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Young Research Fellows Program Seeking Applications from Undergraduates
The Young Research Fellows (YRF) program is currently seeking applications for its 2021-23 cohort. Young Research Fellows, guided by a faculty mentor, engage in two years of group mentoring in early research and creative inquiry development and have access to up to $7,000 in funding toward research expenses upon submission of approved budgets.
The YRF program expects active participation in group mentoring for two years, followed by engagement with incoming YRF members during the fellow’s final undergraduate years. Fellows can draw on their research funds at any point during their undergraduate career. Faculty mentors are eligible for a two-time grant of $750 in research funds. The program is supported by the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE) and the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA).
Candice Hatakeyama, a senior musical theater major in the Department of Drama in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, is an alumna of the YRF program. Her YRF funding helped her to develop a musical adaptation of the novel “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki, of which excerpts were debuted on Facebook Live in December and watched by more than 1,000 viewers.
Hatakeyama had read “A Tale for the Time Being” in high school and thought it would translate well into musical theater. In her first year at Syracuse, she learned about the YRF program and that it was open to all majors.
She worked on the piece for a year and a half and intended to hold a live staged reading in April 2020—until COVID-19 hit. “We had to scrap that format, but luckily because of shifting to a virtual format we were able to reach out to alumni and individuals from other universities to participate,” Hatakeyama said in an interview with CFSA Assistant Director Melissa Welshans. “Part of my project is a desire to uplift Asian American voices and Asian American performers, and by using a virtual format we were able to create the show with an all-Asian cast.”
YRF provided up to $4,000 to Hatakeyama for the project, which enabled her to purchase editing software and give a stipend to actors. “It was great to offer financial support to actors, most of whom were living in New York City and out of work because of the pandemic,” she says.
Brian Cimmet, professor of musical theater in the Department of Drama, served as Hatakeyama’s faculty mentor. “I enrolled in a couple of independent studies with him where he provided feedback on the project. I also received helpful feedback from frequent meetings with other Young Research Fellows,” Hatakeyama says. “It was really cool to see all the amazing work they were doing, too. Even though we were all in different fields, there was a lot of mutual support and excitement with each others’ projects. Everyone was really open to feedback and advice from other fellows.”
Another YRF past participant is Serena Omo-Lamai ’20, who studied bioengineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. She conducted research at Upstate Medical University, investigating the effects of the bacterial enzyme chondroitinase ABC delivered within biodegradable nanospheres on oligodendrocyte progenitor cell migration to spinal cord lesion sites. She was also a member of the laboratory of Alison Patteson, assistant professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, where she analyzed the effects of polyacrylamide gel stiffness on the growth and swarming properties of bacterial cells.
“The YRF program provided me with a wealth of resources and a broad support network which motivated me to engage in undergraduate research,” Omo-Lamai said in an interview last year. “My experiences have solidified my goal of obtaining a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.” She is now doing just that, pursuing a Ph.D. in bioengineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
The deadline for applications for the YRF 2021 cycle is Friday, April 16. The program is open to students in all disciplines. To be eligible students must:
- Be a first-year student;
- Have a minimum 3.75 grade point average;
- Have the endorsement of a faculty member willing to serve as faculty mentor for the two-year program; and
- Have a demonstrated commitment to research/creative inquiry.
To apply, visit the student application link.
Faculty mentors must:
- Meet with the student at least twice per semester;
- Complete a brief progress report each semester; and
- Consult on and approve student budget requests.
Faculty mentors are typically tenured or tenure-track faculty. For faculty with other kinds of appointments, please contact the SOURCE. The faculty endorsement link can be found here.
If you have questions or need more information, call the SOURCE at 315.443.2091 or email Kate Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SOURCE provides funding opportunities and serves as a hub to foster and support diverse undergraduate engagement in faculty-guided scholarly research and creative inquiry across all disciplines and programs at Syracuse University. CFSA’s mission is to make students, alumni and faculty aware of nationally competitive fellowship and scholarship opportunities; to help students and alumni identify scholarship opportunities appropriate to their interests and backgrounds; and to assist them through all stages of the application process, from planning to submission to interviews.