Richter Grant Program
Tribal music in Ghana… White Sox spring training in Tucson, Arizona… dispute resolution in China and Japan… economics education in Russia since the end of the Cold War.
What can all these possibly have in common? The answer? They’re just a small sampling of the research topics North Central students have pursued in recent years through the assistance of Richter Independent Study Grants.
This highly unusual program awards grants to encourage individual student research. Grants of up to $5,000 allow students to pursue projects that otherwise would not be feasible. During the 2011-2012 academic year, North Central undergraduates, across academic disciplines, were awarded grants totaling nearly $40,000.
North Central’s participation in the Richter Grant Program began in 1977 through funding from The Paul K. and Elizabeth Cook Richter Trusts. Since that time, hundreds of North Central students have used these grants to travel across the U.S. and around the world to pursue their research interests.
In the future, one of those students could be you!
Sample Richter Projects
SPOTLIGHT ON RICHTER
Amber Dvorak '13
Amber Dvorak '13 used her Interactive Media Studies background to create Jingle Lizzard (seen above). The project,"An Undergraduate Animated 3D Short and Investigation into the 3D Animation Process" brought her to downtown Chicago where she was able to interview production teams normally unavailable to the public. Amber, a College Scholar, continued to build on her Richter Grant research by writing her honors thesis on the topic and presenting at Rall Symposium.
Michelle Ruffatti '13
College Scholar and chemistry major Michelle Ruffatti ’13 spent her summer analyzing disassembled trees for her senior thesis research, which was funded by a Richter Grant. As part of a study at nearby Morton Arboretum, Ruffatti analyzed tree samples to determine how various soil treatments affected the biological, chemical, and physical aspects of the soil, such as the rate at which nitrogen is cycled throughout the soil. Results indicated that the soil treatment Biochar out-performed common soil treatments, such as mulch and fertilizer, and improved soil quality and ultimately tree growth. Ruffatti will present her research at the Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
Emma Rothenfluh '12
Emma Rothenfluh, English and Theatre double major, was awarded a competitive Richter Fellowship that allowed her to travel to Bangkok, Thailand during December 2013 where she interviewed educators to investigate the value and worldview tendencies embedded in the most promoted Thai children's books.
Weien Wang '11
With assistance provided by a Richter Fellowship, Weien Wang, biology major with minors in Chinese and English, conducted a summer-long study of China's low-wage labor force by working along side some of its members to understand the marginalized workers' perspectives of the Chinese market system.
Priscilla Martinez '10
Richter Independent Study Fellowships gave Priscilla Martinez, global studies major, an unparalleled experience. In the summer of 2009, she went to Nairobi to study the effectiveness of microfinance through community development in Kibera.