STEM Scholars Program

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

Students are mentored by ASC faculty (and sometimes by faculty from nearby ARCHE institutions) to conduct cutting-edge research. The full-time experience of authentic 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, 2021      
  • Full-time research: 40 hours per week
  • Research awards:
    • $1600.00  (4-week projects)
    • $3200.00  (8-week projects)
    • $4000.00  (10-week projects) -- (applies to some ARCHE & external opportunities)
  • Research ethics seminar series
  • Professional development workshop series
  • STEM communication skills workshop series
  • STEM community talks and social events
  • Opportunities to present research to academic and public audiences

Explore tabs for more info.  (Refresh the webpage to see the latest updates.)

SSP Round 2 INFO SESSION:    slides    video


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

To be eligible for STEM Scholars Program funding in summer 2021, 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.

NOT plan to graduate or transfer before Dec 2021




During summer 2021, the STEM Scholars Program provides funding for faculty-student collaborative research, including:

  • Student awards for 4-, 8-, and 10-week projects ($1600, $3200, and $4000, respectively) 
  • Student housing: ASC housing during Summer I & II session will be provided for Scholars, contingent upon public health guidance and ASC housing policy for summer 2021.

STEM Scholars Program is generously supported by:

  • Frances Marx Shillinglaw Women in Science Fund (all STEM fields)
  • Maria Wornom Rippe '64 STEM 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)
  • Jessie Ball duPont Fund for the Equitable Advancement of Underrepresented Students in STEM (all STEM fields)
  • STEM faculty, who offer their time, expertise, and mentorship to nurture the next generation of scientists, and our STEM departments, which dedicate resources and support for mentored research experiences.




Research opportunities at Agnes Scott College include the following. Click on title & reference links 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!

Please note that many project research positions have been filled in SSP Round 1.  Mentor-mentee matching is ongoing, and projects will be updated in real-time, so please refresh the page to see which projects have openings for Round 2. 


Dr. Pilger 

Refining developmental toolkit gene expression in sipunculan larvae using whole mount in situ hybridization.

(NEW PROJECT: 1-2 positions)


Environmental Sciences

Dr. Embree

What's the dirt on ASC? Baseline geo-biochemical findings 

(NEW PROJECT: 1-2 positions)

reference 1

reference 2


Dr. Koch 

The Search for Boxes with Integer Dimensions

(project description)


Dr. Perdue

Eyetracking and Cognitive Neuroscience in Preschool Children

reference 1



Dr. Larimore

Characterization of sub cellular compartments in a mouse model of epilepsy



Dr. Venable

The Synthesis & Characterization of [(arene)Ru]C2H2B9H9 Ruthenacarborane Clusters as Potential Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) Agents

reference 1

reference 2

reference 3




Dr. Robic

Exploring fruit fly metabolic pathways through comparative genomic analysis

reference 1

reference 2

reference 3




Dr. Dutton

Characterization of female sexual behavior in an epilepsy rodent model

reference 1





Other research options include submitting a proposal to work with an external research mentor at an ARCHE institution (Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education). See the tabs for ARCHE mentors and proposal.

Note for SSP 2021 Round 2: As of 4/8/2021, no "ready-made" external projects have been offered. Therefore, the best route to working with an external faculty mentor will be to find one who aligns well with your research interests, and to submit a proposal.  Read below & proposal tab for guidance.
STEM Scholars Program supports student research at other institutions in the Atlanta area -- there are 19 colleges and institutions in ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Council 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, it is recommended that you:
  • make an appointment with Dr. Embree for guidance, and 
  • begin this process in the fall semester (ideally) or as early as possible — it takes time.

Some first steps:

  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. If you are truly interested in the researcher's topic, then you may want to consider developing a proposal to research with 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. Make a COMPASS appointment with Dr. Embree as soon as possible if considering a proposal.
  6. Allow 2+ weeks to complete the proposal, using the template provided on the Proposal tab.  You may submit only one proposal.
For proposal guidelines, please see the Proposal tab.

2021 Student Application
STEM Scholars Program


The application for ASC projects is now closed.  Proposals may be considered until May 25 if funding remains.  

Application Process

  1. Access application information and documents by exploring the tabs.
  2. Review the ASC projects. 
  3. Consider your interests, skills, & coursework relevant to each project’s requirements.
  4. Consider your goals (big & small, short-term & career).
  5. Consider whether an external faculty mentor would better advance your goals (proposal option).
  6. Develop a personal statement (instructions below) that explains how the research you choose advances your goals.
  7. Complete the online application.
  8. Upload your personal statement and resume or cv.
    Optional: Submit a proposal to conduct summer research with an ARCHE/external research group, by following the proposal guide and checklist.
  9. Submit a complete and valid application by the deadline:
    • Round 1: 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 17, 2021 - CLOSED. 
    • Round 2: 9:00 p.m. (EST) Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 - CLOSED.   
Personal Statement Instructions
Consider your academic & career goals, and what you hope to gain from a research experience this summer. Why have you prioritized the projects you selected? What goals do you have for yourself this summer, given the projects you ranked highly? What preparation do you bring to these particular projects? 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

The personal statement is the most important part of your application. Take time to brainstorm before you write. It is not sufficient to prioritize projects on the online form – discuss your goals and interests related to specific projects in your personal statement.




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 evaluate the applications of students where conflicts of interest arise. Each student application will be evaluated independently by two or more 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.

Round 1 Timeline

Tue       12/01/20          1 pm info session for students 
Fri        12/04/20          3 pm info session for students 
Wed      01/20/21          Student Info session: personal stmt & proposals
                                       Project list is announced 

Fri        01/22/21          Student Info session: personal stmt & proposals
Fri        01/29/21          Student Info session: troubleshooting
Wed     02/17/21          Student applications due at 9:00 pm (Round 1 deadline -- CLOSED)
            March                 Review Panel does it careful work
            mid-April          Round 1 STEM Scholarship notifications to all students

Round 2 Timeline

Tue       03/23/21          Call for faculty proposals, internal & external 

Wed      03/31/21          Irvine announcement of SSP Round 2
Thu       04/01/21          Irvine announcement of SSP info sessions
Mon      04/05/21          Irvine announcement: expanded office hours 

Tue       04/06/21          1 pm (EST) Info session registration link
Wed      04/07/21          8 am (EST) Info session registration link
Thu      04/08/21          Round 2 application opens        

Thu      04/22/21          Student applications due at 9:00 pm** 
Fri        04/30/21           Round 2 notifications

** IF FUNDS REMAIN, applications with proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis after 4/22/21, and considered for funding until all funds are allocated.            

For 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_Proposal2021


Guideline for Student Research Proposal