Ignite Research Scholars

The Ignite Research Scholars program is designed to pair interested students in their first 4 semesters at St. Thomas with a faculty member engaged in summer research. Accepted students are matched to open positions with a faculty mentor to assist with the faculty member’s research goals and gain research skills through their collaboration.

Students selected for the program in Summer 2020 will receive a stipend of $2,350 for 200 hours of work (i.e. $11.75 per hour), and are eligible for reduced-cost on-campus housing if they apply separately for the Summer Housing Grant. Faculty who are matched with students and complete their summer work receive a stipend of $750.


Students must submit their applications by Sunday, February 16th at 10:00 pm CST.

The deadline to submit faculty projects for Summer 2020 has passed.

2020 Projects now available

15 faculty projects are in the pool for Summer 2020. Student applicants are invited to take a look at what's possible!



Faculty submit a project proposal for which they are seeking an undergraduate assistant.


Students submit a brief application and personal statement to be considered as an Ignite Research Scholar.


Students are notified of their selection.

Student review available research projects, take opportunities to meet with mentors in person, and provide rankings of their preferred matches.


Student/faculty matches are confirmed.


Students meet with their faculty mentor to set expectations for their summer collaboration. They complete and submit a collaboration agreement to UROP.


Students attend orientation and begin their mentored work.


Student and faculty complete their collaborative work according to the collaboration agreement.


Students complete their paid work and submit a written report of their collaboration to UROP.


Students present a poster based on their research collaboration at Inquiry Poster Session.

Student and Mentor Expectations

Students who apply for this program should expect to:

  • provide a thoughtful, revised personal statement in response to a short series of prompts no later than the posted deadline.
  • be open to collaborating with a faculty mentor on a project and perhaps in a field that is entirely new to them.
  • be eligible to accept paid employment at the University of St. Thomas during the summer for which you are applying.

Students who participate in this program should expect to:

  • review the available project ideas and rank their preferences, with the understanding that they may not be assigned to their highest-ranked choices.
  • meet in person with their matched mentor prior to the end of spring semester.
  • develop a collaboration agreement with the mentor prior to the start of research, an agreement that will serve as a statement of faculty expectations and a timeline/guide with benchmarks for the student’s learning.
  • commit and schedule 200 paid hours to the project between the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the fall semester, according to a schedule set out in the collaboration agreement.
  • attend a start-of-summer program orientation.
  • receive an invitation to participate in a UROP summer research community, a group made up of summer research students who meet at least three times through the summer to discuss progress and professional skills.
  • gain research skills that they can apply to new projects and experiences after the program’s end.
  • write a final report on their research progress, the parameters of which will be defined by the collaboration agreement.
  • present the results of their research at Inquiry Poster Session.


Faculty who apply to this program should expect to:

  • provide a brief description of a proposed summer project that will further their research agenda, one that states the question to be investigated, the expected outcome of the collaboration with a student, and the student’s likely tasks and role.
  • be included in a pool of available projects to student applicants, and be aware that not all faculty projects will be matched with selected students in any given year
  • be available to meet with students in person, either in a group setting hosted by UROP or individually, as a part of the matching process.
  • be prepared to supervise and mentor an early-career student on job tasks, professional expectations, and research skills.

Faculty who participate in this program should expect to:

  • develop a collaboration agreement with the mentee prior to the start of research, including but not limited to schedule, training, tasks, supervision, and other professional expectations.
  • pursue the collaboration agreement as proposed, with additional supervision and training as needed.
  • guide the student towards the creation of the final report and research poster.
  • consider offering more sustained mentoring after the program’s end, either formally or informally.
  • advise students on their next steps as researchers, ideally by helping them seek more advanced experiences.

Any student who has been enrolled at the University of St. Thomas in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program for no more than 4 semesters is eligible to apply.

No Academic Credit: You may not receive academic credit for the research you are doing as an Ignite Research Scholar.

Current Academic Standing: You must be an associate’s or bachelor’s degree-seeking student at the University of St. Thomas at the time of your application, as well as during the semester following the summer of your award. You cannot have completed more than four semesters at St. Thomas at the time you will begin as a [name] (i.e. as of the end of the spring semester immediately before the beginning of your research collaboration).

No previous mentored, university-level research experience: If you have previously participated in an advanced research experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor outside of the classroom, you are probably not eligible to apply for this program. This applies to recipients of other UROP grants, former or current employees of faculty research labs and research centers, recipients of the Partnership in Learning Grant, and co-curricular mentored collaborations in your department or college. This does not apply to research conducted for credit, e.g. course-based research experiences, research methods courses, and labs.

No Additional Funding: You may not accept additional scholarship or grant funding (except for a Summer Housing Grant) related to your research project during the grant period.

Faculty Mentoring Required: You must be mentored by a faculty member at the University of St. Thomas. This cannot be a project that you complete solely on your own, nor is a collaboration with a faculty member from another institution eligible for this program.

Yes! International students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program may participate. If selected, a participating student will be employed through an hourly position on campus. International students preparing an application should discuss their employment plans with OISS to ensure that employment as a student researcher will not conflict with any student visa requirements and restrictions.

You may apply up to 2 times within your first four semesters at St. Thomas. If selected, you may only participate once. If you are selected and complete the program, you are strongly encouraged to seek out and apply to other research experience in subsequent terms, including other UROP grants.

Faculty reviewers on the Undergraduate Research Board will read and rate each applicant’s responses to the provided questions. The qualities most valued by reviewers are thoughtfulness in response to the question and preparation of a clear answer.

Due to limited space, all students meeting threshold requirements will be entered into a lottery, from which a pool of scholars will be selected. The final pool of selected students may be revised to reflect UROP’s goal of increasing research participation of underrepresented students, including first-generation students.

To apply, you must submit a short online application and respond to 3 out of 4 questions that make up your personal statement. Each response should be no longer than 300 words.

The questions you need to prepare are:

  • What motivates you? What makes you curious?
  • How might assisting on an original research project relate to your own interests and goals? What do you hope to learn from this experience?
  • What are some strengths that would make you a good collaborator? What about your learning style, personality, or passions would you like someone to be acquainted with before they start working with you?
  • Describe a situation where you faced a difficult challenge and explain how you responded.

When you are ready to apply, go to the link provided in the sidebar of this page and complete your information. Your application materials must be submitted by 10:00 pm on the date of the posted deadline to be considered.

Any St. Thomas faculty member can submit a project, and all projects submitted by the deadline will be included in the pool of available projects for student participants.

To submit your project for matching with an undergraduate research assistant, go to the application button in the right sidebar of this page. You will need to respond to the following questions:

  • What is your research goal for the summer? What do you seek to accomplish? What kind of work will it take to meet this goal?
  • What is your brief research history? How did your previous work lead to your current project? Why are you interested in this question?
  • What are some likely tasks or roles of a student collaborator on this project?
  • What are some qualities or skills that a first or second year student should bring to this work? What kind of learning styles or traits would be likely to allow a person to thrive in collaboration with you?
  • How would you describe yourself as a mentor and colleague? What is your work and collaboration style? What can a student expect to learn in collaboration from you? How have you mentored undergraduates in the past?

Keep in mind that undergraduate students will be the primary audience for what you write and present in your project plan. Your responses will be compiled and added to this site for student applicants to review. After the student participants are selected in March, you will be invited to an optional group meet-and-greet to start the matching process. If you cannot attend, please be available for office hours to meet with potential research assistants. Students will meet with you and other faculty and provide a ranked list of projects they would like to participate in. Once the matching process is complete, you will be notified of your match and set up a meeting with the student to begin developing your collaboration agreement for your summer work. Student research assistants will be hired and paid by UROP.

Please note that as this program accepts all faculty projects and limits the student pool, faculty projects are not guaranteed a matched research assistant.