The Cascade Science Scholars program provides opportunities for first and second year students with no previous research experience. Selected scholars will work in close collaboration with faculty-student research teams in the natural sciences. 

Over 8-10 weeks, Cascade Science Scholars will gain experience conducting and communicating scientific research. As part of the Kenyon Summer Research community, they will join faculty and students from across campus for discussions, social events, and peer mentorship. Cascade Science Scholars are supported by the College and a grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. Selections for these competitive awards are made by a committee of faculty members from all participating disciplines, with final approval by the project mentor.

View the 2022 projects

Program Requirements

The Cascade Science Scholar will work with their Summer Science research team to conduct their research over an 8 to 10 week period in the summer, at the end of which the student member of the team submits a concise and accessible abstract of approximately 200 words describing the project and results. Projects may be submitted independently or in collaboration with a Kenyon Summer Science Scholar as peer-mentor and collaborator. 

Students present their results at the research poster session during Family Weekend in October.

Student/Faculty Eligibility

The Cascade Science Scholars program is intended to provide a pathway into research for students who do not already have established research-based relationships with Kenyon faculty mentors in the natural sciences. Thus, students who, before the semester in which they apply, have received academic credit for mentored research in the natural sciences, or who have held a paid position working on research in a Kenyon lab group are not eligible for participation in the Cascade program. They should instead consider a proposal to the Summer Science Scholars program. A student may not apply for both the Kenyon Summer Science Scholars program and the Cascade Science Scholars program in the same year. Both tenure track and continuing non-tenure track faculty may serve as mentors in the CSS program, but mentors must have a funded proposal in the Summer Scholars program to participate. Students or faculty with questions about student eligibility should contact the Cascade program directors, Drew Kerkhoff and Kerry Rouhier.

Application Process

A complete Cascade application consists of:

The Cascade Science Scholars Application

Project Rankings and Personal Statement: Cascade applicants will review project descriptions from participating faculty research groups, rank their top three choices, and briefly explain their interest in each project. As part of the same document, applicants will also compose a concise 300-word statement about how their coursework, interests, and aspirations have prepared them for scientific research.

Awards will be announced in early April. Notification will be by email, copying the faculty mentor. Students may not accept this award if they are participating in another summer research program or if they have on-campus summer employment, and if they accept the award, they are expected to commit to the CSS program and remove themselves from consideration in other programs.

Selection Criteria

Cascade Science Scholars will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • The potential impact of Cascade participation on the student.
  • The match between student interests and the chosen project.
  • Considerations of disciplinary and student diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • First generation students and students from groups underrepresented in the natural sciences are especially encouraged to apply.

Fellowship and Expenses

The current fellowship award is $4,000 per student plus provision of on-campus housing. Students not requiring on-campus housing are not eligible for additional remuneration.

A budget of $500 is provided to purchase materials, equipment, or travel that directly supports the research project. Any durable materials, supplies, and equipment will become the property of the College and remain with the faculty mentor’s department after the summer. All expenses must be approved by the faculty mentor and submitted with original invoice or receipt to the administrative assistant for the faculty mentor’s department no later than the last day of October following the summer project. Additional funding for conference travel may be requested through a Provost’s Student Research Grant.

Audit Credit

Students who complete all requirements as stated above and who are endorsed by their faculty mentors will receive audit credit on their transcripts for this summer research experience. Students who will be abroad at the time of the poster session may prepare a poster in advance for display at the session, or they may present their poster in the summer science poster session the following year to complete the requirements for audit credit. If neither of these options is feasible, other arrangements may be made with the approval of the Associate Provost and the student’s research mentor.

Information for Faculty

Faculty interested in mentoring a Cascade Science Scholar must have an active research lab group with at least one student researcher for the summer, supported through the Summer Science Scholars program or other College or external funds. Cascade Science Scholars are not expected to operate with as much independence as the typical Summer Science Scholar, so faculty are expected to take a more active role in their mentorship. They must also be willing to have their Summer Science Scholars act as peer-mentors to the Cascade Science Scholar, guiding them in the research process and providing their perspective as a more experienced research student.

Project Descriptions

Participating faculty must submit a concise (300 words) description, summarizing either the range of projects pursued in their lab group, or a specific project to be undertaken by the Cascade Scholar. As part of their application, students will rank their top three project descriptions and briefly describe their interest in each.

Final Approval Process

Once the selection committee makes their recommendations for support, selected faculty will be able to review the application materials of the Cascade Science Scholar who has been recommended for their project. At that time, the faculty mentor may waive the recommended scholar, but if they do so, there is no guarantee that another Cascade Science Scholar will be recommended for their project.

Dates & Deadlines

The next proposal due date is March 28, 2022. 

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