Competition heightens research opportunities

The $3,000 in CARAS scholarships given by the provost’s office will pair research mentors with students.

A $3,000 chance to get their hands dirty is a new draw for some students looking to gain real research experience.

The Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives, the Office of the Provost and deans of the university’s schools and colleges are giving undergraduate and professional students the opportunity to engage themselves in scholarly and creative research projects that contribute to advancing studies in their majors of concentration.

“We know from our experience with the Diamond Research Scholars and Diamond Peer Teachers programs that having this sort of thing on your résumé is necessary in order to make students as competitive as they can be when they leave Temple,” said Peter Jones, senior vice provost for undergraduate studies and founder of the CARAS program.

Undergraduates enrolled in degree programs in any school or college, as well as professional students in the schools of dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and podiatry are eligible for the grant.

The Creative Arts, Research and Scholarship Program provides undergraduate and professional students grants of up to $3,000 in support of research or creative arts projects undertaken with the supervision of a faculty mentor. The faculty mentor must approve the project prior to applying. 

Applications should detail focused projects that address significant issues, concerns or aspects in students’ fields of study. The application has to be endorsed by a faculty mentor and the dean of the student’s school or college.

The grants will be given to approximately 45 students, up to one-third of which may be professional students.

The program does not require a student to have acquired a certain number of credit hours, said Assistant Vice Provost Duane Smith.

Applicants must have at least one full-time semester at Temple after the completion of the project in order to share their work with the university via a program like Temple Undergraduate Research Forum ­­­­­­– Creative Works Symposium.

One-half of the CARAS grant will be funded by the Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives and the Office of the Provost, and a matching half will be provided by the student’s school or college. Applicants must have their projects approved by their respective deans.

Jones said the financial support for CARAS grants are primarily funded by projects spearheaded by Larry Lemanski, the senior vice president for research and strategic initiatives, and Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico.

“Part of the reason why they’re interested in supporting this is because we all believe that anything that encourages students and faculty to work together is mutually beneficial,” Jones said. “Lemanski really doesn’t have anything to do with undergraduates. He deals with faculty. But this is a great way to encourage faculty to be involved in research ideas with undergraduate students.”

The program is only committed to one year. Whether it continues depends on what happens this year, Jones said.

Students can use the funds awarded to them for supplies and materials, travel and other expenses outlined in their applications.

“[This program] is a great opportunity, especially with so few grants available for undergraduates,” said Sarah Neergaard, a junior history and economics major.

Neergaard said a program like this encourages students to get involved with large research projects.

“It’s a great opportunity to travel and have experiences in archives,” she said. “As a history major, I would personally love to go abroad and bury myself in old letters and documents.”

Kathryn A. López can be reached at

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