degradation profiles of dry matter, organic matter, and crude protein in beef cattle diets
  • Bidhi Kasu
    • Majors: Biotechnology and Human Biology
    • Advised by: Natalie Thiex
    • Project Title: Determining the role of PAK1 and PAK2 in micropinocytosis
  • Andrew Pick
    • Majors: Ecology and Environmental Science, and Microbiology
    • Advised by: Lan Xu
    • Project Title: Investigating Microbe-Assisted Phytoremediation of Mine Site Pollution
  • Annie Feden
    • Majors: Ecology and Environmental Science and Wildlife and Fisheries Science
    • Advised by: Lan Xu
    • Project Title: Flame and Flora: Understanding Fire-Driven Plant Communities and Succession
  • Mason Comes
    • Major: Exercise Science
    • Advised by: Chaise Murphy
    • Project Title: Estimating Upper Leg Muscle Cross-Sectional Area in Adult Women with Implications for Sarcopenia Assessment


Below is the application process for selected summer undergraduate research programs at South Dakota State University. Applications for 2024 funding are now closed. Applications for 2025 funding will be available no later than February 2025. Guidelines in preparation for applying can be found below.

Awards will be competitive and based on the design of the proposed studies, quality of the application and potential for project success.

Students are able to submit one application for research support from a variety of different funding sources, including the Joseph F. Nelson mentorship and the Honors College Undergraduate Research Fund. Proposals will be matched according to the criteria associated with the various funding sources. All awards are capped at $2,500.

Keep in mind that this is not a universal undergraduate research application. Many departments, colleges and programs manage their own undergraduate research programs, and interested students are encouraged to pursue these opportunities as well.

*Note: This call for proposals was formerly distributed under the title of the Joseph F. Nelson Mentorship Program. In its current form, the common application materials submitted herein make students eligible for support from the Joseph F. Nelson Mentorship Program in addition to Honors funding.

Undergraduate Research (UGR) Program Application Requirements

UGR Program applications for 2024 summer funding are now closed.

The following materials will be requested within the online application:

  1. A one-page statement of the applicant’s educational and professional goals, and explanation of the role of the mentorship in allowing the applicant to achieve these goals. This should include reference of the impact of the proposed research.
  2. A one- to two-page original proposal for the student’s research written by the student.
  3. Applicant's unofficial transcript and/or course listing.
  4. Applicant's resumé or description of co-curricular activities (not to exceed one page).

Mentor Assessment of Application

Mentors are welcome to offer insight and to discuss the scope of what may be possible in a summer project, though they may not contribute to the writing of the proposal.

The Mentor's Assessment of Applicant form will automatically be sent to the Project Mentor after the student has submitted their portion of the UGR Application.

Undergraduate Research (UGR) Evaluation Tool

The UGR Evaluation Tool is included below.  Students should not submit this with their application but should refer to this when building their application.

  • One page statement of goals and mentorship experience (15 points)
    • The statement is well written (syntax, grammar, style).
    • The statement clearly reflects the student’s goals and the value of the mentorship experience to achieving these goals.
  • Proposal (55 points)
    • The proposal is original:
      • while mentor guidance is expected, must be written by the student
      • research is novel and not a repetition of previous work
    • The proposal is well written.
    • The abstract is a clear, concise summary of the proposal.
    • The proposal is described in a standard format (background/introduction, hypothesis/goals, materials and methods, expected outcomes/implications).
    • The hypothesis/research question is sound and clearly stated.
    • The research methods/approach are appropriate and described in sufficient details to demonstrate an appropriate level of understanding.
    • The research plan is feasible and of appropriate scope.
    • The importance of the research topic is clearly presented.
  • Students Transcripts and Curricular Activities (15 points)
    • The student’s grade point average and courses taken indicate academic excellence and preparation for success in research.
    • Extracurricular activities indicate engagement, leadership, and achievement.
    • Previous experiences indicate initiative, interest and aptitude for research.
  • Mentor’s Assessment of Applicant (15 points)
    • The applicant assessment supports excellence of the student by providing specific examples/sufficient details.
    • The applicant assessment describes a detailed mentorship plan for the student and demonstrates a commitment to scientific training of the student.