Research and Teaching Grants
Doing undergraduate research allows you to work closely with a faculty member. Not only will you learn a lot, but the skills and character traits that you display during the course of your project give a faculty advisor material to rave (or complain) about when it comes time to write letters of recommendation. These detailed letters carry a lot more weight when applying for graduate school than do the more general letters written on the basis of class performance alone. An advisor's detailed knowledge also can be tremendously effective when he or she is talking to your potential employers during phone interviews. (Yes, potential employers often do call the people you list as references!)
Talk to your advisor about these various scholarship possibilities — you may get some particularly useful advice particular to a given funding body.
- USX Foundation and Christine Toretti Undergraduate Research Awards
Students with a QPA > 3.25 can apply for $3,000 to support an independent research project. Talk with someone whose class you found interesting and see if the two of you can dream up a research project. Faculty often have appropriate projects on hand.
- Department of Energy Research Internships
Juniors and seniors can apply for research positions at selected national laboratories across the country that house amazing analytical facilities for geologists and environmental geologists. The link takes you to the list of labs — you will see that several are in great parts of the country, and perform a lot of environmental research. The appointments are usually for one semester and include a weekly stipend, free housing or a housing allowance, and one roundtrip airfare.
- Brackenridge Undergraduate Scholarships Brackenridge Fellows are selected on the basis of their academic record and the originality and promise of their proposed projects, as well as their aspiration to create and participate in an interdisciplinary community of students in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and applied disciplines. They get $800 per month over the summer months to free them from summer employment needs and enable them to focus completely on their proposed research project.
- Undergraduate Teaching Fellowships $600 is available to students wishing to help teach an course in collaboration with a faculty member. If you liked a class but could see ways in which you would have liked to have improved it, talk with the professor and see if your ideas can be incorporated within the class the next time it's taught.
- Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Fellowships $600 is available to students wishing to undertake some independent research. Talk with someone whose class you found interesting and see if the two of you can dream up a research project. Faculty often have appropriate projects on hand.
- The Nationality Room Scholarships A wide range of Nationality Room Scholarships support summer study-abroad experiences. These could include normal classroom experiences, or undergraduate research projects based in another country. There are scholarships specific to certain countries as well as ones that can be used for any foreign country. The amounts generally range from $1,000 to $4,000. A paid summer in another country beats a summer job in retail! The main caveat is that you need to be coming back for fall and spring semesters after your study abroad. This program is mainly intended for sophomores and juniors.
You have to go to the Nationality Rooms Program Office (1209 Cathedral of Learning, phone 412-624-6150) to check out the details and pick up the application forms. These forms become available after Thanksgiving, interviews begin in early to mid-December, and the last completed applications are due sometime in late January.
- Pitt's Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. This site maintains a set of announcements related to upcomig undergraduate research funding opportunities.