Biehl International Research Fellowship

The Biehl International Research Fellowship is a research fellowship for students interested in conducting an independent social science research project outside of the United States that provides a challenging or broadening immersive experience, whether through language, culture, or environment. Only Sewanee students who are pursuing a major or minor in a social science are eligible to apply. Students design their own research topic; projects should facilitate substantial contact with the society to be studied and should be focused in one area, or a few closely-related locales, rather than several sites. Upon their return in the Advent Semester, each recipient will be required to write a research paper under faculty supervision and to present a public talk on his or her study.

Application Deadline: February 15
Eligibility: Rising juniors, rising seniors
Majors and/or Minors: Social Sciences majors (Anthropology, Asian Studies, Economics, Environment & Sustainability, History, International & Global Studies, Politics, and Women’s & Gender Studies)
Stipend: Up to $4000
Duration of Internship: 6-10 weeks

BIEHL FELLOWSHIP ONLINE APPLICATION FORM

2017 Biehl Fellows: Edgar Payano, Hadley Montgomery, Lauren Perkins, Julian Cope (not pictured: Cici Lekakos)

 

FAQ: Biehl International Research Fellowship

Who can apply for a Biehl Fellowship?

Sewanee students who are current sophomores and juniors (and will be considered rising juniors and seniors over the summer) are eligible to apply. Only students who will be returning to campus the following fall semester may apply, since all Biehl Fellows present their research in a community event in September/October. If you are planning to study abroad during the fall semester, consider applying for the Biehl the following summer instead.

Do I have to be a certain major apply for the Biehl?

Yes. Only majors and/or minors in the social sciences are eligible for this scholarship; those majors are Anthropology, Asian Studies, Economics, Environment & Sustainability, History, International & Global Studies, Politics, and Women's & Gender Studies. 

I really want to apply for this fellowship. How do I get started?

First, you need to find a topic that you are very interested in researching that requires you to spend 6-10 weeks in a country outside of the United States. The more that your research topic takes you out of your comfort zone, whether through language, culture, or environment, the better chance you will have of having your proposal selected. Second, make an appointment with a faculty member of your choice from any of the social science departments listed above to discuss your research ideas. It is expected that you meet with this faculty advisor at least 2-3 times to discuss your research proposal before you submit your application (the application will ask you to name your faculty advisor). Meeting with your advisor will help you develop and refine your proposal; asking for him/her to review the final draft of your proposal before submitting it is highly recommended.

Can I use a translator while doing my Biehl research?

A translator/interpreter may be requested as part of your proposal and budget, but the Biehl selection committee will favor proposals that include experiences that are more immersive in a foreign language. It is preferred that you use your own foreign language skills as much as possible.

How do I apply?

The Biehl application form can be found here. Check the application deadline and make sure that it is submitted on time; late submissions will not be considered. It is an electronic application form. In this form, you will need to include:

1. A carefully-edited and well-written proposal (12-pt, double-spaced text, normal margins); proposals are usually at least 3 pages
2.  A resume 
3. An official transcript (scanned in black & white to reduce file size)

How do I write a Biehl proposal?

Here are some detailed guidelines for how to write a proposal for the Biehl International Research Fellowship. The length of the proposal can be as long or as short as needed to convey the information below (usually about 3-5 pages.) The content should contain the following sections:

1) Introduction
Introduce the specific question you will address and tell why is important; keep your research question narrow and focused. The introduction should include recent literature results (i.e., what have others said on the subject?) as well as preliminary data/information you may have already generated.  Tell what background/research skills you have to prepare you to undertake the research.

2) Statement of objectives
The statement of objectives should clearly show what will be learned via the research to be undertaken during your Biehl research.  It may include a restatement and expansion of the research question; for example, it may be useful to split an overarching question asked in the introduction into smaller questions that will be specifically tested/answered.

3) Methodology/ Plan of Work
The methodology is the plan that will be used to accomplish the goals of the research, including the specific processes and activities that you will use to conduct your research.

When explaining the methods for the collection and analysis of social science data, carefully explain these procedures.  The methodology should provide enough detail to convince the proposal reviewers that the questions can and will be answered through the proposed research.  It may be appropriate to include details about specific experiments/observations that will be done or texts that will be consulted.

Include an anticipated timeline of when the activities and procedures will be completed. This timeline should be realistic so that it convinces reviewers that the project is feasible in the time available.

If interviewing people will be a part of the methodology, describe the sample of participants for the project and tell how you will gain access to these participants.

Potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedure should be discussed.  A strong proposal will anticipate the outcomes of a line of inquiry and offer alternative approaches in cases where the problems are anticipated. Although this may seem to weaken the grant proposal, it is actually a way to answer the questions and prevent potential criticisms of the reviewers. Provide alternative procedures, or a back-up plan, of how you plan to achieve the desired goals.

Provide a clear plan of the way the collected data will be analyzed so that a reviewer will have an accurate picture of the entire project. Convey to the reviewers that the methods being used are the most appropriate for the project and why other methods were not chosen.

4)  A statement of impact
The statement of impact should address both the intrinsic intellectual merit of the project and its broader impacts. 

The intellectual merit can be demonstrated via answers to the following questions:  What will we learn as the result of the proposed project that we do not know now? Why is it worth knowing? How will we know that the conclusions are valid?

In stating the broader impacts, discuss how the proposed research will advance your personal and educational goals.

5) Practical Details
Provide practical details, including your itinerary and proposed dates, local contacts, housing arrangements, visa requirements, U.S. State Department travel advisory issues, etc. Also, address if there will be any language/communication issues: what language training do you have to make the project feasible? Or, how will language impediments be overcome? Describe any prior preparation that qualifies you for this project (language study, other course work, previous experience, etc.)

6) Bibliography

Include a bibliography of previous research on the subject that you have read, as well as a bibliography of what sources you plan to use in your research. 

7) Budget
Please consider your budget carefully. Include a listing of your best estimate of your expenses. Estimate in detail your travel, living, and research expenses.

Sample budget:

(Conversions based on February 1, 2013 exchange rate: 1 French Pacific Franc=0.011 USD; 1 USD=88.61 French Pacific Franc)

$324: Southwest from Dallas (DFW) to Los Angeles (LAX), coach, round trip (expedia.com, as of 2/1/2013)
$1631: Air Tahiti Nui from LAX to Papeete, Tahiti , coach, round trip (kayak.com, as of 2/1/2013)
$530: Lodging at Tahitian Youth Hostel- $10 x 53 nights
$580: Food- $10 x 58 days
$200: Taxi and bus transportation
$100: Library and museum access for research
$25:  International Student Identification Card (ISIC.org)
Total= $3,390

BIEHL PROPOSAL EXAMPLES:

Armonte Butler, C’17

Lillie Howell, C'17

 

What may I include in my budget?

The fellowship is intended to cover only the costs of conducting the research, including transportation to the research site(s), housing and food, visas, international student identification card, required immunizations, and equipment/material costs.  In some cases, expenses related to host affiliation or local interpreters may be included. You may request up to $4000, but be conservative. "Miscellaneous expenses" should not be a line item.

Can I apply for more than $4000?

No, that is the maximum amount of funding per student.

I know what I want to research and what country I want to go to, but how do I find contacts and/or a place to live?

The best place to start is by talking to faculty about your ideas; they might be able to provide networking ideas. Also, search for contacts within your personal/family network, the Sewanee Gateway (the online directory of Sewanee alumni; to access it, use your Sewanee email address as your username and your Banner PIN as your password); these are just a few ways to get started. Some places to look for housing might be youth hostels, college dormitories, YMCAs, and seminaries/convents/monasteries. If you need more help, please make an appointment with Career & Leadership Development.

How many students are selected to be Biehl Fellows each year?

The number of recipients varies from year to year, depending on the number of applicants and the quality of the proposals. Typically, the number of Fellows is 2-5 per summer.

Will completing a Biehl Fellowship fulfill the Abroad Experience requirement for my International & Global Studies or Asian Studies major?

Probably yes, but check with your academic advisor to make certain of this.

I received a Biehl Fellowship last year; can I apply again this year?

No.

I don't have a very high GPA. Will that hurt my chances?

GPA is only one of the criteria used to select the recipients, but it is an important one since this is an academic research project. Be reminded that the selection committee is seeking an indication that you will perform well in your fellowship. If your grades do not convey that, you will want to make sure that your proposal does.

How long can my fellowship last?

You can receive funding for as much as 10 weeks, or as little as 6 weeks.

Can international students apply?

Yes, this fellowship is available to full-time international Sewanee students. However, due to INS regulations, additional requirements are necessary. The student should contact Sewanee’s International Support Specialist (x1184) to discuss eligibility before applying for funding. Please note that the Biehl selection committee will not fund proposals for research in the applicant’s home country.

Can I get academic credit for my Biehl research?

No.

How can I improve my chances of getting the Biehl funding?

Everything (proposal, resume, etc.) plays a role in a successful application, but the most critical factors are 1) whether you are able to develop a substantial and focused research project, and 2) whether it involves a challenging or broadening immersive experience, whether through language, culture, or environment. Sometimes, even if the application is excellent, some funding requests cannot be fulfilled due to lack of funding.  Some common pitfalls of weak proposals include not having a narrow enough research question, not giving enough specifics about the methodology, and submitting an overinflated budget.

Is it safe to travel to the country I want to go to?

Check the U. S. Department of State travel warnings. The Biehl committee will not fund any proposals that require you to visit or travel through any countries on this list. Also, your Biehl Fellowship is an independent research project and Sewanee has no responsibility for you in any way for any part of this fellowship; you will be required to sign a contract stating that you understand this.

I won't be able to turn in my application on time. Can I turn it in late?

No. All the uploaded documents will be bundled and sent to the selection committee after the deadline.

When will I find out if I have been awarded a Biehl Fellowship?

Email notifications will be sent around one week after the deadline, depending on when the selection committee has their meeting and makes its decisions.

What do I do now that I have been awarded Biehl funding?

When you are notified, you will need to review Sewanee's IRB guidelines and take the web-based training course (free.) Upon completion of this course, you will be given a legal agreement to complete and sign, indicating that you have accepted the funding. You will receive your stipend in one lump sum via a check within 1-2 weeks of submitting your completed contract. This check will be sent to your home address that is listed in Banner. If you would like for it to be sent elsewhere, please notify Career & Leadership Development (careers@sewanee.edu.)

Also, make sure that your passport and needed visas are updated and ready to go. It is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance.

I was offered a Biehl Fellowship but due to unforeseen circumstances, I can no longer do it. What should I do?

If your plans change and you can longer carry out your Biehl Fellowship, please contact Career & Leadership Development (careers@sewanee.edu) as soon as possible.

During my Biehl Fellowship, what is expected of me?

You are expected to work/carry out your research project for at least 35-40 hours a week and that you will conduct yourself in a professional manner.

What if my research plans don’t work out while I am abroad?

Please contact Career & Leadership Development to discuss what is happening. We will work with you to help you work things out.

What if I lost my Biehl agreement?

Career & Leadership Development has a copy on file and can (1) check these amounts for you, or (2) fax/email a copy of it to you.

What if the dates of my travel/fellowship change?

You are welcome to work longer than your original dates but we cannot increase your funding amount. If you need to decrease your dates, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can work with you to either adjust your stipend or arrange a repayment.

What do I need to do once my fellowship is over?

Once you complete your fellowship, please submit your Biehl report (at least 20 pages.) It is due by August 15 at midnight. Since it is often easier to write the reports when the experiences are fresh, please feel free to turn yours in early. We highly recommend keeping a journal to facilitate the writing of this report; it is easy to forget all the tasks and projects that you will be learning and doing. Please reread, edit, proofread, etc., since this will probably be published on the Career & Leadership Development website. Read reports written by previous Biehl Fellows here.

I heard I must give a 10-minute public presentation in the fall after completing the Biehl Fellowship; is this true?

Yes, an event will be held in late September/early October and will feature the Biehl Fellows. Each fellow will give a 10-minute presentation to the greater Sewanee community, followed by a short Q&A session. A reception will be held afterwards to give the attendees a chance to ask more questions. A rehearsal for this presentation will be held in order to ensure solid performances.

Can I apply for a Biehl Fellowship to help fund my study tour this summer?

No.

How do I need to treat my stipend in terms of income taxes? Does it affect my financial aid?

Your stipend is considered earned income and it should be included as income on your income tax return. The University does not report stipends through Career & Leadership Development; you will not receive any tax documents, including a W-2 or a 1099. The burden to report lies with the student recipient. According to the Financial Aid department, the stipend should be reported as other untaxed earnings on the annual federal financial aid application. For information as to how it may impact your financial aid package, please contact the Financial Aid office.

How did the Biehl Fellowship start?

In 1991, Carl Biehl, C’32, made a donation that began the Biehl International Research Fellowship, due to his deep interest in international affairs.

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