The Keck Sciences Department for the Claremont Colleges

Summer Environmental Research Fellows Program


The Mellon Environmental Research Fellows Program

Tips for Preparing a Successful Application

Take time to think through your research goals and complete the Research Fellowship Application. Communicating the scientific significance of your research and your research goals are critical components of your application. Compose your proposal off-line before beginning to fill out the application. We strongly suggest that you not wait until the deadline and do not try to write "on the fly."

  • State your goals and hypothesis clearly.
  • Research what other investigators have published on your topic. This will prevent repetition of work that has already been done and may also help you to develop additional questions to pursue.
  • State the background information in your proposal very briefly. Avoid the common pitfall of presenting too much background and neglecting to develop methods and objectives.
  • Describe your methods.
  • In general, your advisor should provide funding for consumables or travel. However, if you know that your award monies are to be used for non-salary purposes (e.g., equipment purchase, travel costs, etc.), prepare a budget with justifications for expenses. This is especially important if you are requesting funding for items that may not normally receive funding (e.g., electronic equipment, software, etc.).
  • Indicate the significance of this research and how your study contributes to the larger picture of research in your field of study.
  • Schedule a meeting with your project advisor to talk about your research goals. Doing this will help you to write a better, more informed research proposal.
  • If the proposed work falls within the constraints of an ongoing project, your proposal should clearly state how your work meshes with the larger project and how your proposed work is a unique contribution.
  • Proofread and spell-check your responses prior to submitting your application.
  • Seek feedback on your proposal from others (faculty, prior Fellowship awardees, peers).

Meet the Deadlines

  • The annual deadline is the first (1st) Monday in February. This means that your application and the letter of support from your mentor must be received by that date.
  • You should seek out a project mentor(s) during the Fall Semester. If you wait until you return from Winter break to choose a project, you may not have time to meet the application deadline. Request your letter of recommendation/support as soon as possible.
  • Before you begin writing, print a blank copy of the Application form to learn the information you will need to include. Assemble it later. We suggest that you complete the questions from Part II of the Application using any word processing program. When you and your mentor are satisfied with your responses, return to this website, then simply cut and paste your responses directly into the Application PDF.
  • After you begin your application, periodically check with your reference writer(s) to ensure that they have submitted their letter to the Keck Science Department. Your application will not be considered if a support letter is not received. Reference writers should send their support letter through campus mail, or deliver it in person to the Keck Science Department office. Letters should be addressed to the attention of the appropriate Fellowship Committee (e.g., Mellon, Keck, Seaver, etc.)

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