The Dale S. Strohl, ’58, Award for Research and Excellence in Humanities and Social Sciences allows undergraduate students and senior thesis students in the College of Arts and Sciences to design their own research projects based on their interests.
Students create a proposal and budget which they then submit to the Strohl grant committee. A high percentage of the students who apply for the grant receive it and are awarded up to $5,000 to conduct their research.
Talia Dunyak, ’16, used the grant this winter to study the presentation of Holocaust materials in museums in Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. She used the grant to pay for her travel, lodging and equipment. Dunyak, who is a German and English double major, chose this topic of research after looking over her course material and realizing that this was an area of German study that she had not explored much in her classes.
“The Strohl grant was great because it allowed me to create my own research project from start to finish, it helped me to understand if I wanted to get into research in the future,” Dunyak said. “I wouldn’t have known that without this grant.”
Dunyak and most other Strohl grant recipients travel and conduct their research on their own. Her final research project was to write a paper in German that she will be publicly reading April 16 at Lafayette College’s Undergraduate Conference in German Studies.
Jennifer Liu, ’17, is an architecture major who will be using the Strohl grant this summer to study the influence of architect Mies van der Rohe and his contributions to international architectural style. She will be traveling to New York, Illinois and the Czech Republic to tour museums and interview curators.
Liu developed her idea after visiting one of van der Rohe’s pavilions in Barcelona.
“It was an experience I didn’t forget,” Liu said. “I had never been in a space like that before, and I knew that I wanted to research more into that type of space and his other works.”
At the end of her experience, Liu will compile her work into a short video as well as a photo essay book. The video will be posted on Lehigh’s art, architecture and design website, and she hopes to present her photo essay book at Lehigh.
All Strohl grant applicants are required to have a mentor who will support them throughout the process. This mentor helps them to develop their ideas, write their proposal and create a budget. The mentor also helps them with the presentation of their research.
Kate Bullard, the research program development officer, said the program does not rank students who apply, and the program plans to continue giving out grants until the money runs out. She said the only students who are restricted are those who are planning to use the grant money for dissertation research. In this case, only one student from each department can receive the grant.
To receive funding, Bullard said students need to have an original research project, have a mentor and have a feasible project.
“It’s their work,” Bullard said. “We want them to be working on their own research. This grant allows them to take a step on their own and do something original.”
She emphasized that students cannot use this money toward an internship or a study abroad program.
This summer, the Strohl grant was awarded to 14 undergraduates, 10 summer graduates and four dissertation students. The students receiving the grants are doing a wide variety of research projects. Some will be working at the United Nations while others will be in Uganda, England and Czech Republic.