Intrepid Program | Saint Francis University
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Intrepid Program

  • Intrepid Research Program

    Intrepid Grant Application

    What is the purpose of the Intrepid program?

    Intrepid is an undergraduate research grant program sponsored by the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). The three annual grant awards provide motivated and high achieving students with an opportunity and the grant funding to fearlessly embrace their future by designing, executing and completing a boldly original academic, creative or service project. Ideally, the project will be interdisciplinary in nature and exemplify one or more of the eight Goals of Franciscan Higher Education at Saint Francis University. The project should be the apex of the student’s undergraduate academic career. 

    Why is the program named Intrepid? 

    Intrepid means to be “resolutely courageous; fearless; bold; brave; enduring”. Accordingly, the students selected for Intrepid will be those who are courageous enough to go beyond their intellectual, academic or service “comfort zone”. The successful proposal will be bold and imaginative. The project must exceed ordinary expectations. Indeed students must set aside any fear of failure or rejection. The students must then resolutely complete their project by overcoming any and all challenges and obstacles. 

    Why should students apply for Intrepid? 

    Intrepid provides students with an opportunity to fulfill an academic, creative or service curiosity with faculty advice by mitigating the financial constraints that would ordinarily prevent students from pursuing and realizing a dream. At the same time, the students’ projects will benefit others by discovering knowledge, creating or performing art, teaching students or serving the community. By demonstrating the ability to design and complete a project with minimal guidance, students can use Intrepid as a springboard into life-long learning as well as post-graduate studies or the workplace. Intrepid will provide evidence to others that these students can develop an innovative project, budget funds wisely, overcome challenges, achieve personal goals and assist others. In short, Intrepid allows students to establish proof that they are thoughtful, responsible, enterprising, reliant and motivated. Students who are unsure whether or not to apply for Intrepid are encouraged to discuss their concerns with a faculty member, the Associate Dean or Dean of the School of STEAM. The caliber of student work should be graduate level.  Download the Intrepid Application here.

    How much is the Intrepid financial award? 

    Three (3) grants of no more than $1000 each will be awarded annually by the School of STEAM. The ceiling on the financial award applies to joint as well as individual applications. The funds must be utilized in full prior to the completion of the University’s financial calendar, which is June 15th. Funds must be used for costs associated with the project, such as materials/supplies, travel, lodging, food, rental, printing, and equipment. Intrepid candidates cannot compensate themselves or others from monies awarded or possibly earned from the project. In other words, Intrepid funds cannot be used to pay awardees wages or salaries and cannot be used for personal consumption unrelated to the project. Students must submit all proposed expenditures and funding requests to the School of STEAM for approval. Itemized receipts are required for reimbursement. Faculty advisors to successful Intrepid candidates will receive a small compensation from the School of STEAM. 

    Who is eligible for the Intrepid program? 

    Full-time undergraduate students who are majoring in a discipline located in the School of STEAM (the departments of History/Political Science; Literature & Languages; and Philosophy/Religious Studies) or who have a minor in Fine Arts are eligible to apply. Students who have a Self-designed major primarily in the liberal arts or Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies major are also eligible to apply. Applications from students majoring in a subject housed outside of the School of STEAM, but who are completing a minor located inside STEAM may be considered if the proposed project is related to their minor or is interdisciplinary in nature. Individual students or a group of students working as a team may apply to Intrepid. All applicants must have second semester sophomore status and have a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.25. Faculty may, with student consent, nominate candidates.

    Does Intrepid earn credits and grades? The Intrepid award, has no credit value and has no grade sheet. Intrepid is a grant program sponsored by the School of STEAM. As such, students can complete their Intrepid project as a co-curricular activity. In short, this means that students will work outside of the traditional classroom, credit and school schedule paradigm. Students will complete Intrepid independently while carrying their normal semester load. Students will still have faculty or administrative supervision. Faculty and administrators will still evaluate the quality of the project, using a simple scale of Pass with Distinction, Pass or Fail. Students will earn the intrinsic reward they designed into the project rather than credits. Intrepid will not appear on the student’s schedule, grade sheet or transcript. The student will receive a certification of completion from the School of STEAM. 

    Intrepid participants may “piggyback” their Intrepid award with a traditional class in which they are enrolled for credits and a grade. In this case, the Intrepid award could be used to meet the requirements of a class. The class could be a ‘traditional’ advanced-level class within the major, but more likely, given the nature of Intrepid, the course would be a capstone, Honors thesis, special topics, research/methodology or independent study within the student’s major. The professor of that class would be the Intrepid supervisor. The student’s grade in that class would be determined solely by that professor. Intrepid participation would have no direct influence on the class grade or the amount of credits earned. Intrepid will not appear on the student’s schedule, grade sheet or transcript. 

    How do students apply for Intrepid? 

    Candidates should first seek out a faculty member who is willing to oversee and endorse the student’s project. Faculty members, who agree to oversee the student, will act strictly as consultants. Faculty and students must have clear expectations about the role each is to play in the design and execution of the project. The roles of the student and faculty member should be explained in the proposal. Faculty members will neither design nor undertake an Intrepid project.

    The next step is for the student to write a proposal for the project. The proposal should be no more than 500 words. The proposal must specifically 

    • Outline the purpose, goals, costs, execution and assessment methods of the project. 
    • Specify why the student(s) is/are qualified to undertake the project. 
    • Explain clearly how and why the project is original and why the project should be staged.
    • Detail who will conduct the project and why. 
    • Describe how the project fits with the Goals of Franciscan Higher Education and the student’s major or minor. 
    • Designate who will benefit from the project and why.
    • Include an anticipated chronology of the project steps from start to finish. 
    • Assemble an estimated cost schedule (budget) that lists all anticipated costs. 
    • Contain an assessment tool by which the student and faculty member will judge the project. 
    • Clarify whether the project will be co-curricular or connected with a class. 
    • Possess a clear and detailed description of the expected final outcome of the project: for example, a research paper, painting, exhibit, performance, service project or teaching lesson(s). 
    • List the evidence that will be provided to demonstrate the completion of the project. 

    The student must submit the proposal, a Curriculum Vitae and a brief letter of support for the project from the faculty advisor to the School of STEAM by November 20, 2020. Honors students may submit an Honors thesis proposal—amended to include a budget--as a substitute for the Intrepid proposal. Honors students also must include a CV and letter of support

    How will the successful candidates be determined? 

    A committee of STEAM faculty, university administrators and friends of the university will judge the merits of the applications. The committee will rank the proposals based upon project originality and feasibility, as well as adherence to guidelines. The applicants will be notified of the committee’s decisions.

    What type of projects might be funded by Intrepid? 

    The type of project eligible for Intrepid funding is limited only by the candidate’s imagination. But some examples that would merit consideration could be

    • A student researching Lucy Maud Montgomery who requests funding to travel to the author’s home and archive in Prince Edward Island.
    • A student who, to complete an examination of the history of BP in the Gulf of Mexico, needs travel monies to do research at the BP archive at the University of Warwick, Coventry, England.
    • A student who organizes and supervises a reading clinic for unemployed adults with literacy difficulties.
    • A student who designs an alcohol awareness campaign on campus that features a public guest lecture by an acknowledged expert.
    • A student who organizes and coordinates a semester-long reading and discussion group.
    • A student who organizes and supervises a charity sporting or cultural event. 
    • A student who develops a self-guided history walking trail through Ebensburg or a nature trail along the Kittanning Trail.
    • A student who creates a web site to guide students through their initial years at Saint Francis.
    • A student who requires framing for art work that will be displayed in a juried show.
    • A student who stages and directs a summer theatre performance written by at-risk youth.
    • A student who organizes tutorial sessions for elementary or secondary students. 
    • A student who requires funding to defray the housing and living costs of completing internships located outside of the region.
    • A student who requires funding to defray the costs associated with a project associated with study abroad in Ambialet, Mexico, Parma or CCSA locations. 

    The project possibilities are endless, but they should be tailored to the individual applicant.

    How will the School of STEAM award the Intrepid grants? 

    The Associate Dean of the school will inform candidates of the standing of their applications in private meetings in early December. The school will then publicly announce the names of the awardees. 

    When and where can Intrepid projects be done? Since the application deadline is in November, funding for projects will be available from December until June 15. Intrepid funding can be used for local, regional, state, national or international projects. Awardees must present itemized receipts in order to be reimbursed by the School of STEAM. 

    What are the legal and financial responsibilities of Intrepid? 

    The School of STEAM is responsible only for awarding Intrepid funds in the amounts designated by the school to successful candidates. Students must date and sign the Intrepid contract before any funds are disbursed. The School of STEAM will not provide funding beyond the original amount. Students are responsible for meeting costs that exceed the funding allowance. Students assume all responsibilities and risks associated with projects. Students are responsible for gaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval if the project involves human or animal subjects. Evidence of IRB approval for the project is necessary for Intrepid funding to be released. 

    Student responsibility and accountability to complete the proposed project: Intrepid awardees must submit the tangible results--such as a research paper, book, organization, video, research poster, painting, song, sculpture, performance, etc.--of their projects to the faculty advisor and School of STEAM  (either the Dean or Associate Dean). If the nature of the Intrepid project did not result in a tangible result per se, then the student must provide to the faculty advisor and the School of STEAM incontrovertible evidence of fulfillment of the proposed project. For example, evidence of a service project completion may include photographs or videos of the event, advertisements/notices of the event, and witness accounts or testimonials. A journal that chronicles and analyzes the planning, execution and results of the event is an excellent piece of evidence. 

    Students may modify their proposal by notifying the School within three months of notification of the award. A letter endorsing the changes from the faculty advisor must accompany the modification request. 

    Tangible evidence of completion of the project must be submitted to the faculty advisor and School of STEAM (either the Dean or Associate Dean) within one year of the public announcement of the award. Ideally, all projects will be completed between December and June of the academic year in which the grant was awarded. No funds will be disbursed after June 15. If, after one year from the award announcement, the student’s project remains in progress, then a one year extension may be granted by the Dean upon request.

    Students who fail to fulfill their proposed project after a maximum two year period will forfeit their Intrepid award. A student may be required to refund in full all funds provided to the student or spent by the School of STEAM upon her/his behalf.