A.V. Davis Undergraduate Research Fellowships


With the generous support of The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Whittier College has established the A.V. Davis Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship.

This fellowship is primarily for current students with an interest in Environmental Science, Ecosystem Ecology, Chemistry, Biology and a desire to engage in a substantial Summer undergraduate research project with a faculty mentor on the topic of coffee. Applications from all disciplines are welcome, such as art projects, economic evaluations, and environmental assessments, as long as they pertain to coffee, broadly intended.

There are two manners in which the project can be achieved: Guided or Self-Designed.

The Guided Research Fellowship

The research project entails using carbon fractionation techniques to investigate the potential for soil carbon sequestration in coffee-avocado intercropping systems in southern California. The work will include both a field and a laboratory component, with the latter being predominant. The student fellow will work under the direct supervision of Prof. C. Fissore (Biology and Environmental Science).

The Self-Designed Research Fellowship

Applicants must design their own project that will be supported by a faculty mentor. Eligible projects will be centered on any aspect of coffee ecology, the coffee supply chain, socio-economic aspects of coffee production, the evolution of coffee culture, etc. Priority will be given to those projects that focus on the novel coffee enterprise in Southern California, which is the main focus of the A.V. Davis funded grant.

Eligibility Criteria for the Guided Fellowship

  • Whittier College student in good standing
  • Environmental Science, Biology, or Chemistry majors
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA

Eligibility Criteria for the Self-Designed Fellowship

  • Whittier College student in good standing
  • All majors and WSP scholars can apply
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA

Selection Criteria for Both Fellowships

  • Project will enhance the student's academic experience.
  • Proposal is well written.
  • Project is feasible.
  • Proposed project has a strong focus on coffee production, especially in Southern California.

Program Benefits

  • A summer stipend of $5,000 for research activities
  • The project faculty mentor will receive a $1,000 stipend.

Fall semester cycle: the application will be due the first Friday in December.

Spring semester cycle: the application will be due the second Friday in March.

Use this guide to help you gather your application documents. Request these items two weeks prior to the deadline.

A complete application will include:

  • Unofficial academic transcripts (a PDF of your Degree Works)
  • Course Progress Report for each 3-4 credit course you are enrolled in.
  • Student Contract
  • Faculty Mentor Agreement (for Self-Designed Fellowship only)
  • A 500-word Personal Essay explaining: 
    • how you became interested in the project
    • why you want this fellowship opportunity
    • how you will benefit from the fellowship both personally and professionally
    • what personal qualities (skills, attributes, and/or abilities) you possess that will ensure a successful fellowship experience. 
  • A 1000-word Project Essay indicating:
    • the primary objective of your project
    • discuss why is it important
    • explain the methodology(ies)/ approach(es) that will be used to accomplish your objective
    • present a time line for the project during the fellowship period
    • identify the end result(s) of your project (e.g., a public presentation at URSCA or other conference, a paper, etc.). 
    • Letter of recommendation and reference:
      • For the Self-designed Fellowship you will need:
        • Faculty Mentor Letter of recommendation (for Self-Designed Fellowship only)
        • A reference contact from someone outside of the applicants major and project’s area of focus. This can be a Faculty member, or when applicable to the project, a personal reference (e.g., employer, internship supervisor, volunteer coordinator). (for the Self-Designed Fellowship only)
      • For the Guided Fellowship you will need:
        • Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member outside of your major and project focus (for Guided Fellowship only)
  • Selected semi-finalists may be interviewed.