The program enlists faculty and researchers to mentor juniors through part-time, paid research assistantships. The program provides opportunities for students to experience research first-hand and is intended to prepare students for undertaking senior honors theses.
Only students who have attained a GPA in the top 40% of the class at the end of fall term of sophomore year are eligible for the program. Eligible students are notified winter term of sophomore year. Students apply for the program during sophomore year (winter and spring), and the assistantships take place over two terms during junior year. Questions about student eligibility should be directed to the Undergraduate Advising and Research office.
Faculty are invited to submit project descriptions to the online project database (Click here for submission form and information). Note that this database is available to all students, but faculty may indicate that specific projects are only available to Presidential Scholars. Students contact faculty and arrange for interviews. Interviews should take place during winter term and the first 2 weeks of spring term so that all students have the opportunity to interview for an assistantship regardless of their D-plan. Once you have selected a student, the student will complete an online application form. When the student submits that form, an email will automatically be generated to the faculty advisor. The email will direct the faculty advisor to an online confirmation form which must be submitted to complete the application process. PLEASE NOTE: a completed application form and faculty confirmation does not guarantee acceptance into the program. If we have more applications than stipends, selection will be based on factors such as academic standing and the relevance of the project to the student’s major.
Faculty members can select up to TWO Scholars per academic year. Funds for the program are limited, so we are not able to fund more than two Scholars per faculty member per year. Faculty should therefore be sure to complete online confirmation forms for no more than TWO students. However, faculty who are willing to pay the $750 stipend from their own accounts for each of the two terms of the assistantship can choose to select additional Scholars.
Project descriptions should not be overly technical or use jargon or acronyms without explanations. The description should identify some responsibilities of the intern, the skills and knowledge to be developed, and the qualifications (or lack of) needed for the assistantship. While specific responsibilities may be redefined later, this type of description allows a student to get an idea as to what the assistantship entails. James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar projects need not be self-contained in the two terms or be an independent project. Many projects are "works in progress" as part of the larger research effort, depending upon the sponsor and upon the inclination and abilities of the student. It is beneficial to identify in your description if a graduate student or others on your research team will have the day-to-day contact with your Scholar in addition to you.
The interview is the appropriate time to clearly state for students the basic requirements that you feel are important, e.g., needing a 4-hour block of time to set up and complete a procedure, or attending a weekly research group meeting at a set time. It is beneficial to have students think and talk realistically about how a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar commitment fits in with their academic and extra-curricular commitments and to express where their priorities lie. For example, students often underestimate study time (including study groups), x-hours, office hours and sport time commitments (including practice plus games). You also may want to suggest that students contact your past Presidential Scholars to hear what the experience was like from a peer. We ask that you wait to select your Scholar(s) until spring term. This will allow students who are on leave or away on FSP’s or LSA’s in the winter to have an equal opportunity to interview for assistantships.
No, there is no guarantee that every interested faculty member will find a Scholar or that every interested student will find a faculty mentor.
Scholars are expected to work 7-12 hours per week for two terms.
It is expected that Scholars will assist faculty in their research. Students participating in this program are not expected to generate their own independent research projects. Many students become independent during the course of their Scholarship, but independence should not be expected at the outset of the assistantship. The faculty advisor and student should set up a work schedule at the beginning of the term, and this schedule should include weekly or biweekly meetings between the student and advisor. This will help to ensure that projects remain on track and that students are receiving adequate supervision.
Scholars are paid through the Dean of Faculty office from an endowment made by John (Launny) L. Steffens, Dartmouth Class of 1963. Students may receive $750 for each term of the assistantship.
No. Since Presidential Scholars are working as research assistants for faculty, it is assumed that the faculty mentor will cover any research-related expenses (e.g. photocopying, books, travel, etc.).
In the second term of the assistantship, students may receive independent study course credit instead of a stipend if it is deemed appropriate by the faculty advisor (subject to departmental criteria). Assistantships for which independent study credit is to be granted will involve a greater commitment of time and/or effort than non-credit assistantships. The faculty mentor ultimately makes the decision as to whether independent study credit is an option, and the student is responsible for registering for the independent study through the faculty mentor’s department. Undergraduate Advising and Research is not involved in the course registration process, but the student must notify the office if they will receive academic credit for the second term so that they are not mistakenly issued a check for that term. Students may not receive both honorarium and course credit for the same work.
The program is administered by the Dean of Faculty’s Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research, located in 107 Parker House (main office). The contact information is as follows:
Last Updated: 5/6/13