Beginning Researcher Support Program

Beginning Researcher Support Program

The Beginning Researcher Support Program provides research opportunities for undergraduates who are engaging in formal research for the first time. While open to all undergraduate students in the College of Agricultural Sciences who are engaging in research for the first time, freshmen, sophomores, and first-year transfer students are especially encouraged to apply for this support. The objective of the Beginning Researchers Support Program is to enable undergraduates to explore research experiences under the guidance of a faculty researcher.


  1. Faculty submit project opportunities to CAS Student Engagement Coordinator. Proposals should include a brief description of the research project, specific skills and tasks the students will work on, student learning outcomes, hourly student pay, and hours per week information.
  2. CAS Student Engagement Coordinator posts list of available projects on the Beginning Researcher webpage (see link in upper right corner).
  3. Students review project summaries and email faculty for projects they are interested in to set up a time to connect and learn more about the project (see guide to writing emails to faculty here). 
  4. Students submit applications indicating their top 2 preferred projects. Applications will include a resume, a cover letter for each of their top 2 projects, and an unofficial transcript.
  5. After the student application period closes, the CAS Student Engagement Coordinator will send applications to faculty for review.
  6. Faculty review applications and send final selections to CAS Student Engagement Coordinator.
  7. CAS Student Engagement Coordinator notifies students regardless of outcome and works with departments and HR to hire selected students onto projects.
  8. Selected students attend an onboarding orientation with CAS Student Engagement Coordinator prior to beginning research.
  9. Students and faculty conduct research over two terms receiving periodic check-ins and workshop training from CAS Student Engagement Coordinator.
  10. Students create and present a research poster at either the CAS Career Fair & Student Showcase in October or the Ag & Natural Resources Day event typically held in May.

Timeline for SUMMER/FALL 2024 Funding:

  • Friday, April 26, 2024: Faculty proposals posted on website; student application opens

  • Monday, May 13, 2024 @ 5pm: Student application closes

  • May 13-24, 2024: Review of applications, faculty interviews of applicants

  • Friday, May 24, 2024: Notification to applicants of decision

  • May 28 - start of Summer 2024 term: required 1-on-1 student orientations with CAS Student Engagement Coordinator

  • During research experience: periodic check-ins with CAS Student Engagement Coordinator

  • After research experience: create and present a research poster at either the CAS Career Fair & Student Showcase in October or the Ag & Natural Resources Day in May


E.R. Jackman Friends and Alumni (ERJFA) funds this program $24,500 annually. 

  • There are two funding and application cycles per year: Winter/Spring and Summer/Fall. 
  • Projects are funded at the discretion of the Academic Programs Office and dependent on the number of proposals received, and available funding. 
  • Selected students are funded for $1000. Funds must be used for student wages only. Funds are transferred directly to a faculty/department account and students are provided an hourly wage based on hours worked. Unused funds must be returned at end of project cycle.  
  • Faculty cost share is not required for the Beginning Researchers program.


  • Students must be enrolled in a College of Agricultural Sciences undergraduate major while conducting a project.
  • All CAS undergraduate students (including postbacc students) may apply, but preference will be given to freshmen, sophomores, first-year transfers, or other students who do not have previous research experience.
  • Students can receive Beginning Researchers Support for one Winter/Spring cycle and one Summer/Fall cycle (must be different projects). 

For questions and information, contact:

Rachel Jones, CAS Student Engagement Coordinator