Students injecting conductive jelly into an electrode cap

Summer Scholars Institute

College of Sciences and Engineering

Summer Scholars Institute horse


Summer Scholars Institute 2023

The College of Sciences and Engineering and the Center for Research Excellence is pleased to announce the sixth annual USC Aiken Summer Scholars Institute (SSI) in support of student-faculty summer research. External funding from ADP, SC INBRE, and WORC has enabled SSI to increase STEM undergraduate research activity at USC Aiken.


  • SSI is open to USC Aiken undergraduates in STEM disciplines.

  • Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.8.

  • Each student must be mentored by a USC Aiken faculty member.

  • Mentors provide a 1-page research proposal incorporating the student, along with a mentoring plan providing sustained and purposeful interaction with the student mentee.

  • Student salary/stipend: $3,000 total (salary and fringe); Faculty salary: $5,000 total (salary and fringe). Funds may only be used for salaries/stipends. Mentors must have the equipment/supplies to conduct the proposed research.

  • Students and faculty are expected to attend weekly professional development workshops.

  • Students will present the results of their work as a poster at the SSI Research Symposium.

  • Students with ongoing summer funding (e.g., Magellan, INBRE) may submit their original proposal as part of the application.

Proposals are due by 5 p.m., Friday, March 24, 2023. Recipients will be notified in the first week of April.

To apply, mentors must first complete the items below and upload a 1-page research proposal and required supporting documentation as one document.

Proposal Requirements

  • Centered at top of proposal page, include your project title. Under title: student’s full name, major, mentor’s name, and department.
  • Proposal Page Limitations: May not exceed one (1) single-spaced page. References may be on an additional page and are not included in the page limit.
  • Format: Use a readable font (Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc) and a font size of 11 points or larger with 0.5 inch margin (top, bottom, left, and right).
  • A clear, concise description of the proposed project, which includes the following required sections and their required titles. The following order is suggested but may be altered for narrative flow: 
    • Research question (OR Research statement)
    • Project description
    • Project impact (including how the project is connected to student’s academic, personal, or professional goals)
  • References cited (OR Works cited, Bibliography, etc) (Not included in page limit; can be an extra page)
  • Current and Pending Support: Please attach the mentor’s current and pending support (funding). If no other funding exists, please indicate that as well. A statement must also be provided that indicates the availability of the mentor and student during the summer to conduct the research proposed. (Not included in page limit, can be an extra page)
  • Faculty mentor must provide a concise plan of how the faculty mentor will have  sustained and purposeful interactions with the student during the research period (Not included in page limit, can be an extra page).
  • A completed proposal includes:
    • The one-page description of the project with the student’s full name and title of project at the top as described above. No title page is needed.
    • A reference page.
    • A statement or page about the mentor’s current and pending support and availability of the mentor/student during the summer.
    • A mentorship plan.

Requirements for Recipients

  • Either the faculty mentor or the student must attend the weekly meetings scheduled by the Center for Research Excellence. Excused absences may be granted with prior approval of the Center for Research Excellence.
  • Funds for SSI are only to be used for salary/stipend. Faculty mentors are expected to have equipment and supplies to conduct the research proposed. Funds from SSI may not be used for equipment/supplies purchases.
  • At the end of the summer, there will be a special poster session. All student researchers are required to present their SSI funded research at this poster session.

For research projects involving vertebrate animals

  • Proposals may be submitted prior to approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
  • Include a statement within your project description/timeline that you are submitting for IACUC approval and will comply with all rules, regulations, and training requirements.
  • NOTE: Projects involving animals must maintain compliance with regulations at all times or funding will be revoked.
  • For more information, mentors may contact the Chair of the USC Aiken IACUC: Dr. April DeLaurier (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

For research projects involving human participants

USC Aiken is required by the federal government to follow strict guidelines when human subjects are involved in research projects requiring Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.  Human subject’s research INCLUDES studies that use:

    • data collected through interventions, interactions, or observations with human participants (e.g., surveys, interviews, testing, or observational procedures); and/or
    • existing data sets containing any personal information (e.g., medical records, educational records, voting records).
  • Include a statement within your project description/timeline that you are submitting for Human Subjects approval and will comply with all rules, regulations, and training requirements.
  • For more information and applications:
  • For Human Subject FAQs:
  • For ALL Human subjects questions: contact the USC Office of Research Compliance (; 803-777-7095)
  • Projects involving human subjects must maintain compliance with regulations at all times.