Opening Up Research Opportunities

The Visiting and Early Research Scholar Experience summer program for underrepresented students starts accepting applications February 1

Jackie Dejean at Tufts

For some undergraduate students, doing research with a faculty member seems a stretch—it’s hard to know where to get started in the process. For students from underrepresented backgrounds, that’s even more the case.

That’s why Jackie Dejean, assistant dean of research in the School of Arts and Sciences, started the Visiting and Early Research Scholar Experience (VERSE) program last year. Nineteen students took part in the program last summer, working with Tufts faculty on research projects in fields such as psychology, biology, and mathematics. Their costs were covered by grants from the National Science Foundation and the American Psychological Association.

“A lot of students do not have the skill set coming in as freshmen to do research projects or make meaningful connections with faculty members,” Dejean said. “This program is designed to help students learn to make that connection, to think about what it means to design a research project and to be part of a research team, and also to have them think about research as part of their career plans.”

VERSE will accept applications for its second ten-week summer program throughout the month of February. Twenty-three faculty members from Tufts have signed up as potential mentors. Among the fields of research are biology, chemistry, child study and human development, classics, community health, education, fine arts, history, mathematics, physics, psychology, sociology, and urban and environmental policy and planning.

Students receive free room and board—living in campus housing—and receive a stipend. If applicable, travel expenses are covered, too.

To qualify, students must have completed or be on track to complete their freshman year by May 2019; be African American, Hispanic, Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or first generation college students; and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. No previous research experience is required. The program is open to Tufts undergraduates and outside students as well.

The application portal opens February 1 and closes February 28. Visit it at

For more information on the VERSE program, email Jackie Dejean at

Taylor McNeil can be reached at

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