SRU student research grant applications due by Oct. 4

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Student doing research

Slippery Rock University is accepting proposals for its Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Grant, which funds up to $1,000 for SRU students to conduct research, either in a traditional laboratory or through scholarly, creative, entrepreneurial or civic activities.

Sept. 25, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — The Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Grant program at Slippery Rock University funds a broad array of student endeavors, be it a service-learning project to help underserved communities, expenses to attend a performing arts collaborative or a typical laboratory experiment.

However, there's one main reason why SRU awards multiple $1,000 SRSCA grants each year.

"This grant has many unique characteristics, but our ultimate goal is to give students a good learning experience," said Brad Wilson, associate provost for academic affairs and integrated learning, whose office administers the SRSCA grants.

Students have two opportunities each year to apply for the SRSCA grant, and based on the quality of applicants and funding available, the Office of Academic Affairs and Integrated Learning awards anywhere from 5-12 grants each year. The deadline for fall semester submissions is 4 p.m., Oct. 4. An application can be downloaded from the OAAIL webpage. A committee of faculty from each of SRU's four colleges and Bailey Library reviews applications and awards the grants.

The SRSCA grant program funds research, which is defined in a broad context to include any scholarly, creative, entrepreneurial or civic activity and is not limited to the traditional concept of laboratory studies in the sciences.

In the past two years, SRSCA grants have funded such projects as physical therapy students traveling to Peru to provide treatment and supplies to underserved communities; an exercise science student who studied training exercises for older-adult table tennis players to optimize their cardiorespiratory endurance; students from multiple disciplines using plants as a natural source to dye fabrics; and an opportunity for a dance student to study the technique of improvisation with a professional company.

SRSCA grant recipients work closely with a faculty or staff mentor. SRU also supports faculty-student research through other types of grants, but the SRSCA grant is different because it is initiated by the student who applies.

"The student works with a mentor, but they're responsible for writing the grant proposal and providing the information that's needed for the committee to review it," Wilson said. "The application process alone provides a good learning opportunity and a sense of accomplishment for the students."

Wilson acknowledged that some activities that would typically be funded under the SRSCA grant might be limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as travel to in-person conferences. However, on-campus research is permitted as long as safety protocols are followed, and there are still many opportunities to conduct research remotely, such as collecting online surveys.

"As part of the proposal, we're asking students to think about what they would be able to do virtually," Wilson said. "That's what we're dealing with in all parts of higher education and finding ways to adapt to this different environment. This might even open up a new avenue of how to conduct research virtually."

One of the reasons why research is so beneficial to students, according to Wilson, is the relationships that students develop with faculty.

"We support this kind of work because it's been clearly shown to have a huge impact on students when they're able to work closely with a faculty or staff mentor," Wilson said. "When students have that relationship, they are more likely to stay at SRU, complete their degree on schedule, and it gives them the support and experience they need when they are looking for a job or applying for graduate school. It's just a really great program for students."

For more information about the SRSCA grant, visit the OAAIL webpage.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu