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Richter Scholar Program

  • The Richter Scholar Summer Research Program provides students with the opportunity to conduct independent, individual research with Lake Forest College faculty early in their academic careers.

    The ultimate goal of this program is to foster a strong commitment to the intellectual life, and to encourage participating students to consider careers in research and teaching.

    Academically excellent students with an interest in research are invited to apply for the Richter Scholar Summer Research program in the early spring of their first year. During this time, they work one-on-one with a faculty member, doing independent research in one of a wide variety of fields. As the Richter Scholars live and work together and participate in a weekly colloquium, they become a community of peers, providing encouragement and support for one another’s research endeavors. The result is a group of scholars motivated to continue their intellectual achievement in the future.

    Richter Scholar News

      A research paper on muscle activity in swimming bluegill sunfish, co-authored by Assistant Professor of Biology Margot Schwalbe, has been published in Scientific Reports.
    • Shubhik DebBurman
      Shubhik DebBurman was named a 2019 Researcher To Know by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition. The list includes 21 researchers from Illinois colleges and universities who have made a significant impact in their field.
    • Students get hands-on experience presenting their own research during the Richter program.

      A group of 45 first-year students participated this summer in the 2019 Richter Scholar program conducting collaborative research with faculty from diverse disciplines, including art, biology, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, religion, communication, and finance.

    Program Options

    Lake Forest College is pleased to offer two distinct versions of the Richter Scholar Program for Summer 2020. The two programs deliberately differ in length and scope to provide the most flexibility to our faculty and students so that we attract our most talented faculty scholars to serve as mentors and our most intellectually motivated First-Year students to apply and be selected for this program.

    During the research period, students do not pay tuition, and residence and dining halls will be available at no cost.

    All eligible first-year students will receive the online Summer 2020 Richter Scholar Application form once the spring semester gets under way in mid January.  This email will further detail the application and selection process, and will include the 2020 List of Faculty Proposals.

    To be eligible to receive an invitation to apply for the Richter Program, First-Year students must have completed at least three one-credit courses at Lake Forest College during fall semester 2019, including successful completion of a FIYS course, and achieved a minimum 3.3 GPA. 

    The deadline for submitting applications to the Richter Scholar Program is Friday, January 31, 2020.  Faculty letters of recommendation are due by Friday, February 7, 2020.

    All invited applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the 2020 Richter Scholar Information Session from 4-5 p.m. at McCormick Auditorium (Lillard Hall) on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

    Email the Chair of the Richter Scholar Committee (Dr. James Marquardt, marquardt@lakeforest.edu) for all questions.

    Below are the descriptions of the two programs.

    RSCH 181: Independent Research Experience I (20-25 students)

    This award is given to selected students to engage in a 3.5-week research project, beginning immediately after the College’s commencement and coinciding with Summer May Term (May 12-June 5). 

    For RSCH 181 (Independent Research Experience I), faculty will offer a targeted research experience that will be focused and intense, with special emphasis on short-term outcomes. This is ideal for projects that are “ready to go,” where students can begin researching on day one. Faculty mentoring in this short-term research experience will rely on frequent and direct contact with students. This experience may include off-campus visits to libraries and museums, fieldwork, archival research, content analysis and any other activity that can be realistically worked into a three-week period. Students will not necessarily end this research program with a finished product, but they will engage in a rich, substantive experience and will make substantial progress. Some projects may accommodate multiple students resulting in a research community that may resemble a “mini” course – but one that focuses on the research experience.

    Students working on independent research projects will also meet as a group under the auspices of the Summer Program faculty advisor, engage in some social activities as a group, and present their research findings at a common forum at the end of the term.

    Students will receive 0.5 course credit (RSCH181), evaluated on a Pass-Fail basis, at the successful completion of the research period. This credit will count towards overall graduation credits but will not satisfy GEC or major requirements. This independent research project will provide for 75 hours of student work during the first summer session. The recommendation for the distribution of these contact hours is as follows: a minimum 15 hours of direct faculty contact/supervision, 55 hours of independent research work, and five hours of group coordination by the Summer Program faculty advisor.

    RSCH 182: Independent Research Experience II (10-15 students) This award is given to selected students to engage in a 10-week research project where the research project start date is May 18 and the end date is July 24. Any changes to the start and end dates may only be requested after you have been selected as a Richter Scholar and must be agreed upon by the faculty mentor you have been matched with and by the faculty summer director of the Richter Program, James Marquardt.

    For RSCH 182 (Independent Research Experience II), long-term projects will start more slowly and develop over time. The longer research period is essential to the nature of the work conducted in these sustained research outcomes. Professorial mentoring is key and the student will work under the direction of a professor, sometimes alongside that professor. Yet these projects will also require more independent work than in RSCH181.

    Students working on different projects will also meet and engage in some social activities as a group and will present their research findings at a formal symposium at the end of the term.

    Students will receive one course credit (RSCH182), evaluated on a Pass-Fail basis, at the successful completion of the research period. This credit will count towards overall graduation credits but will not satisfy GEC or major requirements. This session involves 150 hours of work for credit, and 250 hours of work for pay, for a total of 400 hours of student work. The 150 hours devoted to one-course credit comprise a minimum of 25 hours of direct faculty contact/supervision, 100 hours of independent research work, and 25 hours of group coordination by the Summer Program faculty advisor. The student is compensated for the remaining 250 hours, composed of independent research and direct faculty contact/supervision, with a $2,000 stipend.

Click here for a list of previous Richter Scholars.