Berry Summer Thesis Institute

The Berry Summer Thesis Institute engages a cohort of mid-career honors students (between sophomore and junior year) from different disciplines/majors in a 12-week, on-campus program that provides them with intensive disciplinary research and scholarship opportunities, 3 honors credits for the summer experience, a mini-course, professional development and leadership workshops, community service opportunities, public presentation forums, and cohorted social activities.

Program Goals and Outcomes

The Berry Summer Thesis Institute is designed to:

  • Attract more top performing students from all majors to undergraduate research, exposing them to the need for research and its intellectual rewards.
  • Provide additional training and support for students in the research and writing process.
  • Introduce students to scholarly research in their sophomore year rather than their junior year.
  • Position more students for prestigious national fellowships.
  • Result in additional opportunities for students to publish and present honors thesis research.
  • Enrich the intellectual and creative climate for undergraduate research and faculty mentorship on campus.
  • Continue to create and enhance a sense of scholarly community among undergraduate researchers.

Program Components

Each Berry Summer Thesis Fellow will:

  • Engage in research/scholarship in student's major under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
  • Actively participate in weekly leadership and professional development workshops and activities (5 to 6 hours per week).
  • Enroll and actively participate in a five week one credit hour mini-course.
  • Participate in community service with a Dayton Community Partner (5 to 6 hours per week).
  • Orally present a Midterm Thesis Research Progress Report.
  • Orally present a thesis research report at the end of summer Berry Summer Thesis Institute Symposium.
  • Prepare and submit a preliminary and final draft of an original research manuscript or thesis topic literature review, to be published in the Proceedings of the Berry Summer Thesis Institute. (Click here to see the last published Proceedings.)
  • Coordinate one lunch event and one social activity for the cohort during the summer.

Program View from Past Participants

To view a video of past participants discussing the Berry Summer Thesis Institute, please click here.

Program Benefits

Berry Summer Thesis Institute Fellows will receive:

  • Full third-term on-campus housing in an Honors House with other cohort members for the summer
  • $2,000 summer fellowship
  • Thesis Research Funding (maximum of $1,500 per year)
  • Three Honors credits upon successful completion of the Institute

Tentative Schedule of Events

Week 1: Orientation; Fitz Center Tour; Introduction to Community Service

Weeks 1-6:  Mini-Course

Week 2: Library Research Tools and Resources Workshop; Research Paper Preparation Workshop

Week 3: How to Prepare a Personal Statement; “Networking 101”

Week 4: Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships; Community Service Reflection Dinner

Week 5: Peer Review of Personal Statements

Week 6: Final for Mini-Course in the Ethics of Scholarly Inquiry

Week 7: Midterm Research Progress Reports and Presentation

Week 8: July 4 Recess –No Institute Programming

Week 9: Graduate School Workshop; BSTI Symposium Abstract Due; Final Personal Statement Due

Week 10: Vocation, Career Discernment, Resume Writing and Career Center Resources

Week 11: Community Service Reflection and Wrap Up

Week 12: Submit paper for publication in Proceedings; Berry Summer Thesis Institute Symposium


  • Students must participate in a week-long orientation the first week of the program.
  • Students are expected to attend all weekly programming and all sessions of the mini-course.
  • Students are expected to attend the weekly cohorted lunches, typically on Thursdays from 12:00-1:30 pm.
  • Students are expected to organize and participate in weekly social events subsidized by UHP.
  • Students are expected to wear business casual dress for the Fitz Center tour, and meetings with Community Partners.
  • Dress for Civic Engagement projects will be determined based on assignments and duties.
  • Students are expected to dress professionally for the Networking 101 session, Midterm Presentation, and BSTI Symposium.

Berry Thesis Fellows

Students who successfully complete the Berry Summer Thesis Institute and commit to completing an Honors Thesis may apply to become Berry Thesis Fellows.

In addition to their thesis research, Berry Thesis Fellows agree to:

  • Take on leadership roles in the annual Honors Students Symposium
  • Support new cohorts of the Berry Summer Thesis Institute
  • Meet with the Associate Director for Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships to discuss opportunities available to apply for prestigious national scholarships and fellowships

Thesis fellows will also receive junior and senior scholarships ($1,500 per semester, up to 4 semesters) and be eligible for a second round of Honors thesis funding. 

BSTI Symposium

The Berry Summer Thesis Institute Symposium is held at the program's completion. All are welcome to attend one or several of the 12-minute presentations made by the cohort members.

The 2016 BSTI Symposium will be held:

August 4, 2016
1:00 to 5:00 pm
Reception to follow 

To read the abstracts of the 2016 presentations, click here:  BSTI16 Symposium Program (pdf)


Fourth semester (sophomore) Honors student in good standing, with a cumulative 3.75 GPA and a strong interest in conducting a thesis research project.

Faculty Mentors

Students are required to work closely with a faculty mentor willing to guide their research over the 12-week summer program and potential Honors thesis. The faculty mentor must be full-time faculty at UD. The faculty mentor should work closely with the Berry Summer Thesis Institute fellow to develop the Institute proposal and budget request.

Berry Summer Thesis Institute Mentors should:

  • Be available to provide thesis mentorship throughout the 12-week summer program.
  • Attend the Midterm Presentations and the Berry Summer Thesis Institute Symposium at the end of the summer program.
  • Provide guidance and critical review of the original manuscript or literature review that the student will prepare for publication in the Proceedings of the Berry Summer Thesis Institute.

Applications and Proposals

2017 applications will be accepted beginning December 2016 and are due February 9, 2017 by 11:59 pm.

On-line application forms and uploaded documents are:

  • General Information (on-line form)
  • PDF of finalized cover sheet with proposal and budget request (see "Student Documents below) -- one uploaded document
  • Faculty mentor letter of recommendation and support  (see "Mentor Documents" below) -- uploaded document

Student Documents:  Application documents required to be completed, finalized and uploaded as one PDF document are:

Mentor Documents: Faculty mentor letter of recommendation and support uploaded as a PDF document:

  • Prepared and submitted by the faculty mentor
  • Mentor indicates willingness to serve as the summer thesis mentor for the student during the 12-week summer program and comment on the proposal and budget
  • Student will assign mentor on-line during the application process
  • Mentor will receive an automatic email from Porches when assignment is made and upload access is available

Saving a Word Document as a PDF

Students and mentors APPLYING BSTI 2017 should submit the application materials outlined above through the University Honors Program Porches tab OPEN December 2016. completed applications are due February 9, 2017 by 11:59 pm.

Selection of Berry Summer Thesis Institute Fellows

Selection: A committee comprised of the UHP Director, Associate Director of Research and faculty representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and Allied Professions, School of Business Administration, and the School of Engineering will evaluate applications.

  • The Berry Summer Thesis Institute Fellows will be informed of the decision in early March.
  • Names are announced formally at the Honors Student Symposium.
  • A pre-program orientation and meet-and-greet is held for students and mentors in April.

UHP Contact

Please direct your questions to: 

Dr. Nancy Miller
Associate Director of Research
University Honors Program