VERMILLION, S.D. -- The UDiscover Scholars Summer Program (UDiscover) at the University of South Dakota received a South Dakota Board of Regents Research and Discovery Innovation Grant to increase student stipends to a level comparable to other research experiences for undergraduates. The program will also implement an allowance for summer residency in on-campus housing, and will provide support for project-related materials, supplies and travel.
“The BOR Innovation award will raise the per-student funding of the UDiscover program to levels comparable with the most elite federally funded undergraduate research programs in the nation,” said Stanley May, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at USD who helped design the proposal for the grant. “Our vision is to see UDiscover develop into a signature program at USD, one that showcases our institutional values as well as our students’ accomplishments.”
The UDiscover program is grounded in the liberal arts mission of USD as it brings together a group of student researchers from a wide range of disciplines to perform 10-weeks of intensive faculty-mentored research in their own field and share their experiences with their peers.
“UDiscover is unique in that, unlike most undergraduate research programs that focus within a narrow discipline, UDiscover Scholars gain a broad perspective of the methods and cultures associated with the advancement of knowledge across a spectrum of disciplines,” May said.
UDiscover typically supports 10 students per summer on a competitive basis. Applicants submit a written application accompanied by a letter of support and commitment from a faculty mentor. UDiscover Scholars are required to present their results at IdeaFest, the annual USD multi-disciplinary symposium for the presentation of graduate and undergraduate research.
“The benefits of this program are clear for awardees – time and space and support to think, discover and produce new knowledges – but the benefits also extend to faculty and to the institution,” said Benjamin Hagen, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, who led the effort to increase UDiscover funding. “Both mentors and mentees learn a great deal through their collaborations, and undergraduate research aligns with the goals and values of USD.
“At a liberal arts institution like USD, dedicated to excellence in teaching and research, UDiscover can become a major program that will continue to support and showcase student learning and accomplishments across the disciplines,” Hagen said.