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BIPP Faculty Application Process for Summer Research with Students

The Bucknell Institute for Public Policy offers support to faculty who collaborate with students on meaningful and educational research on policy-relevant research projects for 8-12 weeks during the summer of 2019.

To pair faculty with a student or students who share an interest in a research topic through mutual consent, faculty mentors are asked to provide a brief explanation of their policy-relevant research interests (description below) by Feb. 11, 2019 and participate in an Information Session in the Academic West Lounge on Feb. 14, 2019 from 11 – 11:52 a.m., to meet prospective research fellows. Students will then meet individually with faculty to formulate the research project and educational experience.

Once paired with a student, faculty are asked to support the student(s) in preparing their application(s), and to provide a supporting letter including learning goals/educational outcomes expected for the student fellow(s). If the application is successful, faculty will guide students through an educational and meaningful research experience, and assist the research fellow in preparing a public presentation of their research, at preferably the Susquehanna Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium (SVURS). Additionally, faculty are expected to help plan and participate in the summer research workshop series. Faculty mentors will receive a $1000 stipend for mentoring a student or students.

Workshop Series

Fellows will participate in a weekly summer workshop series. The summer weekly workshop series includes research and professional development sessions for the students. It is an enriching experience that also provides the student fellows with a sense of belonging in a research community.

Faculty Application Process

Faculty should submit a short bio and a brief explanation of their policy-relevant research interests to help provide information for the student fellow applicants at the Information Session. Materials should be sent to Carrie Ellis, Program Coordinator, at, by 5 p.m. on Feb. 11, 2019. Please direct program questions to Amy Wolaver, Director, or Vanessa Massaro, BIPP Undergraduate Research Programming Fellow.

After faculty have met individually with interested student fellows and have determined a research project and learning goals for the student(s), the student(s) will apply to the program and include a letter of intent that outlines the method(s) they will be learning and research topic they will apply those methods to. The faculty will separately submit a letter of support that includes the learning goals/educational outcomes for the student fellow. These are due Friday, March 8, 2019, 5 p.m. to Carrie Ellis,

As guidance, templates for all of these materials can be found at the end of this post.

Selection Criteria

The student’s application and faculty support letter must clearly describe the proposed methods and topic area to be explored, the significance of the topic for public policy, convince the readers that the project can be completed in 8-12 weeks, demonstrate that the student and faculty member will collaborate closely, articulate clear educational outcomes, and demonstrate that the project is primarily for the educational benefit of the student.

Note: If the proposed project involves human or animal subjects, it is the student and faculty member’s responsibility to obtain any required IRB or IACUC approvals.


(Due February 11, 2019)



Research Bio:

(Sample 1)

My primary areas of interest are in analyzing attitudes about genetic engineering. I’m interested in how politicians view this topic through textual analysis of speeches during legislative debates, measuring how the public views genetic engineering through surveys and interviews, and whether politicians respond to changing public attitudes in their voting decisions.

If you’re interested in research in this area, you will be trained and develop experience in:

Utilizing NVivo, a qualitative data analysis software, to analyze textual data
Survey development and analysis
Qualitative interviewing
Analysis of qualitative data
Research ethics

(Sample 2)

I primarily do quantitative, statistical analysis using medical records and other information to examine healthcare markets. Right now, I am interested in how much competition in hospital markets affects hospital pricing strategies, because the charges (the “sticker price”) for medical care is not actually the price paid for the care by most patients- the government regulates payments for those on Medicare and Medicaid and private insurers negotiate discounts. However, the sticker prices are still interesting for two reasons. First, they may be used a bargaining tool by hospitals to increase the reimbursements they receive from private insurers. Second, uninsured patients sometimes face the full charges and could face substantial financial risk.

If you are interested in learning more about the economics of hospital markets and the uninsured, we can discuss a project where you will learn how to use STATA, as statistical software package, about database management and how to use messy, “real world” data, and how to take economic theory and formulate hypotheses to test using data.


Please accept this letter of support for Student Fellow (insert name).

Include in the letter the following:

Description of General Topic Area & Methods

Importance of Topic to Public Policy

Learning Goals/Educational Outcomes for the Student Fellow

Expected Scope of Project and Faculty Responsibilities to Student (number of weeks for project, frequent contact with student, other educational/training activities etc…)


 Information to include in your (maximum 2-page) letter:

Student contact information

Faculty Mentor, Methods you will learn

Description of Research Area & Importance to Public Policy

Discussion of how this project will help you achieve your future professional and academic goals

Timing of Project:

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