Science Scholars

2020-21 Science Scholars

Science Scholars awards provide research and scholarship opportunities to Occidental’s best students in the fields of biochemistry, biology, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, geology, kinesiology, physics and psychology (neuroscience emphasis).

Pictured Above: Our 2020-21 Science Scholars

Matthew Aleksey (left), working with Prof. Margaret Rusmore (Geology), Norris Scholar
Gabriel Gregory (top), working with Prof. Dan Snowden-Ifft (Physics), Norris Scholar 
Jacqueline Dall (right), working with Prof. Chris Oze (Geology), Fletcher Jones Scholar

We wish our 2019-20 Science Scholars, Elena Daniel (Kinesiology),  Ian Jan (Biology), Marc Kawada (Chemistry), Michael Kwan (Physics) and Fiona Pedrick (Geology)great success in all their future endeavors!

For more information about the 2019-20 Science Scholars, read our press release.

Benefits for Science Scholars

These highly competitive awards provide a total of $15,000 in support through the Junior and Senior years. The Science Scholar program is supported by an endowment from the Fletcher Jones Foundation and a grant from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation. The Science Scholars will receive:

  • Spring Junior year: study grant of $2,000
  • Summer after Junior year: study grant of $6,000, free on-campus housing and meal plan (if available)
  • Senior academic year:  study grant of $4,000
  • $3,000 Budget for research expenses and professional travel

The academic year study grant may affect Scholars' eligibility for loan and work-study programs.

Expectations of Scholars

The Scholars are expected to:

  • participate in part-time research activity (ten hours per week) during the Junior Year Spring semester
  • participate in full-time research activity for ten weeks during the Summer following Junior Year.
  • and participate in part-time research activity (ten hours per week) during their Senior academic year
  • prepare interim reports after Spring [junior], Summer [rising senior] and Fall [senior], and a final report for the Foundation in May of their senior year.

The research activities are expected to take place under the supervision of a faculty member at Occidental College.

Application Process

Because of the highly competitive nature of these Fellowships, a rigorous selection process will be employed. Interested candidates should discuss the application with their research mentor or the program coordinator. The application is open to students who are current juniors and who will be participating in research projects in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, geology, kinesiology, physics or psychology (Neuroscience emphasis) with supervision from a Occidental College faculty in these disciplines. Students planning to study abroad or away from campus during the grant period are not eligible.

The program review committees will determine which students will be considered for each award. Applications will be reviewed by the committee and those selected will be invited to advance to the interview process.

The deadline for application for the 2021-22 Science Scholar Fellowships is Thursday, November 19, 2020 by 5 pm PT.

The elements of an application include:

  • Application Cover Sheet (The Google form is only accessible to the Oxy community so you will need to be signed in to your Oxy email.) Be sure to complete the required form and attach the following components as a single file.* 
  • A 250-word abstract of the research proposal (on a separate page).
  • Scientific proposal, limited to five pages, prepared by the applicant, which includes each of these elements:
    • A brief survey of the background of the problem, its importance, known results, and directions for future research.
    • A statement of the specific question(s) to be investigated, and the proposed methodology.
    • A discussion of the applicant's earlier research work in this field and, in particular, any results obtained in the proposed area.
    • A brief appendix consisting of diagrams, references and similar information may be included. The appendix will not count toward the page limitation.
    • For Spring/Summer 2021: proposals should include a section labeled "Remote Contingency Plan" which describes how the work previously described would need to be altered in order to be conducted in a remote environment where COVID-19 precludes most in-person activity.
  • Personal information, limited to three pages, including:
    • One-page resume
    • Two-page personal statement describing the nature of the applicant's interest in scientific work, career goals in science-related fields and professional aspirations.
    • Include a list of previous honors, awards, presentations and publications and other achievements in the resume or personal statement.  
  • A detailed materials budget
  • A required Letter of Support Form and a letter from the proposed research mentor. (Letters should be submitted separately from the application and will be considered confidential). Please acknowledge that there exists a contingency plan for how to conduct some version of this research plan in a fully remote setting due to COVID-19.
  • A copy of your current (Fall 2020 and Spring 2021) class schedules including days and times
  • Occidental transcripts will be obtained by the URC.

*All contents will need to be merged into a single file. Use Adobe Acrobat or DOCUPUB to merge multiple files into a single PDF. Please use 1.5 spaced text, one inch margins and at least 11-12 point font, and save your applications packet as: Last name, First name_2021-22 Science Scholars before submitting.

The applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of the Chairs of the specified science departments. Applications will be judged on the basis of the quality of the scientific proposal and prospects for successful progress, the strength of support from the proposed research mentor; and the student's potential for leadership in science.

2020-21 Program Committee

Dr. Andrew Udit
Professor of Chemistry
Chair, Biochemistry Department, Occidental College

Dr. Joseph Schulz
Professor of  Biology
Chair, Biology Department, Occidental College

Dr. Michael Hill
Professor of Chemistry
Chair, Chemistry Department, Occidental College

Dr. Sasha Sherman
Professor of  Cognitive Science
Chair, Cognitive Science Department, Occidental College

Dr. Kathryn Leonard
Professor of  Computer Science
Chair, Computer Science Department, Occidental College

Dr. Chris Oze
Professor of  Geology
Chair, Geology Department, Occidental College

Dr. Stuart Rugg
Professor of Kinesiology
Chair, Kinesiology Department, Occidental College

Dr. Alec Schramm
Professor of  Physics
Chair, Physics Department, Occidental College

Dr. Andrew Shtulman
Professor of  Psychology
Chair, Psychology Department, Occidental College

Program Coordinator

Dr. Ron Buckmire
Professor of Mathematics, Occidental College