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2014-15 Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program

The VSGC Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program provides awards of up to $8,500 to rising juniors and seniors who are enrolled full-time in a program of study in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) and have a specific faculty-mentored research project that has NASA or aerospace relevance.

Awards are one-year, non-renewable scholarships. Students may apply for the following:

  • a $3,000 student stipend during the 2014–15 academic year and/or
  • a $3,500 stipend during summer 2014 or 2015 (must be specified in application) plus,
  • $1,000 research allocation for materials and travel to support research activities conducted during the academic year and/or
  • $1,000 research allocation during the summer 2014 or 2015 (if doing summer research).

The maximum award per year cannot exceed $8,500. This is a competivite scholarship program, funded by NASA and the Commonwealth of Virginia contributions, with the goals of:

  • Promoting undergraduate aerospace research while recognizing high academic achievement and promise
  • Increasing participation of underrepresented minorities, females and students with disabilities in aerospace-related careers
  • Implementing the goals of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  • Must be U.S. citizen
  • Must enrolled as a full-time student (minimum 12 credit hours) at one of the five Virginia Space Grant Consortium member institutions
  • Must have completed at least two years of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) undergraduate program and be classified as a junior or senior during the 2014-2015 academic year (must have at least junior status by summer 2014 if choosing this option)
  • Must be in a program of study demonstrating an interest in aerospace or supporting NASA’s mission
  • Must have a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

Required Application Components:

1. Statement of your academic goals – a brief statement written by the applicant relating to the reasons for his/her desire to enter a profession in a STEM field.

2. Plan of study – an outline of intended coursework for the remainder of your undergraduate degree program (uploaded as attachment)

3. Resume – submit a short summary of your career and qualifications, list any relevant education information and significant accomplishments (uploaded as attachment)

4. Research Proposal Aligned with NASA's Mission - VSGC's Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program encourages talented undergraduate majors to pursue aerospace-related fields and do research with a strong alignment with NASA’s four Mission Directorates.

A statement written by the student in consultation with the faculty advisor should describe: the key elements of the proposed research and plan of study. Applicants should submit a proposal for research that is no longer than 5 pages (not including references) and clearly describe the research objective and methodology. All research projects must be mentored by a faculty member and this mentor will be required to submit a letter of reference for the project. Applicants will be asked to specifically identify how their research relates to NASA's Mission Directorates. More information about NASA four Mission Directorates can be found in the links below:

  • Space Technology Mission - Rapidly develops, demonstrates, and infuses revolutionary, high-payoff technologies through transparent, collaborative partnerships, expanding the boundaries of the aerospace enterprise.
  • Aeronautics Research - Enable a safer, more secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly air transportation system.
  • Human Exploration & Operations - NASA space operations related to human exploration in and beyond low Earth orbit.
  • Science - Exploring the Earth-Sun system, our own solar system, and the universe beyond.

The selection committee is made up of university faculty in a variety of disciplines. Applicants should present their proposed research in a form that will be understandable to a range of readers. Only one Undergaduate Scholarship application per student per year is allowed.

For a list of research titles and abstracts recently funded by the VSGC through the Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program, visit the VSGC Student Research Conference web site. Visit this link for a list of sample research proposals that were awarded through the VSGC Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program.

5. Letters of Recommendation – provide the names and contact information for two references of which one must be the applicant’s current faculty advisor.  Letters of recommendation should assess the applicant’s potential as well as his/her progress and academic achievements. The on-line application system will contact both references via email to request a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant.  We suggest that you inform both of your references that they will receive an email from the VSGC in reference to your application.  Your references will be provided with a link to submit their recommendations.  We must receive both recommendations by the deadline for your scholarship application to be complete.

6. Transcript – An unofficial transcript with all grades through Fall semester 2013 is required and can be submitted as a PDF in the online application.  If the applicant is selected to receive an award then an official transcript will be required at acceptance.  If the applicant does not have a PDF conversion tool, links to free on-line PDF converters are provided in the application (uploaded as attachment)

Awardee Requirements:

  • Awardees should complete all research as proposed and must notify VSGC immediately of any significant changes in the research project or timeline.
  • Awardees are required to participate in the VSGC’s Annual Student Research Conference to be held in late March or early April 2015. Participation includes attendance and active involvement throughout entire conference, a poster presentation on current research progress, and submission of a research paper for inclusion in the conference proceedings.
  • Awardees must provide a head-shot photo and biographical information upon selection.
  • Awardees must inform the Consortium of any changes in contact information including email, phone, or address.
  • Awardess should plan to respond to academic and employment follow-up surveys administered by VSGC as required by NASA.
  • Awardees may also be asked to share research experiences in public forums, classroom presentations and professional meetings. Presentations that encourage interest in aerospace careers and research to high school students are of particular interest to the Consortium.

Disposition of Unused Funds:

If the scholarship recipient terminates his/her academic program during the 2013–14 academic year, the University is required to return a prorated share of the scholarship award to the VSGC. Scholarship funds are not transferable.

Application Timeline:

Applications are due by February 10, 2014. Awards will be announced by early April 2014 with funding provided to students through the universities for the 2014–15 academic year.

Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Application

(Applicants will be notified early April)

NOTE: Please read all program guidelines including applicant eligibility and reporting requirements before submitting your application.