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Washington and Lee Student Summer Independent Research (SSIR)

Developed as a complement to the Washington and Lee Summer Research Scholars Program, which promotes collaborative research between students and faculty members during the summer, the Student Summer Independent Research (SSIR) grantsĀ support rising seniors in the pursuit of their own research or creative interest, with the mentorship of a faculty member.

A student must propose a topic for the Thesis and describe what work would be accomplished with the assistance of the summer funding. Preference will be given to proposals for off-campus work; the student may plan to use the grant to travel to the appropriate place(s) to do first-hand research, or consult libraries or archives. The intention of the SSIR grant is not to provide time for writing or creative work in advance of the senior year, but to assist in conducting research that will inform the senior thesis project. The student should approach a faculty member for advice on the project and ask if he or she would serve as the mentor for the summer months of the project. Typically, that faculty member will serve as the student’s primary thesis advisor during the senior year.

The SSIR grant will provide a stipend for a minimum of four, up to a maximum of ten weeks of summer work. If there are no extraordinary expenses, the stipend is $310 a week. However, students with higher expenses may submit a budget for fewer than ten weeks of work plus expenses. For example, a student doing research abroad might submit a budget for 4 weeks of work ($1,240) plus $1,500 for airfare and higher lodging/food expenses. The maximum grant amount that will be awarded is $3,100.

An application should be no more than a two-page description of the project and the work to be accomplished during the weeks of the grant, plus a budget page if applicable, with a support statement by the faculty mentor which also certifies the student’s eligibility for the honors thesis. During the summer, the student and mentor are expected to stay in regular contact, at least by email, sharing ideas and work-in-progress, and the product of the summer work will be submitted to the mentor for review at the end of the grant period. Students will submit a brief report of the summer’s accomplishments to the Dean of the College and Dean of the Williams School by Fall Reading Days.

The College and Williams School will fund five SSIR grants on a competitive basis. Applications are due in late February to the Dean of the College office.

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