Roper Award for Research Experience (RARE)

The RARE Program will not be offered in 2015-16. The information on this page is provided for reference purposes only and describes program parameters from 2014-15.

Program Overview
Application Deadline
How to Apply
Information for Faculty Mentors
Criteria for Review and Selection
Forms and Materials

Program Overview

The RARE (Roper Award for Research Experience) award is a special subset of the SHARE (Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Research Experience) Award. Both SHARE and RARE are designed especially for students in the earlier stages of their college careers, to introduce them to research in their chosen field and give them the skills they will need for further research projects.

Many students don’t realize UConn is home to The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. The Roper Center is one of the world’s leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from surveys of public opinion.

RARE is designed to encourage faculty and undergraduates to use the resources of the Roper Center in undergraduate research and creative projects. Data held by the Roper Center range from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present. Over 50 nations are represented in addition to US data. RARE projects will utilize and/or expand upon the data files located in the Roper Center.

Students spend 10 hours per week during the spring semester working on a project with a faculty member. Ideally, the RARE partnership will continue past the spring semester, allowing both the faculty mentor and student apprentice to continue the project, potentially leading to a more independent role for the student or a thesis project. During the Spring semester, student apprentices receive a $1,500 stipend, and faculty mentors receive a $500 professional development stipend.

The Office of Undergraduate Research gratefully acknowledges The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research for their generous co-sponsorship of this award program.

RARE Teams
RARE teams consist of a faculty mentor and one student apprentice who apply jointly for the program. Faculty members are encouraged to recruit student apprentices to work with them on a potential RARE project, and students interested in the program may also approach faculty members to express their interest in a potential project.

RARE Project Examples
Project: Public Perception and Judicial Legitimacy
Student: Molly Rockett, Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Virginia Hettinger, Political Science
Project: The Right to Bear Arms: The Role of Federalism in Gun Control Policy
Student: Brian Tiedt, Political Science & Economics
Faculty Mentor: Paul Herrnson, Political Science
Project: Individual Response to Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising
Student: Meiling Kry, Economics
Faculty Mentor: Dennis Heffley, Economics
Project: Affirmative Action: Past, Present, and Future
Student: Charity Whitehead, African American Studies & Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Michelle Williams, Psychology


The student apprentice:

  • Must be an undergraduate enrolled full-time in a bachelor’s degree program at any University of Connecticut campus. This includes students pursuing Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees.
  • Must be a first-, second-, or third-year undergraduate student
  • Must have a minimum 2.8 GPA
  • May receive only one RARE award during their years at UConn
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States

The faculty mentor:

  • Must be a full-time faculty member in the social sciences, humanities, or arts at any UConn campus
  • May submit one RARE application per application cycle
  • May reapply in subsequent years with the same or different projects


  • Funded projects will start in the spring semester.
  • Students agree to devote 10 hours/week to the project for 14 weeks during the semester.
  • Students receive a $1500 stipend, paid out as an hourly wage.
  • Faculty members receive a $500 professional development stipend at the start of the semester.
  • RARE award recipients must present at the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition (during the RARE funded semester, the following fall, or the following spring).
  • Student recipients must submit a RARE Completion Form to the Office of Undergraduate Research by Friday, May 8, 2015.
  • Faculty recipients must submit a RARE Student Apprentice Assessment Form to the Office of Undergraduate Research by Friday, May 8, 2015.


Application Deadline

The RARE Award Program will not be offered for 2015-16.

The application deadline for Spring 2015 projects was 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 27, 2014.

Award decisions were sent out in early December 2014.

How to Apply

The RARE Award Program will not be offered for 2015-16.

RARE applications for Spring 2015 are now closed.

There are separate applications for the student apprentice (view student application outline) and the faculty mentor (view faculty application outline). As part of the applications, both students and faculty members must upload answers to a series of questions; we encourage the use of the following fillable Word files (.docx) for this purpose, which can then be saved in PDF format and uploaded:

Both applications must be submitted prior to the application deadline.


Information for Faculty Mentors

The research apprenticeship opportunity offered by the RARE program provides faculty members with eager assistants for faculty-driven projects, allowing faculty members to focus on their own research interests while introducing future researchers to the reality of research in their intended discipline. There is also a potential to continue the student’s involvement with the project past the tenure of the RARE program, through independent study or research credits.

Faculty mentors will benefit from the assistance of the research apprentice, who will be able to provide support for the faculty mentor with aspects of a project including, but not limited to: library research, coding and/or analyzing data, and conducting and/or transcribing interviews. For their commitment to mentoring the student apprentice, faculty mentors will receive a $500 professional development stipend at the start of the semester.

In RARE teams, faculty mentors serve as “master researchers” to their student apprentices, exposing the students to research methods and procedures. As such, faculty mentors agree to:

  • Directly mentor the student apprentice, including regular face-to-face meetings to discuss the project;
  • Provide oversight and feedback for the student on his/her work throughout the project;
  • Ensure that the student is adequately trained and added to any pertinent research compliance protocols;
  • Provide sufficient tasks and duties for the student apprentice to fulfill the required 10 hours/week devoted to the RARE project;
  • Complete the student apprentice assessment form at the end of the semester to offer feedback on the student’s performance and contribution to the project; and
  • Make sure students are paid their stipend as an hourly wage.


Criteria for Review and Selection

Applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary faculty committee and assessed on the following dimensions:

  • Potential for student intellectual growth
  • Student interest and knowledge
  • Quality of student proposal
  • Role of student mentee in project
  • Faculty mentoring
  • Selection of student as research mentee

The review committee uses the Rubric for RARE Applications to assess proposed projects. Student and faculty applicants are encouraged to review the rubric as they draft and revise their application materials to ensure that they meet the criteria associated with strong proposals.




I’m a freshman. Can I apply for a RARE Award?

First-, second-, and third-year students interested in getting involved in research are encouraged to participate in the RARE program to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to continue research in their discipline.

What are the benefits of participating in a RARE project?

Because you will be paired with a faculty member on his/her research project, you’ll benefit from close interaction and a mentoring relationship with an expert in your field. You’ll develop as a scholar as you gain first-hand experience with practical application of concepts learned in classes. In addition, you’ll become familiar with the resources of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, which could prove very useful in future projects or course assignments. Students are encouraged to continue their work on the RARE project with their faculty mentor in subsequent semesters through independent study or research credits. The RARE project experience can also provide a foundation for independent research leading to the completion of an Honors thesis or capstone project.

How many hours per week will I be expected to work?

During the funded semester, you will be expected to commit 10 hours per week for 14 weeks. You will receive your $1,500 award as an hourly wage.

What are the student apprentice’s responsibilities during the RARE project?

As a student apprentice, you are responsible for fulfilling all the terms of the RARE program, including:

  • Devoting at least 10 hours/week to the SHARE project for the 14 week Spring semester;
  • Working directly with your faculty mentor, including meeting regularly, completing assigned tasks, and adhering to any additional requirements set out in the project agreement;
  • Submitting a RARE Completion Form to the OUR at the end of the RARE semester; and
  • Presenting a poster at the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition in the fall or spring semester. Note that a spring presentation can take place during your RARE semester or the following year.

How can I find a faculty mentor to work with?

Students interested in the RARE program are encouraged to approach faculty members in their departments or related fields to express interest in partnering on a RARE project. If you have ideas for a potential research project, familiarize yourself with the faculty research going on in your department and related fields to find faculty members with research interests similar to yours. Be sure to set up an appointment or stop by office hours to talk to the faculty member in person. Once you have a faculty mentor, you will submit a joint application to the OUR.

Can I get course credit for working on a RARE project?

Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to earn credit for work associated with the RARE project. The availability of credit will ultimately be determined by the department, and you are encouraged to discuss the possibility with your faculty mentor. In order to earn course credit through an independent study or research course, you will be required to complete additional work outside of the 10 hours/week devoted to the RARE program. The supplemental work should be of an academic nature and might include writing a final paper about your findings or experience during the RARE work, contributing to a paper or article with your faculty mentor, or another assignment at the faculty mentor’s discretion.

Can I continue working on the RARE project after the funded semester?

Yes! Students and faculty mentors are encouraged to continue working on the RARE project past the funded semester. Express your interest in continuing your work on the project with your faculty mentor at the beginning of the project, to start considering different options. You may also opt to continue your research on an independent project, perhaps leading to the completion of an Honors thesis or capstone project.

How are RARE funds disbursed?

SHARE funds ($1,500 student stipend and $500 faculty professional development stipend) will be transferred the ledger 2 account provided by the faculty member on the award letter. The faculty member is responsible for arranging for the student to be added to payroll and paid for a 10 hour/week commitment for the spring semester. Funds will be transferred before the start of the spring semester, provided that documentation of IRB approval (if required for the project) has been submitted to OUR.

I have questions about RARE. Is there someone I can speak with?

If you have questions about RARE or the application process, contact the Office of Undergraduate Research at or schedule an appointment with an OUR Advisor via under “Enrichment Programs.”

I was not selected to receive a RARE Award. Can you tell me why?

OUR staff are available to meet with applicants to provide feedback about the strengths and weaknesses the review committee identified in their proposals. We will not provide rubrics, scores, or name the reviewers of particular proposals.


Forms and Materials

RARE Faculty Application Outline (PDF Format)

RARE Faculty Application Fillable Template (.docx Format)

RARE Student Application Outline (PDF Format)

RARE Student Application Fillable Template (.docx Format)