Summer Research Initiative

About the BSOS Summer Research Initiative

The Summer Research Initiative (SRI) was created in 1999 by the Office of the Dean in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS). The program is designed to encourage and enhance the diversity of scholars working in social and behavioral science, practice, teaching, and policy fields. We are most interested in students who plan to pursue doctoral degrees in the behavioral and social sciences. A diverse science workforce enables us to improve the science, broaden its application, and facilitate novel and creative innovations and solutions by including scholars with unique backgrounds, life experiences, language skills, understandings of and access to underserved communities, diverse perspectives, etc.  Supporting diverse cohorts of students also enriches learning environments and is consistent with our university’s overall mission.  In that spirit, we are also especially interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of minoritized students, especially African Americans, Hispanic/Latine students, American Indian/Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, as well as from students whose research interests focus on and benefit diverse and underserved communities, or from any student who demonstrates that their particular diverse perspectives add to efforts to improve social and behavioral science.

The program provides rising juniors and seniors with an 8-week intensive experience to develop research skills, learn about doctoral training, and increase graduate training readiness. Departments involved in the SRI  include African American Studies, Anthropology, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Economics, Geographical Sciences, Government & Politics, Hearing & Speech Sciences, Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Sociology

The general goals of the SRI are to:

  • Increase the general knowledge of, and interest in, doctoral-level training in the social and behavioral sciences among our participants and to;
  • Provide rising juniors and seniors an opportunity to learn about graduate studies and the range of research and scholarship in the social and behavioral sciences specifically here at the University of Maryland.

We achieve these goals by:

  • Providing laboratory or research experiences that enhance the basic research knowledge and skills of the participants;
  • Providing lectures, workshops, didactic exchanges, and other programming to enhance students' knowledge of the graduate application process, negotiating the academic rigors and professional and personal challenges encountered in graduate school, and developing career paths in social and behavioral; and,
  • Providing mentoring and professional networking opportunities for students to advance their training in the social and behavioral sciences.

The SRI is part of the UMD’s College of Behavioral and Social Science’s long-standing commitment to increasing the number of diverse students who pursue graduate degrees in the social and behavioral sciences.  According to the NSF 2022 Survey of Earned Doctorates, of the 6,670 recipients of doctoral degrees in the social sciences and psychology, only 20% were URMs. This 20% of URMs can be broken down as follows: 10.9% Hispanic/Latine, 8.7% African American, and 0.4% American Indian or Alaskan Native.  The BSOS SRI contributes to this effort by recruiting more students into our doctoral training programs and helping students gain entry into other programs beyond Maryland.  We have an excellent training environment.  A 2021 report in Diverse Issues in Education, UMCP ranked #18 in conferring bachelor’s degrees to diverse students in the social and behavioral sciences and 30th in the number of doctoral degrees conferred to diverse students.  

Please direct any questions or concerns to the SRI Coordinator, Brittney Robinson at (

The 2024 program dates are Monday, June 3, 2024 - Friday, July 26, 2024.  However, all participants are required to arrive to our College Park campus on Saturday, June 1st for the required 2-day, pre-program orientation.

  • Be citizens or permanent residents of the United States; 
  • Be enrolled full-time at an accredited four-year higher education institution, with preference given to those will have obtained junior or senior status by the fall 2024; 
  • Demonstrate an interest in pursuing graduate study in one of the behavioral or social sciences, with preference given to those interested in doctoral training;
  • Express an interest in, or demonstrate a commitment to our program’s aim to improve the research, practice, teaching, and policy work in the social and behavioral sciences by diversifying and broadening the participation of those involved social and behavioral science research;  
  • Will have taken a basic statistics or research methodology course; and 
  • Possess an excellent academic record, including a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA.

The Summer Research Initiative is a full-time, 40-hour-per-week commitment.  Participants are required to reside in the university housing provided by the program and to participate in all SRI activities throughout the summer.  Participation includes all SRI program and research activities and assignments and meetings with research and program mentors.  Therefore, students should not register for summer classes, hold employment that interferes with their participation, or make other summer plans that would interrupt their full and consistent immersion in the program during the 8-consecutive-week program period.

Students will be provided a $3,000 stipend (before taxes). Travel to College Park for the summer and return travel home, room, board, and program activities expenses are also covered by the BSOS SRI. Group housing is provided on campus.

Submit all application materials, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, and résumé or curriculum vita (CV), through the appropriate application portal in advance of the deadline.

  • The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) Application and Transcript due: February 10, 2024 
  • The UMD BSOS SRI Supplemental Application due: February 10, 2024 
  • The BTAA SROP letters of recommendation due: March 1, 2024

2024 BSOS Summer Research Initiative Application Steps

IMPORTANT – Read before proceeding to the application steps below.

  • Please review the BSOS SRI application instructions and questions BEFORE starting your application.
  • To apply to the UMD BSOS SRI, applicants must select the University of Maryland in order for us to access your SROP application. If you do not select the University of Maryland, we will not know that you wish to be considered for the UMD BSOS Summer Research Initiative.
  • The University of Maryland offers a number of different summer research programs. Applicants should view the UMD SROP web page to confirm that you are applying to the particular UMD research program that best fits your academic interest. Each program has different application requirements and so we urge you to carefully review the information before submitting your application.

The 2024 UMD BSOS SRI is a summer program aligned with other similar Big Ten Academic Alliance's (BTAA) Summer Research Opportunity Programs (SROP).  Therefore, applicants must first complete the BTAA SROP online application.  The BTAA SROP application can be completed in one session or you may return later to complete it.

To be considered for the BSOS SRI, all applicants must submit the BSOS SRI Supplemental Application, which consists of completing additional information about yourself as well as uploading an expanded supplemental personal statement and an updated résumé or curriculum vita (CV).  We urge you to carefully review the BSOS SRI Supplemental Personal Statement Instructions before you begin writing.

The department placement and faculty member preferences are part of the BSOS SRI supplemental application.  Please visit the BSOS department websites below to identify up to three department placement preferences that would best meet your graduate training aspirations and up to three faculty member placement preferences whose work is of interest to you and also align with your graduate training aspirations.  Please have your three department and faculty preferences selected before you proceed to Step 4 (below).  


After completing steps 1-3 (above), please submit the BSOS SRI Supplemental Application and upload your expanded, supplemental personal statement and your updated résumé or CV.

SRI Specialized Internship Tracks

IMPORTANT – There are two specialized internship tracks offered within the BSOS SRI. For students interested in applying to The 1856 Project research internship track or the BSU-UMD Social Justice Alliance internship track, you must follow the application instructions listed below. 

BSOS Departmental Placements for SRI

The department placement and faculty member preferences are part of the BSOS SRI supplemental application.  Please visit the BSOS department websites below to identify up to three department placement preferences that would best meet your graduate training aspirations and up to three faculty member placement preferences whose work is of interest to you and also align with your graduate training aspirations. 

Past Participants & Testimonials


Students who have participated in the Summer Research Initiative have consistently said that they found the experience to be very rewarding. The program deepened their interest in research and allowed them to develop professional relationships and to meet other underrepresented minority students and faculty. They also had fun. Get to know our most recent 2020 SRI participants here.  

Research topics to be developed for the summer of 2021 will be based on availability of faculty members and specific match between students and faculty research. Examples of past student research projects developed include, but are not limited to those below.

Kyle Dorsey (2014 SRI) and Dr. Jim Lynch, Criminology and Criminal Justice: "Factors Influencing Subsequent Intimate Partner Victimizations"

Participating in the BSOS SRI program substantively changed my life because it allowed me to grow as a student, as a researcher, and as a young professional.

As a first generation college student, I had never really thought about the possibility of attending graduate school prior to my summer spent in this program. I knew absolutely nothing about the application process or how to find funding. The workshops I attended as an SRI participant equipped me with all of the information and tools necessary to assemble a strong application, and now, I am enrolled in the highest-ranked program for my field. If it were not for the SRI program, I would have never even considered applying to graduate school. I owe a significant amount of my success to this program!

The individualized attention that I received from my mentor, Dr. Jim Lynch, made my experience in the SRI program truly remarkable. He devoted a lot of time to ensuring that I understood what I was doing, and he was always willing to answer the many questions that I had. Working with Dr. Lynch gave me the opportunity to enhance my research skills and gain more confidence as a scientist. The research that I did throughout the summer with Dr. Lynch continues to inspire the research projects that I do for each of my graduate courses.

Although these eight weeks were very intense, I had teh pleasure of enduring them alongside eighteen of the brightest people of my age. I enjoyed living and working with the other scholars in my SRI cohort, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to make life-long friends with these incredible students from all over the country.

More testimonials by former scholars.

Oluwafunmilayo Ayeni and Dr. Michael Dougherty, Department of Psychology: "Evaluating Strategy Variability to Predict Recall Performance in Word-Pair Learning"

Christina Bijou and Dr. Kris Marsh, Department of Sociology: "The Color of the Middle Class: An Analysis of Colorism in the Black Middle Class"

William Bishop and Dr. Antoine Banks, Department of Government & Politics: "The Underlying Emotions Driving Social Protest"

Selena Chavez and Dr. Matthew Hansen, Department of Geographical Sciences: "National Tree Cover Change in Bangladesh 2000-2014"

Alec Fields and Dr. Jonathan Beier, Department of Psychology: "Engineering of an Eye Gaze Contingent Paradigm"

Toria Hawkins and Dr. Andres De Los Reyes, Department of Psychology: "The Role of Stress in the Family: The Bidirectional Relation between Family Functioning and Life Stressors"

Kenneth James, Jr. and Dr. Farrah Madison, Department of Psychology: "Sex Differences in Microglia in the Hippocampus of California Mice (Peromyscus californicus) Exposed to Early Paternal Deprivation"

Nicholas John and Dr. Matthew Hansen, Department of Geographical Sciences: "Republic of Congo Forest Cover Loss by Forest and Disturbance Type: 2001-2014"

José Lima-Rosas and Dr. Jonathan Beier, Department of Psychology: "Preschool-Aged Children's Attributions of Physical and Social Power"

Ebonie Massey and Dr. Jeff Lucas, Department of Sociology: "Features of Organizational Culture, Organizational Climate, and Leadership that Influence Ethical Behavior and Trust in the Army"

Bezankeng Njinju and Dr. Jessica Goldberg, Department of Economics: "Analyzing Household Decisions in Malawi"

Edwin Rodriguez and Dr. Jim Lynch & Dr. Jean McGloin, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice: "Understanding Differences in Public Perceptions of the Police"

Gabriela Rosa-Hernández and Dr. Thomas Crosbie & Dr. Meredith Kleykamp, Department of Sociology: "What Happens After the Cold War? Clausewitzian U.S. Domestic Politics Against Resurgent Russia"

Keren Rosario-Ortiz and Dr. Rochelle Newman & Ms. Melissa Stockbridge, Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences: "Piloting Rhyming and Story Memory Tasks for Children with Concussion"

Emily Sheffield and Dr. Thurka Sangaramoorthy & Ms. Emilia Guevara, Department of Anthropology: "Haitian Immigrants' Experiences of Life and Health in Rural Maryland"

Victoria Stackfield and Dr. Jim Lynch & Dr. Jean McGloin, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice: "Parental Attachment, Self-Worth, and Delinquency: A Focus on African American Adolescent Males"

The SRI 25th Anniversary Celebration

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the BSOS Summer Research Initiative (SRI) in July of 2023. The SRI is a proud symbol of how we live up to our credo to Be the Solution to the world’s great challenges. Read more about this landmark event.