The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Connecting Theory to Practice through Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Grant Information
Categories Education
Location United States
Cycle Year 2015
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Reed College
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Diane B. gumz
Phone 503-777-7560
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Additional Information
Used for This grant will enable us to continue our efforts to ensure that Reed students from all disciplines have the financial resources they need to pursue significant research projects or opportunities during the academic year or summer. The number of projects will be determined by the variety and quality of proposals submitted. We will support wages and benefits for summer research, supplies, software, travel to attend a conference to present a paper, travel to conduct interviews or to do research in the field, and travel to work with a professor at another academic institution.
Benefits Our approach continues to be informed by the work of David Lopatto, professor of psychology at Grinnell College. His decades of research on the benefits of undergraduate research experiences have found that students who participate in undergraduate research are 1) better able to think independently and develop their own ideas, 2) more intrinsically motivated to learn, and 3) become more active learners. Consequently, we believe that participation in undergraduate research across the disciplines is an essential component of a Reed education.
Proposal Description Reed College’s emphasis on research dates back to its founding days; the catalog for 1911-12 states that in order to graduate all students must complete a seminar in their major subject, and complete a thesis in conjunction with it. Today, Reed requires a year-long thesis research project in students’ chosen discipline guided by a faculty advisor, which continues to be a rare requirement among colleges and universities. The process of working on the thesis in this intense sustained way, and the development of research and writing skills throughout the curriculum, yields projects similar to which a graduate student would aspire. This focus on research also creates demand for research funds, as students face the need to travel, use archives, conduct field research, and occasionally use equipment at other institutions to complete their project, travel to work with a faculty member at another academic lab.

In 2015, we spent $58,234 on 48 student research grants during our spring and fall funding rounds. The Dougherty Foundation supported $15,000 of these awards. The funded proposals came from students representing fourteen different departments including anthropology, studio art and art history, biology, dance, economics, history, linguistics, mathematics, music, psychology, physics, political science, religion, and theater.

The following examples from 2015 provide a glimpse of the students’ interests and the value of these experiences. Dance major MacKenzie Schuller ’18 received support to participate in the Northwest Summer Dance Project, which provides opportunities for amateur dancers to work and interact with professional dancers, and experience the realities of daily life in the professional dance world. Dancers learn various styles of choreography from world-renowned contemporary dancers and will hone foundation ballet and contemporary dance technique. The program is a month-long intensive culminating in a performance at Portland’s St. Mary’s Academy Theater. She was accepted into this pre-professional intensive after an extensive audition process— one of several competitive auditions held throughout the country. Psychology major Lauren Vanderhooft ’16 received support to present a poster at the 41st Annual Convention for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) in San Antonio, Texas. She will be presenting a poster, “How Valuable is Social Reinforcement? An Economic Analysis of Demand for Social Interaction,” that is based on ongoing research done in collaboration with a Reed faculty member, Professor Tim Hackenberg, and other students in his Learning & Adaptive Behavior Lab.

Research Support Update:

The Dougherty Foundation’s current use grants of $15,000 in 2014, $11,000 in 2013, and $27,000 in 2012 have helped us respond to heightened interest in research support created by a current use grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation during the Centennial Campaign. As part of our long-term strategy for meeting this need, we continue to seek endowed funds for student research. We now have seven funds with a market value of about $3.5 million that support biology, chemistry, English, environmental studies, economics, psychology, and physics. During the past year, we added one: the Geselbracht Women in Chemistry Fund ($124k).

Altogether these funds will support about 40 students per year. We also have some existing funds established in Reed’s first campaign for summer collaborative research with faculty members for humanities, political science, and economics majors. However, we only award about two to four such grants per year, and again, the materials budget for these projects does not include travel to a conference to present research outcomes.

During the past year, we have also received some additional current use funds to help us meet this need. We received $35,000 from the Richter Trusts for broad use across disciplines and $44,000 from an alumnus for math and science projects. All of this support is helping us meet more of the need, but funds from the Dougherty Foundation can still play a critical role.

Another challenge is the fact that many of the endowed funds described continue to be restricted to a single department. We continue to have many other departments that have high need at this time, including anthropology, chemistry, classics, Chinese, French, German, history, linguistics, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, psychology, religion, Russian, Spanish, sociology, and theatre. We continue to work on requests to individuals for endowed funds to meet the needs of all of our students. In sum, a renewed grant will help us continue to address this funding gap.

We request that the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation renew its support for student research at Reed with a grant of $25,000. This grant will enable Reed to provide more research opportunities to its students, in all disciplines, during the academic year or summer.

For this grant, we would like to expand the type of activities to include travel expenses to work with a faculty member at another institution and special opportunities or experiences that benefit the student. Sometimes students have creative ideas that have clear benefits for their growth and development as individuals and as scholars. This may include opportunities with a nongovernmental agency or research awards with international travel. We would like to be able to be open to such possibilities.