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


Faculty will submit project opportunities, which will then be posted on the College of Agricultural Sciences’ website. These opportunities will include a brief description of the research project, specific skills and tasks the students will work on, student learning outcomes, and payment information. Interested students will submit a resume, cover letter outlining their research interests, and their top project choices. With the assistance of the Experiential Learning Program Coordinator, faculty will receive and review applications, then conduct interviews and make final hiring decisions. There are two funding and application cycles per year: winter/spring (due October 1) and summer/fall (due March 15). 

Students who participate in the Beginning Researchers Support Program are required to keep a research journal and create and present a research poster at either the annual fall Experiential Expo or the Ag Days event held in May. Students and faculty will also receive periodic check-ins from the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Experiential Learning Coordinator.

Funds available

$16,000 annually. Funding will be $750 for the winter/spring cycle and $1000 for the summer/fall cycle per student. Intent is to allocate roughly two-thirds of funds to academic year projects and one-third to summer but this split may vary depending on the proposal received. Faculty may apply for funding in both cycles. Funds are transferred directly to a faculty/department account and unused funds must be returned. Funds must be used for student wages only.  Cost sharing is not required for Beginning Researchers Support.

Review Process

The CAS Experiential Learning Program Coordinator will review all opportunities submitted by faculty for completeness and will review student applications for completeness and eligbility requirements.


Students must be enrolled in a College of Agricultural Sciences major while conducting a project . All CAS undergraduate students may apply, but specific 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.

Faculty Proposal Considerations

  • Your proposal should include an abstract of the research project the student will be working on, and should specifically state student expectations.
  • To help the students understand what they will be asked to do at the facility, please include clear and specific student expectations and project expectations. 
  • If a certain skill set or experience level is preferred, please indicate that under the section "job description". An example of a specific skill could be the ability to operate manual shift.
  • Recall – this program is open to any undergraduate student in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Writing should therefore be tailored towards lower classman comprehension and please avoid jargon as much as possible.
  • Please fill out word document proposal, then click “submit faculty proposal now” to upload document and complete the application process.

Beginning Researcher Proposal Outline for Faculty

Submit Faculty Proposal Now