The Kenyon Summer Science Scholars Cascade 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 Scholars will gain experience conducting and communicating scientific research. As part of the Kenyon Summer Scholars community, they will join faculty and students from across campus for discussions, social events, and peer mentorship. Twelve Cascade Scholars will be funded by a grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, which limits support to projects in biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and physics. Limited additional support from Kenyon College are available for projects in anthropology, mathematics/statistics, and psychology. Selections for these competitive awards are made by a committee of faculty members from all participating disciplines, with final approval by the project mentor.

Dates & Deadlines

The next proposal due date is March 15, 2021. 

Information for Students

In collaboration with their faculty-student research team, Cascade Scholars will conduct their research over an 8 to 10 week period in the summer, at the end of which they will submit an abstract of approximately 200 words describing the project and results. Additionally, Cascade Scholars present their results at a research poster session during Family Weekend in October.

Cascade applicants will review project descriptions from participating faculty research groups, rank their top three choices, and briefly explain their interest in each project. Applicants will also submit a concise 300-word statement about how becoming a Cascade Scholar will help them achieve their goals at Kenyon and beyond.

The online application site will be available soon.

The Cascade 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 Cascade program. They should instead consider an application to the Kenyon Summer Science Scholars program. A student may not apply for both the Kenyon Summer Science Scholars program and the Cascade program in the same year. Students or faculty with questions about student eligibility should contact the Cascade program directors, Drew Kerkhoff and Kerry Rouhier.

Cascade 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.

Cascade Scholars will receive a $4000 stipend plus the provision of on-campus housing for the 8-10 week duration of their project. Students not requiring on-campus housing are not eligible for additional remuneration.

Each Cascade Scholar will be able to purchase up to $500 in mentor-approved materials, supplies, and/or equipment to support their research project.

Note on research expenses: All purchases become the property of Kenyon College and will remain with the faculty lab group after completion of the research project. 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. Funding for conference travel to present research results may be requested through the provost’s Student Research Grant program.

Students who complete all requirements of the program and who are endorsed by their faculty mentor will receive audit credit on their transcripts for this summer research experience. Students unable to complete all requirements must make alternative arrangements if they wish to receive credit.

Note on audit credit: 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 director of undergraduate research and the student’s research mentor.


Information for Faculty

Faculty interested in mentoring a Cascade Scholar must have an active research lab group with at least one student researcher for the summer, supported through the Kenyon Summer Science Scholars program or other College or external funds. Cascade 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 their research. They must also be willing to have their summer science students act as peer-mentors to the Cascade Scholar, guiding them in the research process and providing their perspective as a more experienced research student.

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.

Once the selection committee makes their recommendations for support, selected faculty will be able to review the application materials of the Cascade 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 Scholar will be recommended for their project.