Fellowships & Scholarships
PEAK Experience #2: The Base Camp Award
  • Northeastern: 05/13/2024
  • Fellowship: 05/13/2024

If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in applying for this fellowship, please fill out a preliminary questionnaire. You may contact the office with any questions.

Award Details

This award is one of the Project-Based Exploration for the Advancement of Knowledge (PEAK) Experiences Awards. Please review the PEAK Experiences Awards overview page to see the entire list of experiences and determine which one is right for you; our list of Frequently Asked Questions about the PEAK Experiences Awards might also be helpful.

Welcome! You’re just starting out and maybe have taken a class or two in an intriguing subject. You know the general area where you want to work and create, but you need a better handle on what research and creative endeavor actually look like—the methodologies, questions, and merits of your chosen field of inquiry and exploration.

This is a good award for those who are trying to get a sense of what it means to “do” research and creative endeavor and will need to work closely with a faculty mentor. Examples of the type of work supported by a Base Camp Award might include:

  • Joining a campus lab to learn bench skills
  • Compiling a bibliography for a book or article a professor is writing
  • Helping to conduct, transcribe, or code interviews, or similar data collection and analysis tasks
  • Writing code to assist in computational tasks
  • Conducting a community scan of relevant assets, opportunities, and potential partners for community-oriented projects
  • Another discrete piece of an ongoing project for which you will receive substantial direction and guidance.

Internal Award
Term Length: Semester Following Application
US Citizenship Not Required

This award is for full-time, currently enrolled Northeastern undergraduates who have little to no prior experience undertaking research or creative endeavors. Although it’s never too late to get started, this award would be an especially good fit for first- or second-year students who have taken a few foundational courses in their field of study and now want to get “hands-on” with the work that faculty researchers and creative practitioners do.

Base Camp Awards are made to students individually (i.e., students should not apply as a group).  While in classes, students should generally not devote more than 20 hours per week to a research or creative project.

Base Camp Awards can be used to support projects undertaken while on co-op, but only in circumstances in which a student will be pursuing the project as an integral part of their co-op. Note, too, that the award would generally only be appropriate as a source of funding for supplies for a co-op project; PEAK Awards cannot be used to fund co-op wages.

If your project involves human subject research:  you will need to clear your project with Northeastern’s Institutional Review Board. Review their website to understand that process.  Questions? Attend their office hours, or send an email.


Applications are evaluated for their overall quality, feasibility, and potential to contribute to a student’s intellectual, personal, and professional development.

The selection committee considers factors such as the student’s academic record; stated reasons for wishing to become involved in research or creative endeavor; alignment of the project with larger intellectual, personal, and professional goals; the faculty mentor’s relevant expertise and depth of involvement; and the safety, practicability, and ethics of the project.

Awards are competitive and funding is not guaranteed.

The Base Camp Award offers up to $750 that can be used for project supplies and/or student wages (if a wage is to be paid, the faculty mentor will need to hire the student). All PEAK Award wages are standardized at a rate of $15 per hour. If you request a wage, you may only work on your project for as many hours as can be supported by the amount of funding allocated to your wage, at the rate of $15 per hour. This means that, at most, a Base Camp Award would support 50 hours of work over the course of the term. You may not work more than 20 hours per week when classes are in session. PEAK Experiences Award funds cannot be applied to tuition.

Award funds are distributed to the university account of the project’s faculty mentor.

Base Camp Awardees will develop skills essential for undertaking research and creative projects and will also foster meaningful relationships with their project’s faculty mentor. Base Camp Awardees join the PEAK Experiences cohort and receive all of its benefits, including presenting to and learning from peers, engaging in guided reflection and goal-setting, and advising by the staff and Faculty Fellows of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

Each semester, the deadline for Base Camp applications falls a few weeks after the start of classes, in order to allow potential applicants to make faculty connections and develop projects in the early weeks of the term. However, learners are encouraged to submit their application as soon as it is ready.

The application is simple and consists of three brief components: an online form, one page of writing (uploaded as a PDF), and a statement of support from your project’s faculty mentor.

Each of these components is described in detail here. You will use Northeastern’s Internal Fellowships Portal to submit your proposal materials and to solicit the statement of support from your mentor.

The elements of the application are:

The Online Application Form
This collects your biographical and demographic information.

Proposal Narrative (1 page)
Please answer the following questions in one page (single spaced, 12-point font, one-inch margins). Explicitly address each question and use paragraph breaks. Application narratives without paragraphs will not be funded.

  • What is the question or problem (intellectual, artistic, scientific, social, practical) that you’re interested in? What are you excited to learn about?
  • What do you think you want to do in order to engage more deeply with the question or problem you just outlined? What are the research or creative activities that you want to get experience with? How many hours per week do you anticipate spending on this?
  • Briefly, what will the award funds be used for? If you plan to use any of the funds for wages or a stipend, tell us why this is necessary. There is an important legal difference between stipends and wages. Be sure to review our flowchart (pdf) and interactive decision tool to determine which of these might be appropriate for your project before you complete your budget.
  • How are you ready to do the things you discussed above? Think broadly here—you might not have any experience working on a project like this one, but you do have experience working hard on things that matter to you. What does that experience show us about you?
  • What are your concrete goals, both for the project and for your own learning? Tell us what you hope to accomplish in the project, and then tell us about one goal you have for your intellectual development, one goal for your personal growth, and one goal for your professional or postgraduate life—and how getting involved in this research or creative endeavor will help you move toward each of those goals.

Budget (1 page)

Students must include a detailed, itemized budget of estimated project expenses and available resources, prepared using the Award Budget. Only budgets prepared using the template will be accepted.

  • The budget template (and the application form) divide your expenses into categories to enable the easy distribution of your award money to your mentor or, as necessary, you. Please follow the instructions on the template and use the highlighted items there when completing the application.
  • If your budget includes a wage, note carefully that PEAK Award wages are now standardized at $15 per hour. The PEAK Term is 10 weeks long. Base Camp Awardees can work up to five hours per week for up to 10 weeks.
  • In rare instances, you may qualify to receive a stipend rather than a wage. There is an important legal difference between stipends and wages. Be sure to review our flowchart (pdf) and interactive decision tool to determine which of these might be appropriate for your project before you complete your budget.
  • These awards do not fund travel to present completed research at conferences. Instead, you can use the Shout-It-Out Award to assist with conference travel.
  • Awards are deposited into the overhead accounts of faculty mentors.
  • Please save the budget sheet as a PDF and make sure the PDF is legible! Print to PDF, landscape, scale-to-fit one page.

Faculty Mentorship
Your faculty mentor will need to complete a brief statement confirming the merit, feasibility, and safety of the project, as well as their willingness to mentor and guide your work during the duration of the project term.

The online application system will prompt you to enter your faculty mentor’s contact details, and the system will generate an e-mail to your mentor with further instructions. Please let your mentor know to expect this e-mail.

Interested? Have Questions?

If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in a fellowship or opportunity, please fill out a preliminary questionnaire. Contact the office with any questions: