The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



CUSE sponsors student pursuits

By CATHERINE OWERS | Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Not to be confused with a certain school in upstate New York, the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) offers a three-pronged approach to scholarly engagement for Notre Dame students.

Programming advisor Christen Klute said CUSE promotes academic lectures on campus, funds student research and helps students apply for fellowships. 

“We use the umbrella term ‘scholarly engagement,’ and we define scholarly engagement as being engaged academically outside the classroom,” Klute said.

Klute said CUSE has sponsored events such as “Show Some Skin” and “ND Thinks Big.”

“We just really try be involved in the big events on campus that are academically-minded,” she said.

Perhaps CUSE’s most commonly known mission is providing students with grants to perform research, Klute said. 

“We are a campus-wide funding entity,” Klute said. “We will fund anybody and everybody.”

CUSE focuses on funding students who may not be able receive complete funding from other sources – typically, students from the College of Architecture, the Mendoza College of Business or the First Year of Studies Program. 

“Even though their colleges have some methods of funding available to the students, they are not quite as widely funded as the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science,” Klute said. “We really do try to make sure that everybody that wants to do some kind of research has the opportunity to get funding to do so.” 

CUSE also helps students who will pursue some level of graduate education apply for national fellowships. Klute said a few fellowships are available for undergraduate education. 

“Especially this year, we are trying to make a push to connect CUSE with fellowships,” she said. “I think most people, when they think of CUSE, they think of research, so we’d like to make much better connections there.” 

Students who wish to apply for funding must have a faculty mentor and submit a detailed project proposal. 

“We require students to submit a form that includes, first and foremost, their research question, research methods, and also a detailed budget – what they want to use the funding for, specifically,” Klute said. 

Klute said she encourages students who wish to apply for funding to carefully read the guidelines available at cuse.nd.edu

“It’s very important to us that you have all the little tiny pieces,” she said. “Tell us exactly how it is going affect your time here at Notre Dame academically. Tell us what you are planning on doing with the things you learn from your project, if you’re going to present at a conference or if it is going to lead to a senior thesis.” 

Senior Jenna Ahn, who received funding to go to Kolkata, India, this past summer said she went to a CUSE grant proposal workshop when she decided to apply for CUSE funding. 

“The workshop explained all of the background and necessary information needed in a proposal. The most helpful part of the process was working one-on-one with a graduate research fellow while drafting my proposal,” Ahn said. “She looked over multiple drafts and offered constructive comments to improve my proposal.” 

Ahn said she will incorporate the research she performed in India into her senior thesis.

“It was a very valuable and transformative experience that continues to shape who I am today,” she said.