Magellan Scholar awards hit $1 million milestone
USC’s Magellan Scholar Program has hit the $1 million mark in research awards to students, with nearly 400 Magellan Scholars named since spring 2006.
The program, which competitively awards grants of up to $3,000 to support faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects, was announced in 2005 by then-vice president of research Harris Pastides and is administered by the Office of Undergraduate Research.
“We’ve hit this milestone quickly because the administration has been so supportive with funding,” said Julie Morris, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “We also couldn’t do it without faculty support and without the resources provided by the academic departments.”
The Magellan Scholar Program typically awards mini grants to 110 students per academic year. Fifteen faculty reviewers gather each semester to consider the student proposals; the acceptance rate has hovered in the 60 to 70 percent range.
Who gets funded? To date, engineering students account for 15 percent of all Magellan Scholar awards, and science students have snared 36 percent. Social science majors account for 25 percent, followed by humanities students at 12 percent; music/arts majors, 8 percent; and business students, 4 percent.
“We want students from all disciplines to compete for Magellan Scholar awards, and the percentages of the awardees’ academic majors thus far generally reflect that,” said Stephen Kresovich, vice president for research and graduate education. “This is truly a University-wide program.”
Within those majors, Honors College students have been awarded half of all Magellan Scholar awards, followed by Capstone Scholars, 12 percent. Thirty students from other campuses in the USC system have successfully competed for the awards.
Thirteen percent of Magellan Scholars have used their grants for travel abroad experiences related to their research interests, and six percent have used their awards for service learning/community-based research.
“Elizabeth Nyikos, who was named a 2009 Marshall Scholar, started out as a Magellan Scholar: That was her stepping stone into research,” Morris said. “A lot of students are Magellan Scholars first, then go on to become Goldwater Scholars, Fulbrighters, or receive NSF Graduate Fellowships.”
The Magellan Scholar Program’s application deadlines are in mid October and mid February.