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Supporting Undergraduate Research at Abilene Christian University since 2009

Undergraduate Student Grants for Scholarly/Creative Activities

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 in Activities, Announcement, Faculty Mentor, Grants, Student Researcher, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Undergraduate Student Grants for Scholarly/Creative Activities

This 2018-2019 Academic Year, we announce the availability of funds for undergraduate students who wish to conduct their own independent research studies, under the mentorship of a faculty member. Applications are due by 5pm on Friday, November 30th, and awards are expected to be announced in mid December. Please see the information below on eligibility and the application process.

The undergraduate student grant fund was established as part of a strategic initiative to support undergraduate research at Abilene Christian University. The intent of the program is to provide support for undergraduate students to complete novel, student-led research/creative scholarship. The financial resources and number of applicants within a given fiscal year determine the number of grants awarded. It is expected that awards will range between $1,000-2,000, though this will vary depending on these factors.

Full-time ACU undergraduate students are eligible to apply. Grants will be awarded, based on a competitive selection process, to proposals that demonstrate potential for serious research and creative activity. The Undergraduate Research Council considers the proposals submitted and approves those judged best according to the following criteria:

  • Worth and value to the discipline, researcher, or the university.
  • Clear goals, objectives, and outcomes.
  • Use of sound, clearly explained methodology and procedures.
  • Clear writing that is precise, detailed, and understandable to a lay audience.
  • Expected outcome of project (e.g., a book, article, paper, presentation, video).
  • Likelihood of successful completion in a reasonable time.

Undergraduate Student Grants are intended to support scholarly activities including:

  • quantitative research studies,
  • qualitative research studies,
  • technological innovations, and
  • developmental and innovative research activity related to musical compositions or artistic production.

Furthermore, this program seeks to:

  • Increase student involvement in research
  • Encourage novel, student-led research and scholarly activity
  • Promote research presentation and publication by ACU undergraduates

The following budget categories are allowable:

  • Training Stipend. Students may request a training stipend up to $500/semester working on the project. Students should work with their faculty mentor to complete a student internship packet.
  • Expenses related to the research. This amount is limited to essential and necessary materials, supplies, equipment, participant and consultant support which is directly connected with the research project.

Ineligible expenses include clerical work, office supplies, telephone, computer equipment, and travel that is not essential to the conduct of the research.

Projects should be completed during a single fiscal year and must produce a tangible, scholarly product. Examples of acceptable outcomes include presentation at a professional conference, a juried performance, an article submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal, etc.

A final report detailing the progress made and the scholarly product completed is due by April 31 following the project period. Awardees will receive an email from OUR in the Spring semester with further details on how to complete the report.


Every individual who receives a grant must agree to the ACU Intellectual Property Agreement. The applicant agrees to certain rights and claims against copyrights and patents resulting from university support. Funds cannot be released to any grantee without this acknowledgement of the agreement. The Intellectual Property Agreement may be found on the ORSP website.

Every grantee is assigned a budget for expenses if any are awarded. Stipends are awarded through the Office of Undergraduate Research following completion of the Internship paperwork. All budgets must be cleared and accounted for by April 1 of the final project year. Grantees without proper accounting forms are liable for the expenses incurred.

All grantees must have completed EthicsCORE Responsible Conduct of Research training (requirement currently on hold). Training instructions may be found in the ORSP Classroom. If the project involves research with human subjects, IRB approval must be obtained prior to conduct of the research. Likewise, animal research requires IACUC approval.

To apply, please complete the Student Grant Application and Student Budget Application Forms below and email to or by 5pm on Friday, November 30th. Please be sure to indicate who is the Faculty Mentor who will be advising the student on the project.


student budget application form

For Information on how the applications will be judged, please see an example of the rubric below.

student grants-eval-form

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2016 ACU Undergraduate Research Festival

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Activities, Conferences, Feature | Comments Off on 2016 ACU Undergraduate Research Festival

The ACU Undergraduate Research Festival is an annual conference at which ACU undergraduate students present research they have done in the last year. The 8th Research Festival was April 5, 2016. Read more about the Festival and award winners at

The 9th Research Festival will be April 4, 2017.

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SPUR Travel Grants

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Activities, Grants, Student Researcher | Comments Off on SPUR Travel Grants

With the financial support of the Student Association, the Student Panel on Undergraduate Research awards travel grants to undergraduate researchers. These awards help students travel to professional conferences to present their work.  The awards are awarded based on a rubric.

Fall 2016 SPUR Travel Grant Awardees

  • Mikalia Bradberry (Music) National Association of Teachers of Singing
  • Sonia Cyuzuzo (Engineering and Physics) PhysCon
  • Clint Taylor (Engineering and Physics) WASH Summit
  • Cecily Towell (Engineering and Physics) PhysCon
  • Megan Cromis (Engineering and Physics) PhysCon
  • Chelsea Fordham (Social Work) North American Christians in Social Work Annual Convention
  • Lauren Selensky (Engineering and Physics) PhysCon
  • Zhaojia Xi (Engineering and Physics) 2016 Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics
  • Courtney Tee (Communication and Sociology) Association for the Sociology of Religion

Spring 2016 SPUR Travel Grant Awardees

  • Kristen Brehm (Chemistry and Biochemistry) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Andrew Brown (International Studies) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Luke Cooksey (Biochemistry) Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Symposium
  • Megan Cromis (Engineering) National Conference on Undergraduate Research
  • Angela Fogle (Bible, Missions, and Ministry) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Chelsea Fordham (Social Work) National Association of Social Work Baccalaureate Program Directors Annual Conference
  • Mackenzie Harrington (Communication and Sociology) Eastern Communication Association Conference
  • Bre Heinrich (Social Work) National Association of Social Work Baccalaureate Program Directors Annual Conference
  • Savannah Hipes (Psychology) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Tina Johnson (Biology) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Kimberly Martinez (Communication and Sociology) Eastern Communication Association Conference
  • Chelsea Peer (History) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Kathryn Preston (Biology) Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Symposium
  • Rachael Schaad (Bible and Ministry) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Amanda Stephens (Accounting) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Julia Taylor (Biochemistry) Alpha Chi National Convention
  • Jaime Thompson (Biology) Texas Academy of Sciences
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Research Festival T-Shirt Design Contest – $50 Prize

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in Activities, Announcement, Conferences | Comments Off on Research Festival T-Shirt Design Contest – $50 Prize

The Student Panel on Undergraduate Research (SPUR) is soliciting an original design to print on the Research Festival t-shirt to be sold at the 2016 Undergraduate Research Festival. Profits from the t-shirt sales will go toward funding student travel to external conferences. If your design is chosen by SPUR you will receive a prize of $50 and, of course, a free t-shirt. You must be an ACU undergraduate student to participate.

We suggest that the design represent more than one area of research. You may if you wish incorporate the Undergraduate Research Crest on the t-shirt. Please email if you would like copy of the crest.

The design must include the elements:
1. The text “ACU Undergraduate Research Festival”
2. The current year, 2016
3. One color for the printed design

You retain ownership, but grant the ACU Office of Undergraduate Research rights to use your art. Please submit your design electronically to the Office of Undergraduate Research at The office may also be contacted with questions regarding designs and this contest, in general. Submissions are due by 5 PM Friday, February 5. We look forward to seeing your work! 

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Undergraduate Research Dinner Fall 2015

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Activities, Feature | Comments Off on Undergraduate Research Dinner Fall 2015

2015 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year finalists: Marc Gutierrez, Bre Heinrich, and Soo Hun Yoon. (Not pictured Caleb Orr, Kristen Clemons, and Hannah Hamilton)

2015 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year finalists: Marc Gutierrez, Bre Heinrich, and Soo Hun Yoon. (Not pictured Caleb Orr, Kristen Clemons, and Hannah Hamilton)

Thursday, October 30, ACU undergraduate researchers and their mentors got together to celebrate research done by ACU students in the past year. Dr. Richard Beck and student Marc Gutierrez talked about the importance they saw in undergraduate research.

Undergraduate Researcher of the Year Finalists and Winners were announced in two categories: STEM and Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The finalists in STEM were Hannah Hamilton (Engineering and Physics), Kristen Clemons (Biology) and Soo Hun Yoon (Chemistry and Biochemistry). Soo Hun Yoon was named 2015 STEM Undergraduate Researcher of the Year.

The finalists in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences were Caleb Orr (Communication and Sociology and Political Science), Bre Heinrich (Social Work), and Marc Gutierrez (Music).  Caleb Orr was named the 2015 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Researcher of the Year.

The mentors for these students in order as listed above were Dr. Rusty Towell, Dr. Jennifer Huddleston, Dr. Greg Powell, Dr. Suzie Macaluso, Dr. Stephen Baldridge and Dr. Rick Piersall.


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Summer Research Round Up 2015

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Activities, Arts, Feature, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, Student Researcher, Summer Research Opportunities | Comments Off on Summer Research Round Up 2015

ACU Undergraduate Researchers were busy this summer working on a variety of projects. Over 50 students from more than 15 departments have participated in research this summer. Seventeen students participated in research through the McNair Scholars program. Other students and faculty were supported by Pursuit Research Grants and Office of Undergraduate Research Summer Stipend Grants.

Here are some of the things we know about (let us know what we are missing):

McNair Scholars: The McNair Scholars Program had a successful Summer Research Internship! 17 students with 12 different majors did research with 15 mentors. They will be presenting their work at national McNair conferences in the coming months.

Biology: In Dr. Jennifer Huddleston’s lab, Jeffrey Wooliscroft worked on determining levels of antibiotic resistance in bacteria isolated from cave samples. Jamie Thompson, Isabel Laiseca-Ruiz and Kristen Brehm worked with Dr. Rebecca Hunter in trying to determine if local queen and monarch butterflies were infected with two common bacterial parasites that are known to adversely affect butterflies in a number of ways. Kyle Stainsby, Savannah Vincent, Wipawee Songsang, and Dr. Qiang Xu studied the house-keeping genes in the Horn Fly.

Chemistry and Biochemistry: Eight students and 3 faculty members participated in on-going research projects in biochemistry and organometallic synthesis. Projects included studying modified yeast, Synthesis and X-ray Crystal Structure of Asymmetrical Diosmium Sawhorse Complexes, and Synthesis and Structural Characterization of New Trinuclear and Hexanuclear Osmium Carbonyl Cluster Complexes.

Engineering and Physics: This summer the Nuclear Physics Research Group worked with 8 ACU students.  Four students worked on FNAL E906/SeaQuest at Fermilab with Dr. Donald Isenhower, Dr. Michael Daugherity, and Shon Watson.  Four other students worked on PHENIX and sPHENIX with Dr. Rusty Towel at Brookhaven National Lab.

Dr. Darby Hewitt worked with Ryan Wilson, Sydney Shelstead, and Candace Brooks. Candace worked on computer-controlling a 1960s-era monochromator, and Ryan and Sydney investigated fluorescence properties of Thallium-doped CsI under 405nm laser excitation. Megan Cromis worked with Dr. Tim Kennedy on a project that looked at the Ability of the BioSand Filter to remove Organic and Inorganic contaminants from water. Students worked with Dr. Matthew Steele on developing and constructing an operational lab scale anaerobic sequencing batch reactor.

Teacher Education: Hannah Lowry, Cathy Ford and Dr. Andrew Huddleston worked to understand how first year teachers make decisions about the reading assessment and instructional practices they use in their classrooms.

Theatre: Will McInerney and Dr. Adam Hester workshopped an original musical “After Zoey” in New York City. Will helped created and performed a new character “The Boyfriends” in this work written by Dr. Hester.

Check out pictures of Summer Researchers (that were shared with us.)


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