Royce Fellowship Application Tips-Kerri Heffernan

“Established in 1996 through the generosity of Charles Royce, a 1961 graduate of Brown University, the Royce Fellowship Program supports Brown University undergraduates as they carry out independent projects of their own design in locations across the United States and around the world. Along with funding, the program confers lifetime membership in the Society of Royce Fellows, a community of student scholars, faculty fellows, and Royce alumni that offers a forum for reflection, inquiry, and intellectual engagement within the university.

Every spring, up to twenty students at Brown are inducted into the Society of Royce Fellows, each receiving an award of up to $4,000 to pursue a research, curricular development, or public service project of his or her own design. The program seeks to enable undergraduates to explore their developing interests and passions and to extend the ideals of Brown’s open curriculum beyond the walls of the university”


Below are Royce Fellowship application tips from Kerri Heffernan

1. What organization and funding programs are you involved with at Brown (Basically what is your role for someone who doesn’t know you at all)?
I direct the Royce Fellowship. I oversee all aspects of the Fellowship including the application and selection process.
2. When is an appropriate time to begin thinking about the Royce Fellowship?
I think its good to begin thinking about independent research in your second year. It’s smart to understand what your options are for funding and support – and to understand what type of course work and experiences are going to help you craft a successful proposal. The application deadline for the Royce is February – I really encourage students to meet with me to discuss their ideas in October and November, It can take time to hone an idea, build a base of support, understand IRB protocols, get appropriate letters of support and work through multiple drafts.
3. What characteristics make an application particularly compelling in your eyes?
We fund a really diverse pool of student proposals – from bench science to composing an opera. The committee looks for proposals that are well crafted, creative, enthusiastically supported by a faculty sponsor and ‘doable’ in the time frame of the Fellowship. I tend to be drawn to proposals that tell me with great enthusiasm and rigor, why I should care about a nano gold particle, Columbia’s position on climate change or liturgical music in 1940’s New York.
4. Any tips for potential applicants?
Be sure you have a question. Many times students have a good idea but not a real ‘question’. Before applying meet with current or former Fellows and the director to better understand the types of projects that the Fellowship funds. Talk about the scope of work, the expectations for a product and the types of support you can expect.
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