Description of the DERI program
The goal of the DERI program is to give high school students an extended research experience resulting in sufficient data to support a presentation. At the same time, the program provides graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to develop critical skills in proposal writing and mentoring students; skills that will benefit them in their future careers, whether in academia or industry. Therefore, the program requires the participation of the high school research fellows, their research mentors, and the faculty mentor in whose lab they will work.

DERI Fellows
DERI invites high school students interested in engineering or computer science to apply for a one year fellowship, which will begin in the summer. DERI fellows will be expected to work a total of 60 hours during the summer, starting no earlier than July 1. The one-year program will continue into the school year, and DERI fellows will work at least 4 hours a week during the school year (those weeks where both the high school and VCU are in session). During the spring semester, the student will be expected to prepare a poster based on the research project that they have been part of. Posters should be submitted to and presented at VJAS.

DERI fellows will be selected based on their GPA (3.3 or higher), their resume, and their interest in research as evidenced by two letters of recommendation from high school math or science teachers and a personal statement. The application should contain an unofficial high school transcript, and a one page personal statement (single spaced with 1” margins and Arial font size 11). Up to 10 students will be selected by a review committee with representation from all departments in the School of Engineering. Fellows and mentors will then be matched. Applications for 2016 fellowships will be accepted starting December 1, 2015 and are due February 26, 2016. Final laboratory placements will be announced by April 7, 2016. Final laboratory placements will be announced by April 7, 2016. DERI fellows will receive $200 support to attend a local scientific event (such as VJAS) to present work as determined by the faculty mentor. In addition, a travel allowance may be applied for based on financial need.

DERI Research Mentors
School of Engineering graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will serve as research mentors for the DERI fellows. Research mentors will design and submit an appropriate research project proposal for the high school student. Proposals should not exceed two single spaced type-written pages (1” margins, Arial font size 11) and should state the overall goal of the study, hypothesis to be tested (where appropriate), specific aims, significance and a brief background, and methods to be used. References may be provided on an additional page. The proposal must also contain a letter from the faculty mentor confirming his/her willingness to provide support for the project, including any supplies needed. The research mentor’s biosketch in either the NSF or NIH format should accompany the proposal. The selection committee will review the proposals and identify up to 10 research projects for potential match to DERI fellows. Each research mentor will receive $500 support to attend a scientific conference determined by the faculty mentor. Proposals are due by February 26, 2016.

This fellowship is open to full time high school students in their junior year, receiving a high school diploma in June 2017. Students MUST be 16 by August 1, 2016. This is a one year commitment to research that begins in Summer 2016 and extends through May 2017.

All completed applications are due February 26, 2016, and announcement of participants will be made by April 7, 2016.

For application forms and guidelines, please contact:

Lorraine Parker, Ph.D.
Director, Dean’s Early Research Initiative
(804) 828-4704