Science Scholars

Oxy's 2019 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).

Congratulations to the incoming 2019-20 Science Scholars!

Pictured above, from left: (back row) Fiona Pedrick, Ian Jan, Marc Kawada; (front row) Michael Kwan, Elena Daniel

Elena Daniel, working with Prof. Marcella Raney (Kinesiology), Fletcher Jones Scholar

Ian Jan, working with Prof. Joseph Schulz (Biology), Norris Scholar

Marc Kawada, working with Prof. Jeffrey Cannon (Chemistry), Fletcher Jones Scholar

Michael Kwan, working with Prof. Janet Scheel (Physics), Norris Scholar

Fiona Pedrick, working with Prof. Margaret Rusmore (Geology), Fletcher Jones Scholar

For more information about the 2019-20 Science Scholars, please see our Press Release.


We'd like to wish our recent grads 2018-19 Science Scholars great success in all their future endeavors!

They are: Anne Marie Crooke, Charlotte Cullip, Joey Najjar, and Scott Nishioka

For information about the 2018-2019 Science Scholars, please see our Press Release.


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.

Applicants should apply once for consideration by both programs. The review committees will determine which students will be considered for each award. The deadline for application for the next Science Scholar Fellowships is Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 4:00 pm. Finalists will be interviewed and awardees announced early in the Spring 2020 semester. The application is open to students who are 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 away from campus during the grant period are not eligible.

We will select up to four Science Scholars for research between Spring 2020 and Spring 2021.

Benefits for Science Scholars

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
  • 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.  Applications should be submitted to the URC, Library, (Second floor, Old Wing, Room 253) no later than 4 p.m. on November 14, 2019.  Finalist candidates will be interviewed by the Program committee.  Decisions will be announced early in the Spring Semester.

The elements of an application for these programs are:

  • The application cover sheet. It is a fillable PDF form. You may need to need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat reader in order to be able to fill it in.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • A copy of your current (Fall 2019 and Spring 2020) class schedules including days and times
  • Grade reports (unofficial reports are acceptable) of academic work completed at other colleges and universities. Occidental transcripts will be obtained by the URC.

Please use 1.5 spaced text, one inch margins and at least 11 point font, and print single sided. Paperclip application, do not staple.

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.

2019-20 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. Carmel Levitan
Professor of  Cognitive Science
Chair, Cognitive Science Department, Occidental College

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

Dr. Margi Rusmore
Professor of  Geology
Chair, Geology Department, Occidental College

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

Dr. Dan Snowden-Ifft
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