Summer Research 2022

Solicitations for Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunities in 2022

Solicitation title Solicitation sponsor Document
Classical Cepheids: Determining Evolution Rates and Accurate Parameters Scott Engle pdf
The "Living with a Red Dwarf" Program Scott Engle pdf
Planet-Hunting from the George P. McCook Observatory Scott Engle, Edward Fitzpatrick pdf
Characterizing the V471 Tau System Scott Engle, Edward Guinan pdf
Calibrating the Asteroseismic Scaling Relations Kelly Hambleton pdf
Identifying Heartbeat Stars in TESS data Kelly Hambleton pdf
X-Ray Spectroscopy of an Accreting Black Hole Joey Neilsen pdf
Eclipsing binaries observed by the TESS mission Andrej Prša pdf
Virtual Reality Visualization of Binary Stars Andrej Prša pdf
Light curve classification using artificial intelligence and deep learning Andrej Prša pdf

Policies and procedures for undergraduate summer research

This document outlines the procedures for undergraduate research at the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science (APS) at Villanova University as they pertain to you, the student.

Participating in undergraduate research is an integral part of your undergraduate education at Villanova. It provides you with real-world experience of how life in academia works, and it sharpens your skills and your understanding of the active project in science that you focus on.

Project announcements

Summer research projects are announced in January by the sponsoring faculty. Project announcements provide you with a concise description of the project, requirements, funding availability and background material. You are encouraged to reach out to the sponsoring faculty for any clarification regarding the summer research project of interest.

Application procedure

You may elect to apply to any solicitation for which you meet the requirements. There is no limit on the number of applications. Applications are due on February 8. Individual solicitations may request a different deadline.

Each application must include the following:

• applicant’s CV (1 page limit);
• research proposal describing background and proposed work timeline (3 page limit);
• expected research outcomes and procedures (1 page limit); and
• applicant’s personal statement (1 page limit).

In addition, there may be other required solicitation elements requested by a particular solicitation. All proposals must be typeset in size 12 font and with 1 inch margins. Applications need to be submitted electronically, as a single pdf, to the email provided in the solicitation, by the due date. Any proposals that do not adhere to the limits and requirements, or are received after the deadline, will be returned without review.

Proposal review

Proposals are reviewed by the sponsoring faculty. Each proposal is evaluated for merit and programmatic adherence, and major strengths and weaknesses are identified. The proposal is given an overall descriptive grade of “Excellent”, “Very Good”, “Good”, “Fair” or “Poor”. All proposals are ranked and the highest-ranked proposal is selected for execution. You will receive a thorough evaluation report and a final outcome by the third Friday in February.

Placement acceptance

If you are selected for one or more projects, you have until the last Friday in February to accept or decline a position. As the APS strongly supports applications to external positions (such as Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs), your placement can be conditionally accepted, pending the outcome of your external application.

Funding considerations

If your proposal for summer research is selected, funding is contingent on several factors that you need to be aware of. Irrespective of the funding source, funding is contingent on satisfactory performance.

(a) If external funding for undergraduate research is available for the sponsored project you are selected for, your summer work will be funded from that source.
(b) If external funding for undergraduate research is partially available or unavailable for the sponsored project you are selected for, you will need to apply to the Villanova Undergraduate Research Foundation (VURF) grant. VURF proposals are solicited in the first week of March. In the case your proposal is selected, your summer work will be funded by VURF.
(c) If you applied for VURF but your application was unsuccessful, the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science will fund a single summer of research during your tenure at Villanova and your summer work will be funded by the APS.
(d) If your research project is ineligible for Departmental funding, and no additional sources of funding are identified, you will be responsible for your summer work expenses.

Summer research

The duration of summer research is typically 10 weeks, commencing the first week of June or as agreed with the sponsoring faculty. You will be required to submit weekly progress reports to your sponsor that details the work done during that week. The format of the reports is provided by the sponsoring faculty. You are expected to complete the assigned research work in the course of 10 summer weeks. If you foresee any unexpected delays, you must discuss those with your sponsoring faculty.

Presentation at the Villanova Research Poster Symposium

The final results of your summer project must be presented at the Villanova Sigma Xi Research Poster Symposium. The symposium typically takes place in the Fall.

Final report

The final written, typeset report is due the third Monday in September. The report needs to include:

(a) project outcomes and deliverables (2 page limit);
(b) deviations from proposed project timeline/deliverables, and causes (1 page limit); and
(c) future project directions (1 page limit).

The report is submitted to the sponsoring faculty as a single pdf, to the email provided in the solicitation. A received and approved report is a condition for submitting the work to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) winter meeting.

Attending the American Astronomical Society winter meeting

Provided your contribution to the AAS winter meeting is approved, previous funding considerations apply. In addition, there may be other College- and University-wide solicitations for undergraduate travel grants that you can pursue. Note that AAS undergraduate membership fees cannot be reimbursed.

If you are approved for the AAS meeting attendance, it is your responsibility to register for the AAS and to submit the abstract by the deadline. You are required to send the final draft of the abstract to the sponsored faculty before submission and submit only after you receive explicit approval by the faculty. If you fail to register in time or if you fail to submit the abstract by the regular deadline, your attendance of the AAS meeting will be forfeit.

Timeline summary:

Mid-January Announcements of opportunity
February 8: Applications due
Third Friday in February: Application results announced
Last Friday in February: Research placement acceptance/conditional acceptance
First week in March: VURF solicitation
Summer -- 10 weeks: Summer research
Fall: Presentation at the Villanova Poster Symposium
Third Monday in September: Final report
Third Friday in September: Application for attending the Winter AAS meeting
Third Friday in December: Final draft of the AAS poster due