Doing independent research in the spirit of J. Edward Richter since 1968
Ed Richter studied abroad at the University of Cambridge from 1921-1923. His transformative time aboard was unlike anything he had experienced in a traditional American classroom setting. He came to truly value independence of thought and the feeling of responsibility inspired through independent efforts. Subsequently, he was eager to have other students partake in an equally enriching learning endeavor.
Hundreds of Occidental students have benefited from the generous Richter Trust since 1968. The Independent Richter beckons students that are proactive, responsible, open-minded, and flexible. Students must work closely with their Occidental faculty supervisor to develop a successful proposal. The ability to work independently must be demonstrated throughout the proposal process and beyond. A combination of maturity, academic background, and relevant experience are all part of what it takes to be a successful independent research candidate.
Possible Research Project Areas
The number of research possibilities is limitless when designing an independent research project from start to finish. Majoring in the discipline that you are intending to research is not a requirement, however some relevant background is expected. Moreover, researching a topic that is related to your current course of study or perhaps your future comprehensive exams is favorable.
Some example projects conducted by past Richter scholars include:
- The Power of Music: How Public Health Organizations Utilize Music in HIV Education in South Africa
- The Effects of Environment Factors on Asthma in Lima, Peru
- High Efficiency Wood Stoves in Northern Uganda
- Textiles of Japanese Minority Cultures
- Social Performance of Madness in Elizabethan Theater in England
To learn more about what kinds of projects have been done in the past see the Richter Scholars page.
Once a student has identified an area of interest he or she should continue to the Proposal Process to learn more about what steps to take in order to be a successful Richter candidate.
In-country support and infrastructure
Due to the nature of independent research, students are expected to create their own infrastructure and support in country. Students MUST demonstrate that they have all the elements necessary to conduct successful projects while ensuring that they will remain healthy and safe. Below is a list of items that the student must acquire and set up prior to submitting their final proposal. Please note that IPO may be able to contract with one of their study abroad partner organizations for some in-country support, contingent upon the country selection.
- Letter of support from sponsoring organization or institution
- Emergency contact person on-site and contact information
- Country/city specific knowledge
- Safe housing situation
- Safe transportation plan
- 10 to 15 research contacts
- Realistic budget
- Detailed weekly itinerary
- Visa information
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (323) 259-2533
- Visit: McKinnon Center for Global Affairs Johnson 102