New ISLA grant program to increase underserved students’ access to research opportunities

Author: Beth Staples

The College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts is dismantling financial barriers to help a wider range of students take part in faculty-mentored summer research.

Starting this May, ISLA’s Research Access Mentoring Program (RAMP) grant will provide awardees from the College of Arts and Letters with a stipend of $3,500, room and board, and a research allowance of up to $1,500 to take part in 10-week, on-campus projects of interest. Recipients also will receive tuition for a 3-credit summer course.

“This is about opening the door wider,” said James R. Brockmole, ISLA director and Arts & Letters’ associate dean for research and strategic initiatives. “Talent is normally distributed but opportunity is not. At Notre Dame, we want to match merit to opportunity.” 

The grant, Brockmole said, will provide exceptional undergraduates — including students of color, first-generation students, and those from families with low incomes — with resources, time, and mentorship to explore research-oriented career possibilities and build their record of research in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.

Grant recipients will be matched with a faculty adviser and encouraged to continue the collaborative projects in the next academic year. Students who do so will receive as much as $1,500 for additional need-based research-related expenses.

“This is about opening the door wider. Talent is normally distributed but opportunity is not. At Notre Dame, we want to match merit to opportunity.”

The Notre Dame Class of 2025 is the most diverse ethnically, racially, globally, and socioeconomically in the University’s history. First-generation students, Pell Grant recipients, and students with family incomes less than $65,000 make up 20 percent of the admitted first-year class and 48 percent are international students or students of color from the United States.

The College wants to meaningfully involve more undergraduate students in research aspects of the educational experience, Brockmole said. In doing so, it’s important “to make sure that research opportunities are not closed to some demographics of students,” he said, including those who must work in the summer to earn money for college.

“We must meet students where they are,” he said.

Arts & Letters undergraduates who participate in the AnBryce Scholars Initiative, Balfour-Hesburgh Scholars Program, Building Bridges Program, Posse Scholars Program, QuestBridge Scholars Program, or Transformational Leaders Program are invited to apply by Feb. 4, 2022.