Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

CUSP SEF Internship & Research Assistantship Grant


The CUSP Internship & Research Assistantship grant provides partial financial support for Scholars who wish to participate in an internship or research assistantship over the summer.

The CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowship for Internships & Research Assistantships is a competitive grant that assists Scholars in securing partial financial support for structured research and internship opportunities (including research-related activities such as conferences, symposia, travel, publications, etc.) and unpaid or low-paying summer practicums (in line with the Program’s mission and the student’s academic trajectory). This opportunity is secured solely by the student. 

All Scholars funded for Summer 2020 are expected to:

  • Post a response on an educational blog on a weekly basis during the summer, beginning in June. The final blog entry will consist of the abstract.
  • Provide a budget reconciliation report listing your CUSP-related expenses and appropriate original receipts. This will be due by the Welcome Back Dinner & SEF Showcase at the start of the Fall 2020 term.


*Welcome Back Dinner & SEF Showcase (MANDATORY ATTENDANCE)
Thursday, September 12, 2019
 6:00-8:00 p.m.
 Rennert Auditorium, Kraft Center


* SEF Information Session (MANDATORY ATTENDANCE)
 Monday, November 11, 2019
 6:30-8:30 p.m.
 Davis Auditorium, CEPSR


* POSTPONED:  A to Z Workshop: For all Scholars Applying for Summer Funding (MANDATORY ATTENDANCE)
  Additional information to be announced
* POSTPONED:  Online Application Deadline
  Additional information to be announced


In accordance with the Undergraduate International Travel Policyall students traveling overseas with CUSP SEF funding (even if you are travelling home) must submit a school sponsorship application and receive approval by Friday May 29. Please label your your program name in this arrangement:  [Last Name] [Related Office or Department or Funding Program] [Program Type] [Year]. For example, [Bennett] [CUSP] [SEF] [2020].

It may take up to 4 or more weeks for your school sponsorship request to be processed.  With that in mind, we recommend that you initiate this school sponsorship request at your earliest convenience - even if you have not confirmed all of the details of your travel plans. Also, you can submit the school sponsorship request before completing the SEF application. IMPORTANT: You must receive school sponsorship approval before the end of May (Friday May 29), otherwise we will not be able to consider your application for funding.

Once you receive confirmation of your school sponsorship, log in to the Undergraduate Travel Web App to complete:

  • The online pre-departure orientation; and
  • The Assumption of Risk declaration, waiver, and release form.

Additionally, all students must:

  • Register their travel (including side trips) through the International SOS.
  • Confirm that, while abroad, they will be covered by a health insurance policy that also provides coverage outside the United States for routine, urgent and emergency care.

It is critical that you familiarize yourself thoroughly with the Undergraduate International Travel Policy and complete all steps outlined above. For related questions, contact

Submitting a school sponsorship application does not guarantee that you will receive CUSP funding. However, please be aware that without school sponsorship, your SEF application will not be reviewed. Students who submit a school sponsorship application and do not receive a CUSP SEF funding award must withdraw their school sponsorship application (unless supported by a different Columbia-led program).         



* APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER 2020 WILL BE DUE MONDAY, APRIL 20 BY NOONApplications must be submitted via webform. You will need to enter the name of someone who can submit a recommendation form (a series of multiple choice questions) on your behalf.  Your Recommender should be someone with whom you have a good relationship.  Acceptable Recommenders include: faculty members, graduate teaching assistants, current or former employers, high school guidance counselors or teachers (especially for 1st year students). After you submit your application, a form link will be sent to you via email confirmation; forward the form link to your Recommender for completion. This year, Recommenders need only complete multiple choice and short questions rather than submit a letter.  As a courtesy, you should contact your prospective Recommender to give them advance notice.  The Recommender must submit their form no later than Friday, April 24, 2020. You will receive confirmation once the Recommender submits their form.

The online application must be completed in one sitting; you will not be able to save and continue your submission at a later date. As such, you should have available at the time of your submission: the logistical information about your internship/research assistantship and contacts; your resume as a .doc or .pdf; your budget breakdown (e.g. amount for food, transportation, housing, and supplies) that you will enter into the form fields; and, an essay answering the supplementary questions as a .doc or .pdf. The supplemental questions will ask you to describe your internship and what motivated you to this opportunity; to explain what you intend to learn during the summer; to list the CUSP events that you attended and how each event contributed to your understanding of this year's theme of "Lateness." If you were approved to attend alternate events due to academic conflicts, then you will have to reflect on your experiences and on the theme from those events. 

Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee on the basis of their overall fulfillment of the selection criteria.  Incomplete applications and candidates who do not meet the criteria will not be considered.  Notifications of the award decisions will take place in late May. 

Criteria for Selection: To be considered for the SEF grant, applicants must: (1) have a GPA of at least 3.0; (2) be in good academic standing with Columbia College and Columbia Engineering; (3) be in good standing with CUSP; and (4) have attended at least EIGHT CUSP events during this academic year before submitting the SEF application.


Applications will be evaluated on: (1) the feasibility, clarity, and coherence of the responses to the Supplemental Questions; (2) the ability of the applicant to undertake the internship/research assistantship; and (3) the Recommender's input.


Expectations of Award Recipients: Recipients of the SEF Internship/Research Assistantship award are expected to: 

  • Post responses on an educational blog on a weekly basis during the summer beginning in June, with the final blog entry consisting of the abstract summarizing their summer experience;

  • Submit at least one (1) visual representing the project when prompted in the blog;

  • Submit a budget reconciliation report listing their CUSP-related expenses and appropriate original receipts by the Welcome Back Dinner & SEF Showcase in September 2020. [Your GSM will share a budget reconciliation template during the summer.]


Human Subjects Research for SEF Independent Projects: Many applicants wish to undertake “human subjects research” in which they interview or survey people.  Because of the importance of treating human subjects ethically and ensuring that no harm comes to someone who participates in research, all universities are federally mandated to oversee approval of all human subject research through an Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Given the short duration of SEF Independent Projects, CUSP will not support projects by Scholars requiring IRB approval unless they are listed as an approved researcher by their faculty sponsor.  For applicants wishing to undertake such research, the letter from the faculty sponsor must include a statement confirming that the IRB process has been fulfilled.  For questions regarding IRB permits and whether you will need them for your proposed Independent project, please contact Annie Barry (, Assistant Manager, Institutional Review Board (IRB).  



To apply for the SEF Internship or Research Assistantship grant please CLICK HERE - SEF APPLICATION!

Good luck! We look forward to reviewing your applications.

Questions about the SEF application? Contact us at



* IMPORTANT: CUSP does not vet the safety or security of the setting in which Scholars intend to pursue their projects. It is the individual students’ responsibility to take the appropriate precautions following the approval and recommendations of the Undergraduate Travel Committee. The nature of this fellowship is solely for financial support.   

Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program


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