Community-Based Research Program

The Community-Based Research Program supports undergraduate students from any discipline who wish to complete a major research project while working with a community partner on a project that contributes in a significant way both to the advancement of student learning as well as the mission of the community organization.  The research must benefit the community organization, a specific population, and/or the community at large.  Community-based research takes place in community settings and involves community partners in the design and implementation of research projects.  Such activities should demonstrate respect for the contributions which are made by community partners and should serve the common good as well as respect the principle of "doing no harm" to the communities involved.

Successful applicants to this program receive a summer stipend of $4,000 and a $700 stipend for on-campus housing (if needed) from the end of May to the middle of August.  Recipients are expected to spend a total of 400 hours over 10 weeks working on their research and the resulting project.  This will involve time spent (as applicable and necessary) at their community partner organization and/or with the population that is the focus of their research, as well as time spent on research and development of a final, substantial project.

Students need to be sponsored and supervised by both a faculty mentor and a community mentor, each of whom will receive $500.

Applications for research projects to be carried out over summer 2015 are due on Friday, February 20, 2015.

Important Message About Summer Housing
Winners of a Community-Based Research grant are automatically eligible to receive a $700 stipend towards basic housing in an on-campus dormitory during the summer (if needed) -- BUT YOU MUST APPLY FOR A HOUSING GRANT by Friday, February 27, 2015.  If you are interested in staying on campus as you work on your Community-Based research project, be sure to apply for a Summer Housing Grant.

If you do not submit a housing grant application with your Community-Based Research grant, you will not be able to apply for a Summer Housing Grant at a later time. 

Examples of Possible Approaches to your Community-Based Research grant

• UST student Randy Hade (Dr. Lisa Waldner, faculty advisor) examined the impact of a community garden in a St. Paul neighborhood as well as community connectedness and civic engagement.

• UST student Katherine Cook (Dr. Lisa Waldner, faculty advisor) assisted Family and Children's Services to assess the effectiveness of their out-of-school-time program, “Youth on the Move,” in order to design better assessment tools.

Other possible approaches:

• Help organizations analyze their assets and the areas that they serve, as well as the needs and demands of the populations that they serve.

• Validate water quality and quantity in sustainable storm water management in partnership with a city’s department of public works.

• Assess the waste produced by a specific organization or neighborhood and provide data for improving disposal, recycling, and composting procedures. 

• Document the extent to which residents living in a specific urban area are limited in their search for employment by the current configuration of bus routes.  Meet with city and agency representatives to identify ways in which routes could be changed or new services developed to enhance successful transitions from welfare to work.

• Review previous studies and identify key indicators relating to affordable housing, use GIS to identify potential sites for affordable housing development ,and provide a final report containing a detailed explanation of methodology and findings. This research can be shared with community developers and could potentially be used to identify future development sites or used in policy and education efforts with the city council.

• In conjunction with a housing nonprofit, interview heads of households that have experienced foreclosure to determine the causes of foreclosures and what effect the foreclosures have had on the financial opportunities and social capital of the household.  Expected outcomes may include reports for agencies that work to prevent foreclosures.

• Assist local neighborhood organizations in researching important issues related to new transit programs.  Research and develop tools that local agencies and neighborhoods could use to evaluate neighborhood transit/walkability conditions, as well as issues related to transit station design and station area planning.  The results may be used to inform decision-making, advocate for positions on key transit issues and decisions, build capacity within the neighborhoods to participate in local involvement transit initiatives, and inform neighborhood agency staff and county/city elected officials.

• Interview volunteers at a local organization and analyze results to determine the satisfaction of the volunteer experience and ways in which the organization may strengthen its volunteer program.

• Conduct research for organizations that provide meals to people with life-threatening illnesses to determine the role of nutrition in their treatment.

GRO Staff Contact

Kathryn Hubly
Coordinator, Undergraduate Research Grant Programs
651-962-6039
hubl5714@stthomas.edu
Aquinas Hall 326

Application Forms