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Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement

Butler Summer Institute

Butler Summer Institute2019 Butler Summer Institute Dates: May 19 - July 19

The Butler Summer Institute (BSI) is designed to allow rising sophomores-seniors enrolled full time at Butler University 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, scholars, and artists.

Those accepted into the Butler Summer Institute will:

  • Work closely with a faculty mentor to create original scholarship or creative endeavor
  • Work and live with other Butler students who are equally engaged in scholarship or creative endeavor
  • Produce work worthy of acceptance at a professional conference or in a professional publication
  • Engage in a transformational learning experience
  • Receive a $4,500 stipend, a housing allowance for campus accommodations, and free admission to cultural events scheduled throughout the summer

Due to limited funding and our desire to fund as many projects as possible, students may only participate in the BSI program once during their tenure at Butler University. A student selected as a CHASE Scholar may apply for the BSI only if the proposed BSI project is significantly different from the student's CHASE Scholars project. 

Important BSI Dates & Deadlines

  • October 4, 2:00 - 3:00 PM (JH 141): BSI Information Session.
  • November 1: Statement of Intent deadline (Note: this statement is optional—students may still apply for BSI if they do not submit this form).
  • November 29: Prospective Faculty Mentor luncheon--Invitation only (Invitations to the luncheon will be emailed to prospective faculty mentors whose students submitted Statements of Intent to Apply)
  • January 31, noon: Completed proposal deadline (including Faculty Mentor Recommendation). All proposals must be submitted no later than noon via email. Be sure each proposal includes the BSI Proposal Cover Page. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed.
  • March: BSI Scholars Announced.
  • March 27, 2:00-3:00 PM (AU 326): Mandatory Meeting for BSI Scholars.
  • 2020 BSI: May 17 - July 17 

BSI Information Packet, Proposal Cover Page, 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 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 for 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

Students: 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:

Congratulations to our 2018 BSI Scholars & Faculty Mentors!

McKenna Albers, Biochemistry (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Geoffrey Hoops)

     Project Title: Altering Substrate Specificity of the Serine Hydrolase Enzyme TM007

Camille Arnett, English French (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ania Spyra)

     Project Title: Terrible Am I, Child?

Neel Bhagat, Biochemistry (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Geoffrey Hoops)

     Project Title: Characterization of Autocatalytic Degredation in serine hydrolase pRuby-FTT258

Nicholas Bantz, Chemistry & Biology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Philip Villani)

     Project Title: Hormones and the Signaling Pathway of Bud Formation in Ceratodon purpureus

Sean Callahan, Biology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Stobart)

     Project Title: Elucidation of Key Functional Residues Associated with Mouse Hepatitis Virus (MHV) nsp5 protease dimerization

Cody Carley, Chemistry & Biology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stacy O'Reilly)

     Project Title: Are the Ligands Talking? Exploring Possible Ligand to Ligand Communication in a Seven Coordinate Metal Complex

Danielle Carr, Pharmacy (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Chad Knoderer)

     Project Title: Social Justice and Diversity in Pharmacy Program Curricula

Lauren Ciulla, Biology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nathanael Hauck)

     Project Title: Gene Expression of Peroxidase and Catalase in Response to Fungal Elicitors in P. patens

Angie Dusak, Biology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lindsay Lewellyn)

     Project Title: Exploring the Connections Between Misshapen, E-cadherin, and Moesin in the Germline of the Developing Fruit Fly

Megan Franke, Biology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christopher Stobart)

     Project Title: Structural and Functional Analysis of the Third Domain of Mouse Hepatitis Virus nsp5 protease domain 3

Asif Hossain, Chemistry (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jeremy Johnson)

     Project Title: Investigation of Factors that Trigger Essential Conformational Changes in FTT258

William Howard, Biology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Philip Villani)

     Project Title: The Role of Circadian Rhythms in Modulating Plant-Pathogen Defenses

Heidi Kastenholz, Chemistry (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anne Wilson)

     Project Title: Case Studies of Reference Materials in Conservation Science

Erin Kile, Chemistry & Middle/Secondary Education (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jeremy Johnson)

     Project Title: Ester-Protected Ethambutol Derivatives

CJ Koch, Chemistry & Math (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mark Macbeth)

     Project Title: Determination of the Structure of the Sigma-1 Receptor

Kasey Meeks, Health Sciences (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Peak)

     Project Title: Mental Health Attitudes by Major

Emily Nettesheim, Health Sciences (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Kowalski)

     Project Title: Neuronal Localization of FSHR-1 Expression Using CRISPR Cas-9 in C. elegans

Courtney Rooker, Communication Sciences and Disorders (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tonya Bergeson-Dana)

     Project Title: The Role of Bilingualism in Rhythm Perception and Grammar

David Ryskamp, Biology & Chemistry (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Kowalski)

     Project Title: Investigation of the FSHR-1 Receptor and its Downstream Pathway Components in Neuromuscular Signaling

Brianna Sorenson, Computer Science Mathematics (Faculty Mentors: Dr. Jon Sorenson & Dr. Jonathan Webster)

     Project Title: Erdos-Selfridge Function

Lilli Southern, Communication Sciences and Disorders (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tonya Bergeson-Dana)

     Project Title: Detecting Cues of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Maternal Interaction Between a Child with a Cochlear Implant

Emily Stark, Anthropology & Psychology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elise Edwards)

     Project Title: Mental Illnes Stigma Across Racial and Ethnic Lines in the United States

Isaiah Strong, Strategic Communication Recording Industry Studies (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Susan Adams)

     Project Title: Race and Education in Indianapolis Public Schools

Liam VanderElzen, Chemistry (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Todd Hopkins)

     Project Title: Chiral Discrimination in Chiral Deep Eutectic Solvents

Shriya Vinjimoor, Health Sciences (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Berry)

     Project Title: Effects of Alcohol and Nicotine Co-Dependence in a Binge-like Animal Model

Colleen Wilkes, French & Communication Sciences & Disorders (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sylvie Vanbaelen)

     Project Title: Mastering the History of Francophone Cuisine: French Colonalism's Impact on North African Food


2018 BSI Final Presentation Schedule

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

Poster Presentations will occur July 10 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm in Irwin Library, Collaborative Space

Oral Presentations will occur July 11 from 12:30 - 4:15 pm in Jordan Hall, 141

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.