First-Year Scholars Program

First-Year Scholars Program

The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the expansion of the First-Year Scholars Program. Now in its second year, this program pairs a faculty mentor with a first-year student to engage in a year-long research project. 

The goal of this program is to introduce first-year students to the undergraduate research experience. We encourage students to apply for projects they find interesting, regardless of whether the projects are in their majors.

The students will serve as apprentices and will be integrated into the research programs of the faculty mentors, learning from both the faculty mentor and peers. This program helps students gain early research experience, which sets them on a path for future success. Research shows that early engagement in research is associated with positive outcomes, such as improved retention, progression, and graduation rates (Nagda et al., 1998; Schneider et al., 2015) and enrollment in graduate school (Hathaway et al., 2002). The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to support early involvement in undergraduate research.

Click here to view projects from the inaugural year - 2019-2020. 

    • First-Year Scholars receive $1,000 in the Fall and $1,000 in the Spring. They are expected to work on the research project for a minimum of 10 hours per week. 
    • Faculty Mentors receive a total of $2,000 in funding related to the project. These funds can be used at any time during the academic year. Funding can be used for professional development, virtual conference registration, supplies/materials related to the project, software, etc. (please contact us at with questions regarding allowable expenses). 
    • Full-time KSU faculty members who are interested in mentoring a first-year student are eligible to apply. The application period for the 2020-2021 academic year is closed. 
    • Descriptions of current available projects can be found here.
    • Criteria:
      • Strong track record of mentoring undergraduate researchers
      • Productive research program (strong publication record, external funding, strong conference participation)
      • Representative of the full breadth of research activity at Kennesaw State University
    • Selection is competitive; you will be notified if you have been selected within a week of the deadline. 
    • Faculty funding will become available after the student has been selected. 
    • Advertisement will occur through University Admissions and Student Inform.
    • Current application period closed. 
    • Students:
      • Submission portal can be accessed here.
      • Descriptions of current projects can be found here.
    • Students must be in their first year of college at KSU with fewer than 30 transfer credits (not including AP and dual enrollment credits).
    • The project will be presented at the Symposium of Student Scholars in April.
    • Project outlines will be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research.
    • Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) staff will meet with the faculty mentors regarding student selection.
    • OUR staff will provide workshops for the first-year scholars throughout the year.
    • OUR will coordinate with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to track Retention, Progression, and Graduation (RPG) rates for participating students.
    • Faculty mentors and first-year scholars will be surveyed annually regarding impact on research productivity.
    • Hathaway, R. S., Nagda, B. A., & Gregerman, S. R. (2002). The relationship of undergraduate research participation to graduate and professional education pursuit: An empirical study. Journal of College Student Development, 43, 614-631.
    • Nagda, B. A., Gregerman, S. R., Jonides, J., von Hippel, W., & Lerner, J. S. (1998). Undergraduate student-faculty research partnerships affect student retention. The Review of Higher Education, 22, 55-72.
    • Schneider, K. R., Bickel, A., & Morrison-Shetlar, A. (2015). Planning and implementing a comprehensive student-centered research program for first-year STEM undergraduates. Journal of College Science Teaching, 44(3), 37-43.