Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholars Program

Location:
New York,
United States
;
Multiple Locations,
Term: Summer

Funds Columbia College first-years who wish to pursue summer research and community engagement, and who aim to be future leaders across a range of disciplines and career paths.

The next application deadline is Jan 10, 2023
See other program dates

The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholars Program seeks to develop undergraduate research and leadership skills by supporting first-year students who wish to pursue innovative projects and community engagement that will help them develop the knowledge and skills to serve as future leaders in their respective fields.

Want to learn more? Read about becoming a Laidlaw scholar and the scholar experience from students of St. Andrew's University and/or watch "Become a Laidlaw Undergraduate Research & Leadership Scholar," from the Laidlaw Foundation.

Program Overview

The Scholarship Program funds up to 25 undergraduate students over two consecutive summers, before and after the sophomore year in the College. This program is funded by the Laidlaw Foundation, which has instituted similar programs at a number of leading universities in the United States and internationally, creating a robust network of scholars and alumni who are affiliated with the program.

The Scholarship provides 16 months of programming that begins in the spring semester of your first year in the College, and ends in the fall of your junior year in the College. These activities allow you to:

  • Develop leadership skills through training and community engagement;
  • Develop research and analytical skills and pursue a research project;
  • Build your network by collaborating with leaders in your field, be they faculty members or community leaders;
  • Learn from an academically talented community of students at Columbia and across the world who are future leaders in fields across the disciplines;
  • Strengthen your resume and your competitiveness for future opportunities.
  • Travel internationally and connect with communities and people around the world.

Program Features

Six days of leadership training in May, September, February and beyond.

  • Laidlaw Scholars are expected to attend a combination of seminars and retreats that focus on developing their potential as future leaders in their fields and their research skills. These meetings include workshops, trainings, speakers, and events, as well as mentoring opportunities in conjunction with the Laidlaw Symposium (see below). These begin the first week of the scholar’s first summer research period, and will include several meetings and retreats throughout the academic year in between the first and second summer research period. Participation in seminar and retreat activities is mandatory.

One summer research period of six weeks.

  • The first summer (immediately following your first year in the College) will consist of a combination of training on leadership, research fundamentals and disciplinary research on campus. The first week of the program will include 2-3 days of leadership training and 2-3 days that focus on research skills and project development. The remaining five weeks will focus largely on each student's individual research project, with meetings to discuss questions, discoveries, challenges.
  • Please note that students are expected to devote themselves full-time for the duration of the program to their research project (i.e. 40+ hours/week), so participation in the Laidlaw Program is not compatible with attending summer classes, holding down another job, etc.

An immersive leadership activity of six weeks.

  • This immersive activity will take place in the second summer of the program (following your second year in the College), and is meant to expand your leadership skills and to engage a community that will allow you to 'step out of your comfort zone'. The expectation is that this summer Scholars will build on the research of the previous summer, and that they will assume more responsibilities and/or a leadership role, whatever form their engagement ultimately takes. In this regard, there are three possible kinds of engagement in the second summer: Scholars are welcome to apply the research they pursued in the previous summer to a field work position, and to consider roles in which they might pursue an 'applied research' opportunity (please note that continuation of research in the lab, library or archive is not possible); students may identify and/or develop a project with a non-profit or NGO that allows them to engage with a community that will benefit from their contributions, and that will allow them to utilize your leadership training; or a student may participate in a Leadership-in-Action project, which is an immersive, bespoke program developed in collaboration with the Laidlaw Foundation. The goal of this second summer is to provide you with the opportunity to contribute to a community to which you are committed. (If this is a scholarly group, this might be an underexplored area of study; if this is a social group, this might be about an issue of, for example, injustice or underrepresentation; if this is an environmental group, it might address a specific area, such as climate change.)
  • Please note that students are expected to devote themselves full-time for the duration of the program to their leadership project (i.e. 40+ hours/week), so participation in the Laidlaw Program is not compatible with attending summer courses, holding down another job, etc.

2022 Leadership-in-Action projects can be found on the Laidlaw Network (you must be a Laidlaw Scholar to have access to this page)!

In addition, your leadership skills will be further honed by contributions that you are expected to make to the Columbia community.

  • Some possibilities include the following: you can serve as a peer-to-peer mentor for incoming Laidlaw Scholars; you can develop and lead a workshop for the incoming cohort of Laidlaw Scholars regarding your second summer experience; you can contribute to a working group of Laidlaw Scholars interested in similar topics to your own. These groups will be organized in conjunction with your summer projects. All Laidlaw Scholars will be expected to develop a single slide and a three minute oral presentation about their summer projects that will be included in the Undergraduate Research Symposium (if the project is research related) or in a panel discussion for the Laidlaw community (if the project is an immersive leadership experience).

First Summer

The first summer will consist of a combination of training on leadership, research fundamentals and disciplinary research on campus. The first week of the program will allow the entire cohort to explore topics such as searching for and discovering primary and secondary resources, as well as understanding “knowledge architecture,” from structures of information to the ethical implications of information use. The remaining five weeks will focus largely on each student's individual research project, with meetings to discuss questions, discoveries, challenges. This first summer allows students to develop a research project while staying on Columbia's campus and working under the supervision of a Columbia faculty member. The duration of the program corresponds to Summer Session I.

Second Summer

The second summer, the student should plan to pursue an immersive leadership activity that is meant to expand the student's leadership skills and their engagement with the broader community. Students can pursue one of three options: an infield application of their research; an immersive Leadership-in-Action project, that is designed for Laidlaw Scholars from participating universities; or a leadership project of your own design with an NGO or non-profit. Projects or experiences with an international focus are particularly welcome, and international engagement is a required component of the second summer (with exceptions given to anyone who is unable to travel). Partnerships or collaborations with international universities who are fellow sponsors of the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme are also possible, including our partner programs in other countries (including Durham University, the University College London, University of Leeds, University of St. Andrews, the University of York; the University of Hong Kong; the University of Toronto, and others), which may provide further resources and networking opportunities.

Second summer Laidlaw proposals are due the Thursday before spring break, each year.

Seminar and Retreats

Laidlaw Scholars are expected to attend a combination of seminars and retreats that focus on developing their research skills and potential as future leaders in their fields. These meetings include workshops, trainings, speakers, and events, as well as mentoring opportunities in conjunction with the Laidlaw Symposium (see below). These begin with a welcome dinner following admission into the program. They will continue the first week of the scholar’s first summer research period, and will include several meetings and retreats throughout the academic year in between the first and second summer research period, and a final leadership workshop following the second summer. Participation in seminar and retreat activities is mandatory.

Laidlaw Symposium

Following the summer research period, all Scholars are required to participate in a symposium by creating a poster, presentation or research paper explaining their project and research findings. The event will be open to the Columbia academic community, the broader public, and all cohorts of the Laidlaw Scholars Program. In preparation for this event, Scholars must submit an abstract summarizing the results of their research conducted during the summer and Scholars are expected to have incorporated editorial advice from their mentors before submission. Students who pursue research the second summer will likewise be expected to participate in the symposium. Those Laidlaw Scholars who instead opt for an immersive Leadership-in-Action experience for the second summer, or who engage with an NGO or non-profit in their second summer, will be expected to share their experiences with the Columbia community in other formats.

Funding Details

Laidlaw Scholars in their first summer in the program receive housing in a double room on Columbia campus for Summer Session I, as well as a stipend of $500/week for the six weeks of Laidlaw research. In the second summer, students are required to travel internationally (unless personal circumstances prevent you from doing so), and the program provides an additional travel stipend for this purpose. In addition, the Program will cover the cost of housing up to, but not exceeding, the cost of housing on campus for Summer Session I. Laidlaw Scholars will also receive a weekly stipend to cover living and research expenses. The stipend will vary depending on the type of engagement you select.

Eligibility

Candidates for the Laidlaw Scholars Program must:

  • Be first-year students in Columbia College;
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing, with preference given to students who have a cumulative GPA not less than 3.3;
  • Commit to the program full-time (research or community engagement), which means 6 consecutive weeks, 40 hours/week. Please note that students are expected to devote themselves full-time for the duration of the program to their research project (i.e. 40+ hours/week), so participation in the Laidlaw Program is not compatible with attending summer school, holding down another job, etc.
  • Commit to attending the seminars and retreats during the summer following their first-year, the following academic year; and during the summer following their sophomore year.
  • Commit to attending the seminars and retreats that take place in the fall semester of your sophomore and junior years (following your summer engagement) and in the spring semester of your sophomore year.
  • Commit to participating in a university wide symposium where all Laidlaw Scholars present their research findings through a poster (following the first summer).
  • Commit to participating in a university wide symposium (if you conducted infield research) in the fall semester following your second summer as a Laidlaw Scholar. If your summer experience was an immersive leadership experience, you will be expected to share your experience and your leadership skills with the Columbia community by leading a discussion or developing a workshop.

Fact Sheet

Discipline:
Foreign Language Learning, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM
Eligibility:
CC students only, First Year, Not U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, U.S. Citizen
Fellowship Type:
Experiential, Study Abroad/Foreign Language, Summer Opportunity
Location:
New York,
United States
,
Multiple Locations,
Term:
Summer

Dates & Deadlines

Summer
2023
Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, January 10, 2023