Immersive Experiences Call for Proposals

First2 Network Call for Proposals
Summer Immersive Experiences

Summer 2020

Letter of Intent Priority Deadline: December 6, 2019

The First2 Network is opening a call to create approximately 6 sites across the state of West Virginia to place up to 60 rising college freshmen and 12 college mentors in residential immersive early research experiences (“internships”). Higher education, public, private, community, and nonprofit partners are eligible to apply.

The goal of the First2 Network is to double the graduation rate of STEM majors in West Virginia in 10 years. First2 Network focuses on first-generation college students and other underrepresented students in their first two years of college. First2 defines first generation to mean that neither custodial parent/guardian has graduated from a 4-year institution.

First2 Network believes in the power of early research experiences, student mentoring, and building student voice and leadership. First2 Network works to support individual students while working towards institutional and systemic change for and with these students, so that collectively, we can better serve them.

Sites are asked to propose two-week duration, residential immersive STEM research experience. Internship dates from July 19-July 31, 2020 are recommended, but we are also open to proposals for other dates during the summer. A network-building convening of First2 students from all sites is tentatively planned for Friday, July 24th (a second convening may be planned for a different date so that we have the best chance of accommodating student availability.)

Letters of Intent Priority Deadline is December 6, 2019. Please submit Letters to Sarah Riley, PI, by the close of business on the deadline.

The First2 Network will provide:

  • A common application for students Statewide support for student recruitment
  • Travel and educational stipend support for participating students.
  • An intensive 3-day leadership training for mentors before your site begins.
  • Best practices and sample schedules and activities from the previous internships
  • Existing infrastructure for collaboration and planning with other internships
  • A First2 Network process of collective impact to help sites develop, test, and measure change ideas on their site.
  • First-gen and other underrepresented student leaders as resources for idea development and troubleshooting
  • Mentoring from previous site leaders
  • Travel support for site leaders to attend First2 Network Spring and Fall conferences in 2020
  • A statewide and national platform to share learning and success stories
  • Institutional Review Board protocol example from other sites (as needed)
  • Up to $600 per student as a stipend for completing the internship (paid directly to students)
  • Up to $1600 in stipends to 2-3 older undergraduate student mentors who can help plan your internship
  • Contacts for potential undergraduate mentors who are applying through the network or have previous First2 involvement. We give preference to mentor applicants who have previous experience with First2 and to mentors who themselves are underrepresented.
  • Limited faculty stipends up to $3000 per site (paid directly to faculty)

The First2 Network will provide site funding for the following:

  • Up to $50 per student per day for room and board for students
  • Approximately 2-3 older undergraduate student mentors who will assist with planning and be active mentors during the internship (average based on 10 students per site)
  • Up to $100 per student for lab supplies
  • Up to $40 per student for recreational activities
  • Note: Indirect costs are not allowed with this program.

Sites will:

  • Identify a lead person on their site to coordinate the program.
  • Develop a budget and coordinate logistics for their site.
  • Propose and supervise immersive research experiences for first-gen and other underrepresented students who are rising freshman (some sites may be open to rising sophomores as well.)
  • Contribute information to be included in recruitment materials for statewide distribution
  • Participate in a working group with other sites to learn about best practices and lessons learned from previous years, and use First2 best practices and lessons learned as a jumping off point for developing and customizing their program.
  • Engage actively with First2 in researching program success and ideas for effective change.
  • Participate in the Spring and Fall 2020 First2 conference to meet face to face with other sites and understand the ethos and goals of the First2 Network.
  • Participate in the recruitment, selection, supervision and evaluation of older students to serve as mentors and planning and implementation partners on site before and during the internship.
  • Partner with First2 to recruit potential students.
  • Provide a final report no more than 45 days after the conclusion of your program.
  • Programs on each site will be considered programs of that institution, and the institution will be named as an official FIrst2 Network partner. As programs of each institution at each institution, the institution’s liability insurance will cover the program, and the program will adhere to any other compliance requirements of the institution.
  • Sign a memorandum of understanding with First2 Network to participate in the First2 Network research program.
  • Supplemental funding from the institution may be necessary, depending on actual costs at the institution. For example, sites may choose to rent vans for student transportation.

Site Selection:

  • Preference will be given to sites which have participated in the First2 Network, but we encourage all interested potential site leads to submit a letter of intent.
  • Preference will be given to applications that include a higher education partnership component and to sites that actively involve STEM students in the planning of their proposals.
  • Attention will be given during site selection to providing a diversity of STEM discipline placements, geographic locations, institutions, and innovative partnerships.

Student Selection:

  • Summer of 2020 students will be rising freshmen (and some students may be rising sophomores for specific sites with co-funding) planning to attend college in West Virginia in the Fall semester of 2020.
  • Preference will be given to first-generation college students, and then other students who are underrepresented in STEM.
  • Preference will be given to students who are planning to pursue traditional STEM majors, as defined by the National Science Foundation (see list at end of this document).

Timeline and Application Process

*Note: the First2 Network process will operate this year with priority deadlines. We will begin awarding slots after the priority deadlines, but will continue to review applications for sites and students on a rolling basis until all slots are filled.

December 6: Letter of Intent priority deadline. With your letter of interest, please include site location and institution, lead person, STEM disciplines covered in the proposed internship site, number of students and mentors requested, and any special needs or circumstances as they relate to your site. Please submit to Sarah Riley, PI, by the close of business on the deadline.

December 12: Notification to sites selected from the letters of Intent to prepare full site proposal.

December: Development of statewide recruiting plan.

January 2: Priority deadline for full proposal. Proposals will include letters of commitment from the institution, plans for undergraduate mentor roles, proposed tentative schedule (a sample schedule will be provided), proposed budget, plans for housing and meals, and a history of involvement with First2 Network or evidence of alignment with its mission and goals. The letter of commitment should be signed by the College Dean, Provost, or President. Other information that may be useful to include: a description of institutional resources, proposed research projects and a description of laboratory safety training to be provided to the students.

January 15: Selected sites notified. Mid-late January: Development and dissemination of recruiting materials to recruiting partners, including admissions offices and high school partners.

February 1: Student Application live. Support will be available to help students apply, if requested.

March 1: Student Application priority deadline. (First2, working in close coordination with site coordinators, will begin to accept students on March 2, and will accept applications beyond this point on a rolling basis until all slots are filled.)

April 1: Students notified of acceptance.

May 1: Student confirmation of acceptance and registration for their site.

May 11-12: Proposed Student Mentors Leadership Training.

May 12-14: Proposed window for Spring First2 Conference.

July 19-July 31: Recommended program window for First2 Summer Immersion programs.

Friday, July 24: Holding date for a statewide gathering of students and leaders from First2 Summer Immersion programs.

Fall 2020: First2 fall conference.

Questions and Resources:

If you have questions or would like to have a conversation about applying to host a research site now or in the future, please contact Sarah Riley, PI, at, or Immersive Experiences Working Group Co-chairs, Micheal Fultz at and Michael Norton at , or another member of the First2 Network. We can also connect you with students and faculty who have helped lead and implement immersive research internships through First2 in previous years to provide insight.

Additional information:

The First2 Network is funded by the National Science Foundation INCLUDES initiative, which is working to move the needle nationally to ensure more underrepresented people have successful STEM pathways in order to drive innovation nationally.

The STEM disciplines supported by the NSF INCLUDES program include:

  • Biological sciences (except medicine and other clinical fields);
  • Physical sciences (including physics, chemistry, astronomy, and materials science);
  • Mathematical sciences;
  • Computer and information sciences;
  • Geosciences;
  • Engineering; and
  • Technology areas associated with the preceding disciplines (for example, biotechnology, chemical technology, engineering technology, information technology, etc.)
  • Secondary science and math education

The First2 Network values flexibility. If you have ideas that are outside of our program design suggestions, please do not hesitate to speak to us. We work to stretch FIrst2 resources as far as possible, especially to low resource students and institutions.