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Engaged Learning Center

Butler Summer Institute

Butler Summer Institute2021 Butler Summer Institute
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently discussing what options might be possible for the 2021 butler summer institute. we hope to have more information by late January. If there is a BSI, the application timeline will be modified from the traditional one.
For now, interested students should watch this site for more information. 

The Butler Summer Institute (BSI) is the university's preeminent undergraduate research program that allows students to pursue a significant research question, contribute to a scholarly conversation, or produce creative work while being mentored by a faculty member and supported by a peer community comprised of equally enthusiastic student researchers and artists. All full-time Butler University students who have not yet earned a baccalaureate or PharmD* degree are eligible to apply for the BSI.

Those accepted into the Butler Summer Institute will:

  • Receive a $4,500 award and free on-campus accommodations
  • Participate in professional development opportunities throughout the Institute
  • Engage in a transformational learning experience
  • Produce work worthy of publication or presentation at international, national, or regional conferences

Due to limited funding and the Program for Undergraduate Research Committee's desire to fund as many projects as possible, students may only participate in the BSI program once during their tenure at Butler

*Pharmacy majors are encouraged to apply to the BSI as rising P2s.  

Important BSI Dates & Deadlines

2021: we currently are in discussion about what might be possible for a 2021 BSI. We are hopeful that some sort of event can be held. Check here by late January for updated information.

BSI Information Packet, Proposal Cover Page, Faculty Mentor Recommendation, and Evaluation Rubric

BSI Information Packet

The BSI Information Packet provides an overview of the program (including the responsibilities for both BSI Scholars and Faculty Mentors) as well as the project proposal guidelines, checklist, cover page, and evaluation rubric the Programs for Undergraduate Research Committee will be using to evaluate the BSI Proposals. 

BSI Proposal Cover Page

All applicants must include the Proposal Cover Page as the first page of their application. You may access the fillable form via the link above, save it, and then merge it with your final proposal.

BSI Faculty Mentor Recommendation

All applicants must have their proposed faculty mentor complete a recommendation form. To access the recommendation form, click here. To view the questions on the Faculty Recommendation Form, click here

BSI Proposal Evaluation Rubric

To assist applicants understand how their proposals will be evaluated by the Programs for Undergraduate Research Committee, the rubric used to evaluate BSI proposals may be found on the last page of the BSI Information Packet.

Should I Apply to the BSI?

Do you have a research question you would like to pursue? Have you identified a specific contribution you can make to a scholarly conversation? Are you prepared to produce a creative work? If so, then BSI is a program you should definitely consider.

BSI Scholars are typically sophomores or juniors who have completed multiple courses related to the project topic, conducted research in one or more courses, and intend (or are required) to write a thesis.

BSI Scholars do not act independently; thus, consider applying for BSI if you have the time to commit to your own research as well as being an active member in a community of scholars. The program begins mid-May and concludes mid-July. During those weeks, you will live in campus housing, share many meals with BSI students and mentors, participate in a service project, attend events around Indianapolis, work intensely on your project, present your project, and feel an amazing sense of accomplishment at the completion of the Institute. A key component, one you should not overlook, is that we expect you to show interest in the work of your colleagues, listen attentively when they talk about the trials and tribulations of their research, and speak as clearly and simply as possible about your own project that fascinates you but may be quite unfamiliar to others. In other words, be present, be engaged, and be open to all that BSI has to offer. Your participation in BSI is considered to be a full-time job; thus, you may not participate in outside work or take classes during the BSI dates without prior agreement from the Director of the Summer Institute.

If you are confident there is a project you want to pursue and are certain you can devote the time to the Institute, then it's time to ask: Who among the faculty is the best person to serve as my mentor on this project? For some, a faculty member may have already encouraged you to pursue BSI and so your question has been answered. For others, you may wish to consider metnors who have taught courses relevant to the project you plan to pursue; consider faculty who teach a research methods course, courses that have provided the historical background of your topic, or courses that provide the latest thinking on your topic. Given the nature of the solo project, it is essential that you have completed some combination of courses that focus on research methods, historical overviews, and contemporary perspectives related to your topic. In addition, those courses connect you to faculty who have the expertise you need from a mentor and, just as important, who share your interest in a particular area of inquiry. Those are the faculty you should meet with and talk to about the project you are considering. Ask them for feedback, let them steer you in the direction of a solid question, the right background material, and ultimately a feasible plan for your project. If you feel there is a shared interest in your project, ask them about their interest in and availability to serve as your BSI mentor.

Please note: Students are only eligible to participate in the Butler Summer Institute once during their academic tenure at Butler.

BSI Sample Proposals

Applicants: Please refer to the BSI Information Packet for detailed information about completing your BSI Proposal and to access the Cover Page that must accompany each application (this information is found in the above tab titled "BSI Information Packet, Proposal Cover Page, and Evaluation Rubric."

As a reminder, all proposals are due February 1 at noon via e-mail (applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed). 

Mentors: You will need to complete a Faculty Mentor Recommendation Form that must be submitted no later than noon on February 1.

To assist students and mentors in developing projects suitable for BSI, we invite you to review the proposals of past BSI participants. Given that we encourage students from all disciplines to apply to the BSI, we have included as many subject areas as possible. If your discipline is not represented here, please feel free to contact the CHASE Office to see if we have one on file for you to review.

Sample Proposals:

BSI Travel to Present Grants

One incredible benefit of participating in the Butler Summer Institute is the opportunity to apply for the BSI Travel to Present Grant. Each BSI Scholar may be awarded up to $500 to present their competitively-reviewed research produced from their BSI project at an international, national, or regional conference. 

The grant proposal is a fillable form. As such, it just needs to be opened, filled in, saved, and emailed as an attachment to the BSI e-mail account at least 2 weeks prior to your travel. Once the application is received, the BSI Director will review the application, verify that the Scholar's work was competitively selected, and will alert you to the amount of funding you will receive from CHASE. Once grant recipients return from the conference, they must submit their receipts within seven (7) days to the CHASE office to begin the reimbursement process.

Due to Butler University's reimbursement policies, all expenses covered by the grant (e.g., airfare, conference registration, meals) must be paid for by the student. In addition, the BSI Director is happy to assist BSI Scholars who have received the TTP grant by purchasing airline tickets on her procurement card; therefore, it is best to complete the BSI TTP grant as soon as you receive confirmation that your paper/poster has been accepted.

Remember, the opportunity for BSI Scholars to apply for this grant remains with them throughout their time at Butler; that is, if Scholars don’t present at a conference during the academic year in which they participated in the BSI, they may still submit their BSI research to a conference the following academic year and apply for the travel grant at that time.

Please note: Due to limited funding, BSI Scholars who receive the BSI Travel to Present Grant are not eligible to apply for the university-wide Travel to Present Grant. 

Congratulations to our 2019 BSI Scholars & Faculty Mentors!

Catherine Bain, Psychology Major, Criminology                             

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Krista Cline

     Project Title: Evaluating the Stratification of Justice: The Relationships between Race, Gender, and Sentencing Length

Courtney Brown, Chemistry Major                                                     

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mark Macbeth

     Project Title: Comparison of Double-Stranded RNA Binding Motifs between Different Organisms

Morgan Buckley, Health Sciences Major                                           

 Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Kowalski

     Project Title: Investigation of the Role of the FSHR-1 protein in Regulating Neuromuscular Synapse Structure in C. elegans

Meg Caesar, Communication Sciences & Disorders Major               

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tonya Bergeson-Dana

     Project Title: Language Deprived Environments: The Effects of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Exposure and Hearing Loss on Speech-Language Development

Ashleigh Doub, Communication Sciences & Disorders Major       

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Gospel

     Project Title: Comparison of Language Coherence Measures in English and American Sign Language

Melissa Evans, Psychology & Critical Communication Major         

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Berry

     Project Title: Anxiety Inducing Effects of Alcohol and Caffeine in C57BL/6J Mice

Brittany Head, Political Science & Religion Major                             

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Greg Shufeldt

     Project Title: Revolving Door Practices and Access to Policy Making

Andrew Hesterhagen, Chemistry Major                                             

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Carl DeAmicis

     Project Title: Expanding the Use of Cyrene as a Sustainable Solvent for Industry

Abigail Hopkins, Violin Performance Major                                        

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Becky Marsh

     Project Title: Early-Career Teacher Perception of Music Teacher Education Programs in Indiana

Nathan Junod, Biology Major                                                                 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Stobart

     Project Title: Identifying the Susceptibility of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Strains to Inactivation by Human beta-Defensins

Mahmood Kedo, Biology Major                                                               

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean Berthrong

     Project Title: Prevalence of Aerial Microbiomes in Male, Female, and Gender-Neutral Restrooms

Sarah Knight, Health Sciences Major                                                       

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Peak

     Project Title: Health Effects, Generational Differences, and Social Determinants of JUULing

Eshaan Lothe, Healthcare & Business Major                                         

 Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristin Nichols

     Project Title: Antibiotic Prophylaxis in Pediatric Surgical Patients with Beta-Lactam Allergies

Spencer Lybrook, Biology Major                                                               

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sean Berthrong

     Project Title: Determination of Net Nitrogen Mineralization Rates of Urban Farm Soils in Indianapolis

Kyla Maloney, Pharmacy & MBA Major                                                       

Faculty Mentor: Dr. John Hertig

     Project Title: Patient Harm Associated with Illegal Online Drug Sellers: A Systematic Review

Alex McGrath, Music Composition & Computer Science Major               

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Frank Felice

     Project Title: Investigating and Applying the Techniques Used in Composing Tone Poems

Elise Merchak, Astrophysics & Astronomy Major                                       

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brian Murphy

     Project Title: A Detailed Analysis of the Variable Stars in Globular Cluster NGC 6402 (M14)

Paul W. Merkamp, Computer Science & Music Performance Major   

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Sorenson

     Project Title: Work Smarter, Not Harder: Creating a Musician’s Companion Application

Benjamin Nick, Biology & Chemistry Major                                               

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Stobart

     Project Title: Characterizing the Conservation and Functionality of the Interdomain Loop (IDL) of Mouse Hepatitis Virus (MHV) Protease nsp5

Tom Pieciak, Jazz Studies Major                                                                 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Matt Pivec

     Project Title: Songs of the Sinners: Jazz Music and Spirituality 

Julia Pomeroy, Chemistry Major                                                               

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacy O'Reilly

     Project Title: Reactivity of Tungsten Tris (1-pyrazolyl)methane Coordination Complexes

Sam Ross, Biology Major                                                                             

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Julia Angstmann

     Project Title: An Urban Flora: Tree, Shrub, and Herbaceous Cover, Frequency and Density of Holcomb Woods

Umayr Shaikh, Spanish & Chemistry Major                                           

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lindsay Lewellyn

     Project Title: Exploring Size Scaling Relationships in the Developing Fruit Fly Egg

Abby Shores, Biology Major                                                                       

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Kowalski

     Project Title: Exploring the Role of ACY and PKA Proteins in FSHR-1 Control of Neuromuscular Signaling in C. elegans

Samantha Stanley, Biomedical Engineering & Biology Major       

 Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Samide

     Project Title: Development of a Paper Oddy Test

Alex Stark, Chemistry Major                                                                     

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anne Wilson

     Project Title: The Synthesis of Indigo Using Electrochemitry

Viktor Stjepic, Biology & Philosophy Major                                         

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Phil Villani

     Project Title: Antimicrobial Defense Against Bacterial Pathogens within Bryophytes

Madeleine Wilson, Chemistry Major                                                     

Faculty Mentor: Dr. John Esteb

     Project Title: Synthesis of Fluorescein Derivatives for Bacterial Esterase Characterization

Reagan Wohlford, Biology Major                                                         

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lindsay Lewellyn

     Project Title: Assessing the Role of Dock in Follicle Cells of Drosophila melanogaster Egg Chambers

Chris Zeheralis, Pharmacy Major                                                         

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jeremy Johnson

     Project Title: Direct Observation of Drug Binding to Acyl Protein Thioesterases Using Tryptophan Fluorescence

2019 BSI Final Presentation Schedule

BSI Scholars' Final Presentations are open to the Butler community and the public. 

Oral Presentation, Session I will occur July 15 (Monday) from 12:30 - 3:30 pm in Pharmacy & Health Sciences Building, Room 150

Poster Presentations will occur July 16 (Tuesday) from 1:00 - 2:30 pm in Irwin Library, Collaborative Space

Oral Presentation, Session II will occur July 17 (Wednesday) from 12:30 - 4:30 pm in Pharmacy & Health Sciences Building, Room 150