Saints Start Challenge Grants | St. Lawrence University Sophomore Success Initiative

Saints Start Challenge Grants

During the sophomore year, students are solidifying their plans for the remainder of their studies at St. Lawrence University and are beginning to consider career paths after graduation. However, many academic and career goals require skills, opportunities, and growth that can’t easily be acquired within the confines of a classroom or the format of regular classwork. The purpose of the Saints Start Challenge Grants is to enable sophomores to undertake research projects, creative work, volunteer service, or internships that will pave the way for success in their future.

The guidelines for the Saints Start Challenge Grants are as follows:

1.    To be eligible, students must have completed their sophomore year at St. Lawrence University and be enrolled for their junior year at St. Lawrence.

2.    Up to $5400 may be requested for support of your research, creative work, volunteer project, or internship. This money may be applied towards housing, supplies and materials, and a stipend to replace earnings from summer employment. Travel expenses or tuition may not be paid for from this fund. A detailed budget must be included that will justify the requested funds (see below for additional information about the budget). Further details on the funding schedule and process will be described in the award letter.

3.    A faculty or staff sponsor must write a letter of support for your proposal, explaining the extent to which the sponsor will be involved in this project (see details below). The sponsor need not be a hands-on on-campus mentor as in the University Fellows or Tanner programs, but should be willing to provide the periodic guidance and accountability necessary to help the student see the project through to completion. To reflect the time commitment involved, an honorarium of up to $300 may be requested by the faculty or staff sponsor, depending on the expected time commitment. Students need not budget for this honorarium in their proposals. A second faculty or staff recommendation must also accompany the proposal.

4.    It is expected that the bulk of the proposed project will be completed over the course of the summer between sophomore and junior year. A report and final reflection on your activities should be submitted to your faculty/staff sponsor and the Saint Start Challenge Grants committee by August 31. Presentations on the completed projects will be delivered at the Festival of Scholarship and Creativity or Festival of Science in the following Spring. Failure to do so may make you ineligible for future University grants or fellowships. The final two portions of your funding (up to $250 each) will be distributed to you after completion of each of the above-mentioned requirements. Further details on the reports, reflections, and presentations, as well as on the funding schedule will be described in the award letter.

5.    Applications should include: (1) a completed project/internship proposal, including a 250-500 word reflection on how the project relates to and will help facilitate your long-term academic and/or post-graduation career goals, proposed budget, and timeline--see guidelines below; (2) an unofficial transcript; (3) a recommendation from a faculty or staff sponsor, submitted via webform; and (4) a second recommendation from a faculty or staff person with whom the student has discussed the project, submitted via webform.

6. Completed proposals will include:

  • A descriptive title

  • The body of the proposal (not to exceed eight pages, double-spaced)

    • Introduction: What do you want to study or do with this project? What is the goal and/or purpose of your proposal? Why is this project interesting and worth pursuing (is it a new area of research, are you developing personal skills, etc.?)

    • Background: What do I, as a reader of your proposal, need to know about the topic to appreciate the significance of the project you are proposing? This section should show the review committee that you are well-informed in regards to the project’s implications, context and background and that you are proposing and are prepared to undertake it.

    • Project design and methodology: How will you actually accomplish the project, creative work, or research you are proposing? Think through the various steps and activities that you will need to perform to make it happen. What tools, equipment, surveys, online resources, etc. will you need to access? Discuss any skills or courses that you have already taken that will help you accomplish the project. Also discuss any skills that you will need to develop in order to complete your proposal, and how you plan on developing those skills. Also, how closely will you be working/coordinating with your faculty or staff sponsor?

    • Reflection (250-500 words): What benefits will the project have for you? How will this project further your overall academic and/or career goals?

    • Conclusions: What will you learn or accomplish in this project? What benefits will it have for the University or the wider community?

    • Bibliography: Include any references that you cited in your introduction, background, or project design.

  • A proposed timeline for your project/internship

    • As stated above, it is anticipated that the majority of your proposal will be completed over the course of the summer, with a report on the complete (or nearly complete) project due August 31. Compose a week-by-week timeline of the tasks that you plan to accomplish each week, approximately how many hours you expect to devote to each aspect of the project, and what tasks (if any) will need to be completed after the end of the summer.

  • A detailed budget with a written justification

    • Up to $5400 may be requested. Individual expenses should be listed in a table, with a written explanation included below. When preparing your budget, consider the following:

      • If you are not living at home or with family/friends, will you be paying rent? What materials, supplies, or equipment will you need to complete your proposed project? If you are planning to use resources on-campus or off-campus, is there a cost associated and have you received necessary permissions to use those resources (printing costs, library resources, software, etc.)? Note: you may not request funds for travel or tuition. Also, if you request any capital items (like computer hardware), they remain the property of the university.

      • If you would like to be on campus, you should budget $1280 or $160 a week to cover university housing from June-August (approx. 8 weeks of housing is available). Up to $3600 may be requested as a personal stipend, based on 360 hours of total work. If you are proposing to work less than that (see the timeline above), adjust the maximum stipend accordingly.

      • Up to $500 of your stipend (depending on the total amount requested) will be held back until your report is submitted in August and you present to the University in the Spring semester.

      • Note for internships: if your internship is already paid work, or if housing or other expenses are covered as part of your internship, you may still request funds to supplement that money provided by the internship (for example, if the internship pays you but the cost of living in that area is very high, you may request an additional stipend if it is justified).

  • A list of any and all other sources of funding at St. Lawrence to which you’ve applied for support for this project

7.    Proposals will be reviewed by a committee that will consider each according to the following criteria: how well thought-out, feasible, and polished the proposal is; how well-prepared the student seems in terms of ability to complete the proposal (based on courses taken, grades, and other skills mentioned in the proposal); the clarity of relationship between the project as proposed and the long-term academic and post-graduation goals the student has outlined in the reflection; etc.

8.    Applications will be submitted via webform and are due no later than 5 pm Wednesday, February 14.


Submission webform

Faculty/Staff sponsor recommendation webform

Faculty/Staff second recommendation webform