Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarships

The VSGC Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program provides awards of up to $8,500 to rising juniors and seniors who are enrolled full-time in a program of study in STEM and have a specific faculty-mentored research project that has NASA or aerospace relevance. Allied Health Sciences majors are not eligible for this program.

Applications: Due Feb. 9

This is a competitive scholarship program, funded by NASA and the Commonwealth of Virginia contributions.

Awards are one-year, non-renewable scholarships. Students may apply for the following:

• A $3,000 student stipend during the academic year and
• A $3,500 stipend during summer (must be specified in the application)
• $1,000 research allocation for materials and travel to support research activities conducted during the academic year and/or $1,000 research allocation during the summer (if doing summer research)

The maximum award per year cannot exceed $8,500.

Promoting undergraduate STEM research while recognizing high academic achievement and promise
Increasing participation of underrepresented minorities, females, and students with disabilities in STEM related careers
Implementing the goals of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

• Must be a U.S. citizen
• Must be enrolled as a full-time student (minimum 12 credit hours) at one of the five Virginia Space Grant Consortium member institutions: Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, Old Dominion University,William & Mary, or Hampton University
• Must have completed at least two years of a STEM undergraduate program and be classified as a junior or senior during the current academic year (must have at least junior status by summer if choosing this option)
• Must be in a program of study demonstrating an interest in STEM and supporting NASA’s mission
• Must have a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

Statement of academic goals – a brief statement written by the applicant relating to the reasons for his/her desire to enter a profession in a STEM field

Plan of study – an outline of intended coursework for the remainder of your undergraduate degree program (uploaded as an attachment)

Resume – a short summary of your career and qualifications, and list any relevant education information and significant accomplishments (uploaded as an attachment)

Research Proposal aligned with NASA’s mission – VSGC’s undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program encourages talented undergraduate majors to pursue aerospace-related fields and do research with a strong alignment with NASA’s Mission Directorates.

Applicants should submit a proposal for research that is 2-3 pages (not including references) and clearly describes the research objective and methodology. A statement written by the student in consultation with the faculty advisor should describe the key elements of the proposed research and plan of study. All research projects must be mentored by a faculty member and this mentor will be required to submit a letter of reference for the project. Applicants will be asked to specifically identify how their research relates to NASA’s Mission Directorates.

Letters of Recommendation – provide the names and contact information for two references of which one must be the applicant’s current faculty advisor. Letters of recommendation should assess the applicant’s potential as well as his/her progress and academic achievements. The online application system will contact both references via email to request a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. We suggest that you inform both of your references that they will receive an email from the VSGC in reference to your application. Your references will be provided with a link to submit their recommendations. We must receive both recommendations by the deadline for your scholarship application to be complete.

Transcript – an unofficial transcript is required and can be submitted as a PDF in the online application (upload as an attachment). If the applicant is selected to receive an award then a transcript will be required at acceptance. If the applicant does not have a PDF conversion tool, links to free online PDF converters are provided in the application. An online PDF converter can be found here.

Selection Process

The selection committee is made up of university faculty in a variety of disciplines. Applicants should present their proposed research in a form that will be understandable to a range of readers. Only one Undergraduate Scholarship application per student per year is allowed.

• Complete all research as proposed and must notify VSGC immediately of any significant changes in the research project or timeline
• Participate in the VSGC’s Annual Student Research Conference. Participation includes attendance and active involvement throughout the entire conference, a poster presentation on current research progress, and submission of a research paper for inclusion in the conference proceedings
• Provide a head-shot photo and biographical information upon selection
• Awardees must inform the Consortium of any changes in contact information including email, phone, or address
• Plan to respond to academic and employment follow-up surveys administered by VSGC as required by NASA
• Share research experiences in public forums, classroom presentations, and professional meetings. Presentations that encourage interest in aerospace careers and research to high school students are of particular interest to the Consortium

Attend a webinar to learn about paid NASA and industry internships

Disposition of Unused Funds:

If the scholarship recipient terminates his/her academic program during the academic year, the university is required to return a prorated share of the scholarship award to the VSGC. Scholarship funds are not transferable. Any unused funds should be returned.