STEM Scholars Program

The STEM Scholars Program aims to prepare students to excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduate and professional education and careers. The STEM Scholars Program (SSP) provides full-time summer research experiences to Agnes Scott students in astrophysics, physics, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, engineering, mathematics, computer sciences, biomedical sciences, and interdisciplinary variations of these. 

Students are mentored by ASC faculty (and sometimes by faculty from nearby ARCHE institutions) to conduct authentic, cutting-edge research projects. The full-time experience of true research, with all its challenges and rewards, helps students gain essential skills for STEM scholarship and workforce leadership, and offers the chance to understand how researchers build new knowledge.

  • ASC Program dates: June 1- July 31, 2019   (check project listing for exceptions)
  • Full-time research: 40 hours per week
  • Research awards:
    • $1600.00  (4-week projects)
    • $3200.00  (8-week projects)
    • $3500.00  (10-week projects) -- (applies to some ARCHE opportunities)
  • Research ethics seminars series
  • Professional development workshop series
  • STEM community talks and social events
  • Opportunities to present research to academic and public audiences

Research Group Location

  • Agnes Scott College
  • ARCHE institutions (Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education)

STEM Scholars Program offers funding for student research at Agnes Scott College, and at approved ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education) institutions.  In 2019, four ASC faculty-led projects will be conducted principally at Agnes Scott College.  In addition, several faculty from Emory and Morehouse School of Medicine have invited interested students to contact them for more information about research in their groups.  All ASC faculty projects are described in detail on the ASC Projects tab.  ARCHE groups inviting student inquiries will be updated to the ARCHE Mentors tab as available. The SSP application allows students to select both ASC and ARCHE projects, and to explain their research priorities within the personal statement. Students who are interested in joining an ARCHE research group should pay close attention to the special instructions & checklist for submitting a proposal on the Proposal tab.  

Please note that prior research experience is NOT required. Prerequisite coursework and skills
depend on each individual project. All STEM-interested students are encouraged to apply.  STEM Scholars Program welcomes DACA and international students.

To be eligible for STEM Scholars Program funding in summer 2019, applicants must:
• Be an ASC student, currently enrolled, in good standing
Be interested in pursuing a STEM-related career
• Commit to full attendance and participation during the program and research dates
• Submit a valid application by the deadline
• NOT have earned a previous B.A. or B.S. or plan to graduate or transfer before Dec 2019




During summer 2019, the STEM Scholars Program provides funding for faculty-student collaborative research, including:

  • Student awards for 4-, 8-, and 10-week projects ($1600, $3200, and $3500, respectively) 
  • Student housing: ASC housing during Summer I & II session; double occupancy; interim housing (outside program dates) is not covered by program.   

STEM Scholars Program is generously supported by:

  • Frances Marx Shillinglaw Women in Science Fund (math and natural sciences)
  • Anonymous Research Fund (all STEM disciplines including biomedical sciences, health professions and public health)
  • Goizueta Foundation (all STEM disciplines)
  • Marion T. Clark Research Fund  (Chemistry)
  • William Joe Frierson Research Fund (Chemistry)
  • The Arthur T. Allen, Jr., Ph. D. and Arthur T. Allen III, M.D. Science Fund (all STEM disciplines including biomedical sciences, health professions and public health)
  • Leonard Doerpinghaus Biology Student Excellence Fund (Biology)




Research opportunities at Agnes Scott College include the following.  Click on title for project details.  Introductory references are downloadable.  Students are encouraged to go speak to faculty about the projects: ask questions and get perspective on what each project offers!
Dr. Dutton
Dr. Larimore
Dr. Lovell & Dr. Gordon
Physics & Astronomy
Dr. Winget

To explore other research options, consider submitting a proposal to work with a research mentor at an ARCHE institution (Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education).  See the tabs for ARCHE mentors and proposal.

STEM Scholars Program has funding to support student research at other institutions in the Atlanta area -- there are 19 colleges and institutions in ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education).  You may browse departmental web sites at Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine, GSU, or others to find researchers who are investigating a topic of special interest to you.  If you would like to contact a researcher to inquire about summer research positions for undergraduates, you must follow the checklist provided below

A few faculty (see table below) have already offered to accept inquiries from Agnes Scott students who express an honest interest in their research topics.  Their information is listed below, and more will be added as they become available.  Do not let this short list prevent you from finding your own mentor!

Checklist for contacting faculty:

  1. Rule 1: if you are not truly interested in the researcher's topic, do NOT contact them.  This would be a waste of their time and yours.  ASC wants to keep our good name with our neighbors by respecting their time and professional expertise.  
  2. Rule 2: if you are interested in the researcher's topic, then go for it!  Curiosity is your best advantage.  Prepare (see below), and then contact them. 
  3. Review the researcher's web page thoroughly.  You should understand in general terms what their main research questions are, and who does what within the team.
  4. Prepare to contact the professor by:
    • connecting your academic goals & interests to their research questions and techniques
    • jotting down 5-10 questions you would like to ask (could be about the research, the techniques, the research environment, the schedule, expectations & responsibilities -- think about what you need to know to find a good research fit)
  5. Draft an email to the faculty member.  Make it respectful and professional.  You may:
    • mention that you are applying to the STEM Scholars Program at Agnes Scott College for summer research funding
    • say that you are interested in their research (explain what interests you most)
    • ask whether they would consider mentoring an undergraduate in their research group for the summer, provided a good match of interests and availability
    • mention that, if your proposal to SSP is successful, you would be fully funded for full-time research for 8-10 summer weeks, with housing provided at Agnes Scott College
    • ask if you could speak with a graduate student, postdoc, or the faculty member to learn more about their research projects. (This is an "informational interview" -- it doesn't obligate either them or you, but is a way to exchange more information.)
    • copy on your email to the research group.
  6. Make sure that you have contacted the faculty member you are interested in working with by Feb 21, to allow one week to complete the proposal, using the template provided on the Proposal tab.  You may submit only one proposal.

ARCHE Mentors inviting research inquiries  

Dr. James Kindt
Department of Chemistry
Emory University
Topic: Molecular simulation of self-assembly of a micelle around a peptide 

Many peptides and proteins interact with lipid membranes in the cell.  Studying their structure and function by various experimental methods, or using them in various applications, is often easier when they are contained in a small detergent micelle rather than a lipid bilayer.  It is important to understand how the micelle environment affects the structure and behavior of the peptide or protein.  The student will participate in an ongoing effort to use computational modeling (molecular dynamics simulations) to determine the size of the micelle that forms around the CM15 antimicrobial peptide in a solution of octyl phosphocholine detergent under different concentration conditions, and how incorporation into the micelle affects helix formation by the peptide.  Dr. Kindt’s mentee(s) will participate in the 10-week Emory SURE program.

Dr. Sergei Urazhdin
Department of Physics
Emory University
Topic:  Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, with the focus on nanoscience and applied physics.
The project concerns the possibility to control/engineer the magnetic phases of matter by harnessing magnetic frustration in thin films. It may involve some high-vacuum techniques, electronic and/or optical measurements, and cryogenics. The student does not need to have prior experience with any of these techniques, but needs to be interested and able to learn. For reference, a lot of information about the research group and projects is available on the website.  Dr. Urazhdin’s mentee(s) will participate in the 10-week Emory SURE program.
Dr. Justin Burton
Department of Physics
Emory University

Research interests:

See website for details about research projects and team.  Dr. Burton will mentor at least one other undergraduate from Emory College and mentees will participate in the 10-week Emory SURE program. 




Dr. R. Brian Dyer
Emory Bioinspired Renewable Energy Center (Director)
Emory University
Research topics include:
  1. Solar fuels: reduction of CO2 using sunlight, nanocrystalline semiconductor materials and enzyme catalysts
  2. Protein folding: probing the mechanism of pH induced, hemagglutinin mediated membrane fusion by which influenza virus infects cells
See website for details about research projects and team.  Dr. Dyer’s mentees will participate in the 10-week Emory SURE program.  
Dr. Xueying Zhao 
Dept. of Physiology
Morehouse School of Medicine
Website:   Xueying Zhao, Ph.D.
Research Interests: 
  • Role of cytochrome P450 (CYP) metabolites in the regulation of vascular and renal function. 
  • Albumin conjugated fatty acids in Diabetic Nephropathy where the research focus is to identify the mechanisms of fatty acid conjugated albumin induced parietal epithelial cell activation in cell culture and a diabetic animal model. Email Ms. Jasmine George
  • Evaluation of cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in Diabetic Nephropathy by identifying the role of fatty acid conjugated albumin stimulated extracellular vesicle production in lipid-induced kidney injury.  Email Ms. Alyssa Cobbs
Dr. Sharon Francis
Dept. of Physiology
Cardiovascular Institute
Morehouse School of Medicine
Research Interests:
Obesity is a major and growing health problem in the United States and throughout the world that predisposes individuals to an increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and stroke. The underlying basis for these clinical sequelae is systemic vascular disease.  These projects rely on small rodent models of hypertension and diet-induced obesity, as well as in vitro vascular cell cultures and proteomics approaches to understand the contribution of the SGK1 signaling pathway in the progression of cardiovascular diseases. [See web site for more research details].
Dr. Gianluca Tosini
Chair, Dept. of Pharmacology & Toxicology
Morehouse School of Medicine
Research Interests:
Development of new culture methods to isolate and culture different types of retinal neurons (photoreceptor, amacrine and ganglion cells) to address this important question, and to identify the mechanisms (neural and humoral) that are responsible for the communication of the information among the different cells.
Dr. Christopher Ehlen
Dept. of Neurobiology
Morehouse School of Medicine
Research Interests:
  • genetic regulation of sleep
  • role of sleep in behavioral responses to stress
  • Circadian Rhythms


More faculty info
will be added as it becomes available. 
Do not let this short list prevent you
from finding your own mentor!
Check back for updates 
(refresh your browser for latest) . . .

For proposal guidelines, please see the Proposal tab.

STEM Scholars Program

2019 Student Application


Application Process

  1. Access program information and documents using the tabs above.
  2. Review the 2019 ASC project list.
    Optional: review the list of ARCHE mentors and research groups open to ASC student proposals.
  3. Consider your interests, skills, & coursework relevant to each project’s requirements.
  4. Consider your goals (big & small, short-term & career).
  5. Complete the online application from the "APPLY" button below.
  6. Upload a personal statement (see detailed instructions below)
    Optional: Submit a proposal to conduct summer research in a non-ASC ARCHE lab, by following the proposal guide and checklist.
  7. Submit a complete and valid application and documents by the deadline: 
    9:00 p.m. Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 EXTENDED TO: 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Feb 28, 2019.

Personal Statement Instructions
Consider your academic & career goals, and what you hope to gain from a research experience this summer (steps 2-4, above).  Why have you prioritized the projects you selected?  What goals do you have for yourself for the projects you ranked highly?  What preparation do you bring to these particular projects?  Your personal statement should reflect your thoughtful consideration of these questions and address how research will advance your academic and/or career goals.  Format and submit as follows:

  • Word document
  • 1 page, max 500 words
  • include word count at bottom of page
  • legible font; size 11 or larger
  • clean document, free from spelling & grammatical errors
  • your name in header
  • name your file as Lastname_Firstname_PS.docx

Before applying, please note:

You must start and complete your submission in one sitting, because the application does not permit "save and exit".  Therefore, please take the time to develop your personal statement (and proposal, if opting to pursue research with an ARCHE mentor) offline, and then upload your documents.  If you must correct an error (including incorrect document attached) please resubmit the form.  Your prior submissions will not be reviewed.  Please minimize repeat submissions.


Review Process

The STEM Scholars Program Review Panel is comprised of ASC STEM faculty, SCW staff, and one or more former STEM Scholar.  Reviewers will not review the applications of students where conflicts of interest arise.  Each student application will be evaluated independently by two reviewers.  Where scores are widely discrepant, a third reviewer will score the application independently, and the full panel will discuss the case to clarify the scoring protocol.  Each application will be considered on its own merits, and all applications will be discussed by the full panel with regard to matching student interests to research opportunities.  The Review Panel will make recommendations to faculty mentors, who have final approval of students matched to their research groups.  Students are welcomed and encouraged to seek feedback on their applications after notification, as an educational opportunity to find potential areas to improve as well as to reinforce their strengths.

Tue      1/29     1pm & 5pm Info Sessions, BSC 102W

Thu      1/31     1pm & 5pm Info Sessions, BSC 102W
Fri        2/01     2pm Info Session, BSC 102W 
Tue      2/05     1pm & 5pm Info Sessions, BSC 108E 
Fri        2/08     Student Application opens for STEM Scholars Program                   
Thu      2/21    Student Applications due by 9:00 p.m.
Thu      2/28    Student Applications due by 9:00 p.m. (NEW DEADLINE)
Mid-April       STEM Scholars Program notifications to students 

For difficulty with the application or for more information, contact:


NOTE: A proposal is NOT REQUIRED for projects with ASC faculty in the STEM Scholars Program. It is only required for students who want to apply for funding to work with a researcher at another institution.

The Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE) includes Agnes Scott College and nineteen other institutions. Agnes Scott College students may use the following guidelines to propose a STEM research project with any ARCHE lab for consideration with their application to the STEM Scholars Program. Upload proposal and PI permission document with application.  Please start by reviewing the preparation checklist for contacting a faculty member on the ARCHE Mentors tab.  Students may submit only one proposal with their application.  

Formatting Requirements
4 pages maximum, including figures (figures are optional)
Margins > .70 inch
Legible font: 11 point and larger
Line spacing: single or greater
Student name in header
Document type:  Word doc or pdf
Document filename:  Lastname_Firstname_Proposal2019


Guideline for Student Research Proposal