Fellowships & Scholarships
PEAK Experience #5: The Summit Award
  • Northeastern: 12/04/2023
  • Fellowship: 12/04/2023

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.

This award is for those who are heading for the project pinnacle. You have the skills and sophistication to work independently, while still in conversation with a mentor, and you are able to develop your own research questions and creative problems – as well as pathways to working through them. Projects funded by this award are likely to emerge from a significant previous engagement with the mentor and the methods and questions in the field. This might include independent engagement, prior research or creative endeavors, or experiences gained through employment or co-op.

You can use a Summit Award to participate in a co-op research experience. This award can be used for group or individual projects.

Internal Award
Term Length: 10 weeks of semester
US Citizenship Not Required

This award is for full-time, currently enrolled Northeastern undergraduates who possess significant prior engagement with the frameworks, methods, and techniques of research or creative endeavor in their field, whether through independent projects, employment, or co-op. Based on this prior engagement, applicants should be ready and able to demonstrate a notable degree of independence in the development and execution of projects, while remaining in close conversation with a faculty mentor.

The Summit Award would be an especially good fit for students in their third year of study and above who have a history of progressively deepened engagement with research or creative work in their field.

Summit Awards may be made to students individually or to groups of up to three members. Group projects receive the same level of funding as individual projects (i.e., up to $3,000 for the entire project, not $3,000 per group member).

Summit Awards cannot support projects undertaken while a student is on co-op, unless the project constitutes a part of the co-op experience (supplies on-campus but no wages; stipend off-campus, but no supplies). While in classes, students should generally not devote more than 20 hours per week to a research or creative project.

Applications are evaluated for their overall quality, feasibility, originality, and potential to contribute to a student’s intellectual, personal, and professional development. As a recognition of students who are nearing the “Summit,” we are especially interested in knowing how applicants’ prior engagement with the field has heightened their skills and their ability to think like a researcher or creative practitioner—i.e., to approach challenges from the perspective of a biologist, historian, screenwriter, economist, etc. Applicants should be sure to explain their prior experience and how it has prepared them to work with independence, expertise, and confidence.

The selection committee also 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 Summit Award offers up to $3,000 per project that can be used for project supplies; student wages of $15 per hour (if a wage is to be paid, the faculty mentor will need to hire the student); and up to 50% of travel costs directly related to the research or creative endeavor. In rare instances, your project may qualify for a stipend rather than a wage, but 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. PEAK Experiences Award funds cannot be applied to tuition.

Summit Awardees will have the opportunity to demonstrate their high-level skills, creativity, and initiative while undertaking research and creative projects and deepening their relationships with their project’s faculty mentor. Summit Awardees join the PEAK Experiences cohort and receive all of its benefits, including the opportunity to present works-in-progress to peers, engaging in guided reflection and goal-setting, and advising by the staff and Faculty Fellows of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

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

Award term is 10-weeks of the semester.

The application consists of eight components: an online form, a PDF of a narrative proposal (see elements below), a timetable, an annotated bibliography, a line-item budget, résumé(s), transcript(s), and a statement of support from the project’s faculty mentor.

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

The elements of the application are:

The Online Application Form
This collects your biographical and demographic information and the basic information about your project, such as its title and the total amount of funding you are requesting. Because we area already collecting this information, you do not need to include a cover sheet with your narrative proposal.

The Narrative Project Proposal (3 pages)
The proposal should be both concise and intelligible to readers outside your discipline—please write for an audience of educated non-specialists. As this award reflects a step up in complexity and sophistication from the Ascent level, we have designed the application questions to take three typed, single-spaced pages to answer. There’s no need to include a cover page. The proposal should contain the following elements, labeled and in order:

Purpose, Background, and Significance

  • Give a brief but specific statement of the original question, problem or artistic area that the project seeks to explore.
  • Provide relevant background information for the project, with proper citations, to contextualize the project within your disciplinary field(s).
  • Clearly and concisely convey why the project is important, both within your field and more broadly. Address how the project is expected to contribute to the generation of new information, scholarship, knowledge, or creative work.

Objectives and Methods

  • List the objectives for the proposed research or creative endeavor.
  • Provide a specific description of the research or creative methods being applied in the project—how are you going to attain the listed objectives, step-by-step?
  • Consider potential challenges that might arise in undertaking the project and how you might respond.
  • Describe the resources (such as facilities, equipment, supplies, expert advice, partnerships, funding) that will be necessary to complete the project and any plans you have in place to access these resources.
  • Tell us when and for how long the various stages of the project will take place. (While you will also provide a separate timetable, please be sure to explain the timing of your project narratively here.)
  • Group projects: Applicants should clarify the role and responsbilities of each member and the necessity of completing the project as a team.
  • Human Subjects: If the project involves human subjects or personal data, there should be clear evidence of the Institutional Review Board’s approval, waiver or anticipated approval. (IRB approval must occur before project begins.)
  • Vertebrate Animals: If the project involves working with non-human vertebrates, there should be clear evidence of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee’s approval, waiver or anticipated approval. (IACUC approval must occur before project begins.)

Outcomes, Evaluation, and Dissemination

  • Explain the milestones, benchmarks, and criteria that you will use to assess and, if necessary, adjust your project as it progresses.
  • List the expected outcomes from the proposed research or creative endeavor.
  • Describe how you will evaluate the project’s outcomes.
  • How do you plan to share your work? In addition to sharing their work at RISE (which is an expectation of this award), Summit Award recipients should aim to produce work that can be shared via external venues (a discipline-specific conference, a scholarly or specialized publication, etc.) and should discuss those possibilities here.

About the Learner(s)

  • The Summit Award is intended for sophisticated projects by applicants already competent to proficient in their research/creative skills, and who can work with a high degree of autonomy and independence while supported by a mentor. Explain how this is the right award for you.
    • Describe your experience and preparation for the project (how you climbed the mountain).
    • How does your proposed project demonstrate the independence, expertise, and confidence of a student at the “Summit” of research and creative endeavor?
      • Review the PEAK Experiences Awards Overview and tell us how you decided you are at the “Summit” level.
      • What role did you play, and how did you demonstrate initiative and creativity, in conceiving and developing this project?
      • How much responsibility will you have for making decisions and moving the project forward?
      • How do you plan to keep in touch with and seek guidance from your faculty mentor throughout the project?
    • Link the project to your larger learning and life goals. If you are at the Summit of undergraduate research and creative endeavor, what lies beyond and how does this project take you closer to it?

Prepare a detailed, week-by-week timetable outlining the specific steps and duration of your proposed course of action for carrying the project to completion. Include how many hours you plan to dedicate to working on the project each week. Please also note when your project begins and ends. All projects must be carried out during the term for which the applicant is applying. While projects can continue beyond the award term, applicants should describe a completable portion of the project to be tackled during the award duration. (Recall that project timing should also be discussed in the project narrative.)

Annotated Bibliography of at Least Six Disciplinarily Relevant Peer-Reviewed Articles or Books (1-2 pages)
Include any works cited in the proposal as well as other key sources. An annotated bibliography provides a brief synopsis of each listed work, also explaining its relevance and applicability to your project and clarifying the work’s positioning within your field of inquiry or creativity.

Budget (1 page)
Students must include a detailed, itemized budget of estimated project expenses and available resources, prepared using the Award Budget Template. Only budgets prepared using the template will be accepted.

  • The budget template (and the application form) divide your expenses into two main categories: supplies and travel and wages.
  • If your budget includes a wage, note carefully that PEAK Award wages are now standardized at $15 per hour. You can only work as many hours in the term as can be funded by your requested wage amount at the rate of $15 per hour.  Summit applicants can only work up to 20 hours/week for up to 10 weeks within the term of their PEAK award. You can only work as many hours in the term as can be funded by your requested wage amount at the rate of $15 per hour; you cannot volunteer and do waged work on the same PEAK project.
  • 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.
  • This award covers up to 50% of travel costs directly related to data collection; therefore, the Award Budget Template automatically adjusts expenses entered in the “Travel” section to 50% of the amount entered.
  • 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!

Résumé (1 page)
Include a current résumé for the applicant, or for each group member (if applicable).

Include the most recent academic transcript of the applicant, or of each group member (if applicable). Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

Faculty Mentorship
You should arrange to have a statement of support from your faculty mentor submitted by the proposal deadline, indicating the mentor’s thoughts on the merit, feasibility, and safety of the project, as well as their willingness to mentor and guide the student(s) during the duration of the project term.

The online application system will prompt you to enter your faculty mentor’s contact details and solicit a letter from them; be sure to do this sufficiently far in advance of the deadline to allow your mentor to submit the letter.

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: