Undergraduate Research Summer Stipend Grants

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The mission of the Office of Undergraduate Research is to develop, administer, and promote programs and activities that encourage faculty and undergraduate students to engage more actively in collaborative research projects. Our goal is to involve as many undergraduate students as possible in research projects mentored by faculty members. Secondary goals include enhancing the academic reputation of the university and attracting the interest of high-quality prospective students.

The purpose of the Summer Student Stipend program is to encourage participation of undergraduate students in faculty-mentored summer research projects by providing financial assistance to such students.

Grants will be awarded based on a competitive selection process. Faculty members may submit applications to be evaluated and selected by the University Undergraduate Research Council comprised of seven faculty members including representatives from each college and the Director of Undergraduate Research. Applications will be judged on the perceived value of the project, its impact inside and outside the university, and its benefits to the undergraduate participant(s). Preference will be shown to proposals exhibiting a high level of engagement for student researchers.


  1. Increase student involvement in research
  2. Increase faculty mentoring of students in research
  3. Promote research presentation and publication

At least one undergraduate research assistant must be integrally involved in the research project. Faculty mentors may apply for students to receive up to $2,000 for one summer. The Office of Undergraduate Research will transfer the dollar amount of each stipend to the appropriate academic department.

At the end of the summer, successful faculty applicants will need to complete a brief evaluation form describing the student’s contribution and growth as a researcher. The student will need to submit a research report detailing his or her research work. The evaluation form and research report will be due on September 15. Students receiving summer stipends are expected to present their research results at the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival, and they are also encouraged to present at a professional conference.

For more information contact the Director of Undergraduate Research at uresearch@acu.edu.

Note: All Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols must be met before conducting research. 

For more information regarding research proposals and IRB approval, contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) or see the IRB website.


New in Reasearch

Dr. Ryan Jessup, Assistant Professor of Marketing

Dr. Jessup is interested in decisions.  What causes people to choose poorly?  How do learning and contextual factors influence choice?  In seeking to answer these questions, his research uses psychological models of motivation to distill the computational properties of decision making.  Computational modeling enhances research by requiring precision in theory formulation and constraining predictions.

One of Dr. Jessup’s primary streams of research concerns the behavioral differences between decisions when options are completely described vs. decisions when options must be learned about via experience.  Prior research found that individuals choose quite differently between the two paradigms but the reasons underlying the difference are poorly understood.  One of Dr. Jessup’s studies demonstrated that the reception of feedback overwhelms descriptive information, driving the behavioral differences between paradigms.  This work has led him and his colleagues (including Dr. John Homer and undergraduate researcher Allison Phillips) to build a new model that merges sophisticated decision making mechanisms with reinforcement learning in order to successfully predict behavior in both paradigms better than existing models. Dr. Jessup has previously received Cullen awards for this work and is currently seeking external funding to continue this fascinating line of research.

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