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Berry Summer Thesis Institute

Berry Summer Thesis Institute

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

Program Goals and Outcomes

The Berry Summer Thesis Institute is designed to:

  • Introduce high-achieving students from all majors to scholarly research before their junior year.
  • Provide additional training and support for students in the research and writing process.
  • Position more students for prestigious national fellowships.
  • Provide 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.
  • Enhance a sense of scholarly community among undergraduate researchers.

Program Components

Each Berry Summer Thesis Fellow will:

  • Engage in research/scholarship in the student's major under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
  • Participate in professional development workshops and activities.
  • Participate in a mini-course.
  • Participate in community engagement with a Dayton Community Partner (5 to 6 hours per week).
  • Orally present a Midterm Research Progress Report.
  • Orally present a research report at the end of summer Berry Summer Thesis Institute Symposium.
  • Prepare and submit a preliminary and final draft of an original creative manuscript or 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 for the summer
  • $2,000 summer fellowship
  • Research Funding (maximum $1,500)
  • Three Honors credits upon successful completion of the Institute


The expectations for all participants include:

  • Participation in a week-long orientation the first week of the program.
  • Attendance at all weekly programming and all sessions of the mini-course.
  • Attendance at the cohorted lunches.
  • Dressing appropriately for Civic Engagement projects (based on assignments and duties).
  • Dressing professionally for the Midterm Presentation and Berry Summer Thesis Institute Symposium.

Honors Summer Research Symposium

The Berry Summer Thesis Institute cohort presents their work at the Honors Summer Research Symposium, held at the program's completion. All are welcome to attend one or several of the presentations made by the cohort members.

To read the abstracts of the 2019 presentations, click here:  BSTI Symposium Program (pdf)

The 2020 BSTI Symposium will be held:  August TBD, 2020.


Fourth semester (sophomore) Honors student in good standing with 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 full 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 full 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

2020 applications will be accepted beginning December 2019 and are due February 9, 2020 by 11:59 pm.


Student Documents

All student documents should be submitted as one PDF through the online submission form by the due date. They are:

Mentor Letter of Recommendation and Support

  • Letter is prepared and submitted by the faculty mentor.
  • Mentor indicates willingness to serve as the summer thesis mentor for the student during the full summer program and comment on the proposal and budget.
  • Mentor submits letter to

Saving a Word Document as a PDF

completed applications are due February 9, 2020 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 across the University 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


Honors Program

Alumni Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0311