Summer Student Research Program

2018 SSRP Assessment (.pdf)

Fall Student Research Symposium program (.pdf)

The Summer Student Research Program (SSRP) supports independent student research and scholarly activity each summer. The program is open to students from all disciplines, and is structured to enrich the educational experience in several ways.

First, SSRP enables students to engage in original research and creative activity under the guidance of a faculty mentor. This opportunity to work closely with an expert gives the student a chance to expand their knowledge of a chosen academic discipline. Secondly, because the research is independent of the structured classroom setting, students experience the excitement and challenges of applying their knowledge and skills to solve new problems. Finally, students draw on their general studies coursework and learn about research in other disciplines, broadening their understanding of the differences and connections between various fields of study.

The program begins in Mid-May, with all the students participating in an overnight field trip. By late May, they have begun work in earnest, meeting with their mentors on a regular basis and participating in weekly meetings with other student scholars. These discussions are meant to foster awareness of research issues outside their major, and may include topics like research ethics, the use of statistics, or the creative process in the arts. Meetings end by August 1, and students must complete a research paper before the beginning of the new academic year. In September each year, students then present their work on posters and in oral presentations in the Fall Student Research Symposium.


To be eligible for the 2020 SSRP, students must meet the following criteria:

  • be a full-time student at UNK in Spring and Fall 2020
  • be eligible to work in the United States
  • plan to graduate not before December 2020
  • be able to participate in field trips (late May, 2020); weekly meetings every Wednesday from 9 am to 11 am May 22 through July 31; and the Fall Student Research Symposium in October 2020
  • must be able to commit 20 hours per week in June, July, and August to conduct their research and complete their research paper

Students are allowed to hold outside jobs and take summer classes, provided they do not interfere with research work or participation in the Wednesday meetings and field trips.

Students are paid $3250 ($650 per month May through September).


The first step in the application process is to talk to faculty in your area of interest, and find a faculty member willing to be your mentor. Once you reach agreement with this mentor, work with them to complete the application form. 

So that you can begin preparing your application, the form will ask you for contact information, a project description, an essay from the student, and a letter of support from the mentor. We also ask the student to declare their other summer commitments.

  • The project description has a 500 word limit. Projects should not be continuations of research begun during the academic year, although they may be related. Projects must be completed by mid-August (before the Fall semester begins). They should use the methods of the student's academic discipline, and have a reasonable chance of making an original contribution to the field.
  • The essay should explain the student's interest in original research or creative activity. This essay will be uploaded into the application system.
  • The mentor's letter should describe how this project would be an original contribution to the field, and affirm the student's capacity for doing the work. Mentor's should also describe any summer plans that would affect their presence in Kearney. Contact Matthew Bice at or (308) 865-8886 if you wish to discuss this element.

Applications are due January 31 at 4:00 pm (CT).

Please click here for instructions for the SSRP 2020 applications.