Eckley Summer Scholars and Artists Endowment

Associate Professor of Computer Science Mark Liffiton supported Wenting Zhao '18 as she sought more complex, independent work.

Each year, five fellowships will be awarded to meritorious students to work full-time on campus over the summer as scholars and artists under the supervision of a faculty* member. This program is funded through the generosity of past-President and Mrs. Robert S. Eckley. Selected students will receive a $4,000 stipend and complimentary on-campus housing. Faculty sponsors will receive an honorarium of $500. The selection committee will be looking for the proposals that represent the breadth of scholarly and artistic study at Illinois Wesleyan.

This program is designed to support the development of a student's scholarly or artistic project through an extended and focused effort of academic mentoring. The proposed project can be related to the faculty sponsor’s research agenda, but it should not be limited to simply assisting with one of the sponsor’s own projects. Proposals for projects evolving from course work must clearly articulate how the project is being developed beyond the restrictions of the course agenda.

This project will deepen research and creative competencies and help students prepare for pre-professional or graduate schools as well as future employment. For faculty, this program provides an opportunity to work with talented students, providing professional mentorship on topics of mutual scholarly or artistic interest.

To be considered for this program, students and faculty sponsors should submit the following application materials. Students developing proposals should turn in their part of the application to faculty advisors two weeks before the due date.

Students will write a 2-3 page letter of application that includes:

  • A project title;
  • An outline of their proposed project, including the goals of the project; the methodology or technique that will guide their work and a timetable for completion; an explanation of how the project is original and independent of classwork; and the role of the faculty sponsor in assisting the applicant with their proposed project;
  • A description of their previous work that has prepared them for this summer's project;
  • A statement of why participation in this program would be of particular benefit to their long-term academic or professional career plans;
  • Proposals should be comprehensible to the non-specialist so as to allow reviewers to assess the quality, significance, and feasibility of the project. Students are encouraged to work with the Writing Center and faculty sponsors to improve the quality of their proposal.

Faculty sponsors will write a letter of support that includes:

  • A description of the student's qualifications to carry out the proposed project;
  • A candid evaluation of the proposed project which should address the following:
    • how the goals may be completed within the stated time frame, 
    • and the student’s capacity for completing independent work;
  • An explanation of how the project is original, making clear how it is not simply assisting with one of the sponsor’s own projects;
  • A description of the nature and frequency of the contact the sponsor will have with the applicant during the summer;.

Exemplary proposals show a clear engagement from both the student and faculty sponsor. 

Students in the program will be expected to:

  • Treat the project as the primary focus of their summer scholarly and/or artistic experience;
  • Submit a one to two page summary of their work to the Associate Provost by September 15th;
  • Participate in bi-weekly conversations with other Eckley scholars during the summer. 

A call will be issued in December of each year. All materials will be due to the Associate Provost's Office by 4:30pm on February 17, 2017, and will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee. Awards will be announced shortly thereafter.

*Non tenure-track faculty members are eligible to serve as faculty sponsors for student applicants, providing they are available to meet regularly with the student over the summer and that a tenure-track faculty member in their field is available to substitute, if necessary.

Past Winners

2017: Liuting Chen '18, Jamie Kreppein '18, Rebekah Nulty '19, Mansi Patel '18, Ashley Sons '18

2016: Martha Aguirre '17, Boryana Borisova '17, Paige Buschman '17, Shannon Maloney '18, Zach Silver '18

2015:  Stephanie AuBuchon ’16, David Allen Flowers ’16, Michelle Riechers ’16, Ryan Schonert ’16, Wenting Zhao ’18 

2014:    Natalie Hoijer ’15, Mike Kistner ’15, Niccole Nelson ’16 , Thomas Simmons ’15 and Kiri Stauch ’16

2013:    Maggie Zhou ’14, Timothy Mueller ’14, Sarah Menke ’15, Molly Guenette ’14 and Ryan Winter ’14

2012:    Sarah Takushi '13, Dustin Springer '13, Rachel Branson '14, Justyna Koscielniak '14 and Daniel Maurer '12