Awards & Scholarships

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A faculty member and a student wearing white gloves handle a manuscript in the University Archives.


Endowed Undergraduate Research Awards 

The Minerva Center for High Impact Learning is proud to manage the following awards, which provide up to $1,000 in funding for individual undergraduate students’ research projects: 

  • Abele Research Fund 

  • Greenwald Research Fund  

  • Moyer Research Fund 

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarships 

These awards are offered in partnership with the UAlbany Foundation, thanks to our generous donors. Donate today!

Eligibility for the Endowed Undergraduate Research Awards

All eligible undergraduate students, regardless of major or class year, may apply.  

To be eligible, you must fulfill these requirements at the time of application: 

  • Be enrolled as matriculated (degree-seeking), full-time (at least 12 credits) UAlbany undergraduate student 

  • Be actively engaged in a research project, at any phase of the research process 

  • Have a UAlbany faculty member, researcher, adjunct faculty member, graduate student or affiliated researcher mentoring or supervising your research project 

Your research project may be in any academic discipline, concentration or content area. However, each award is connected to a preferred research area: 

  • Abele Research Fund: Research in physical or natural sciences will be given preference. Research in social and behavioral sciences will be considered. 

  • Greenwald Research Fund: Research in physical or natural sciences will be given preference. Research in business finance or corporate management will be considered. 

  • Moyer Research Fund: Research in physical or natural sciences will be given preference. Research in social and behavioral sciences will be considered. 

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarships: All types of research will be considered.

Apply for the Endowed Undergraduate Research Awards

To streamline the application process, there is a single Endowed Undergraduate Research Awards Application for all four awards.

The endowed awards application is now open, with an application deadline of 11:59 p.m. October 31, 2023.

Your application will be reviewed and considered for any awards you’re eligible to receive. Please review the eligibility rules above before applying. 

Be prepared to submit the following materials at the time of application: 

  • Research Abstract  

  • Budget Summary, including incurred or pending expenses and a written explanation of the funding use and itemized expenses  

  • A detailed summary of your role and responsibilities for the research project 

  • Acknowledgement that, if you receive an award, you may be required to present your research project at UAlbany Showcase

Your mentor or supervisor will be prompted to review your application after you submit it. They must certify your application for it to be considered complete. 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Donors for the Endowed Undergraduate Research Awards

The Abele Research Fund was generously donated by Kenneth W. Abele and Thelma Miller Abele '38. 

The Greenwald Research Fund was generously donated by Lita and Stephen Greenwald '40. 

The Moyer Research Fund was generously donated by Robert W. Moyer. 

The Undergraduate Research Scholarships were generously donated by Clyde '28 & Virgina Roosa '32 Slocum, Adelaid Schmid '38 and Adrienne Zimberg '83.

Situation Prize for Research – Community, Cause and Advocacy 

The Situation Prize for Research – Community, Cause and Advocacy supports undergraduate research, community service and other projects that meet a critical community need.  

Each spring semester, UAlbany undergraduate students are invited to apply for one of nine $500 awards. The ongoing or proposed projects may be in any academic discipline. 

The award is intended to unite communities and leverage civic engagement — whether social, politics, economic or environment — for positive change.

Eligibility for the Situation Prize for Research

All eligible undergraduate students, regardless of major or class year, may apply.  

To be eligible, you must be a matriculated (degree-seeking) undergraduate UAlbany student enrolled in at least six credits at the time of application.

Apply for the Situation Prize for Research

To apply, please complete the Situation Prize for Research Application. Applications are currently closed. Please check back in Spring 2024.

You’ll be required to submit an updated resume and a three- to five-page project proposal or summary (see below for instructions). You can also optionally submit a 10-second video with a one-second tagline for your project. 

If you are selected to receive the award, you will be required to provide an update on your project, including how it has progressed and other related information, in July. 

Instructions for Project Proposal or Summary 

Your project proposal or summary should respond to this prompt: 

Engaging with our communities has never been timelier than it is now. As a student, cultivating interests and passions outside of the classroom is a valuable aspect of your development as an engaged citizen. Using your academic experience, write a project proposal/paper that identifies an issue/problem within the community you live and work in that has sparked your passion. 

The project proposal or summary must also include the following: 

  • A definition of the problem/issue 

  • Your relationship to the problem/issue and why it matters to you 

  • The impact of this problem/issue on the community 

  • How this problem/issue is or is not being addressed elsewhere 

  • Your proposal of actionable interventions that can be implemented to address the problem/issue within the community and/or how to further the work of an organization you are already involved with 

  • What you envision the future will look like without this problem/issue 

It must also include a works cited page, which will not count against the three- to five-page limit.  

(A works cited is required to highlight the importance of sound research and analysis of data, theories, and practices in addressing such problems/issues.) 

Donor for the Situation Prize for Research

The Situation Prize for Research is generously donated by Damian Bazadona '98, the founder and president of digital marketing agency Situation.  

Bazadona earned a BS in Business Administration at UAlbany. Situation helps brands build passionate communities through digital-first marketing strategies.  

Over the years, Damian has worked with some of the world’s leading brands including Meals on Wheels America, The Metropolitan Opera, HBO, Major League Soccer, National Geographic, and The Ad Council.  

His agency has also been honored with numerous workplace awards from Crain’s, Best Companies Group, Cynopsis, Digiday, and Fortune. Damian himself was honored by Cynopsis with the Social Good Leader of the Year and HR Visionary of the Year awards. 

Damian strongly believes in giving back to his own community. Past Situation Prize for Research recipients have used their awards to advance their projects, attend conferences and make an impact in their communities.

Sorrell Chesin Research Award 

The Sorrell Chesin Research Award supports faculty-supervised undergraduate research in the life sciences (biology, chemistry and/or related disciplines). 

Each spring semester, juniors and seniors are invited to apply for $500 awards. 

Eligibility for the Sorrell Chesin Research Award

To be eligible, you must fulfill these requirements at the time of application: 

  • A matriculated (degree-seeking), full-time (at least 12 credits) UAlbany undergraduate student with at least junior class standing

  • Engaged in life sciences research (biology, chemistry and/or related disciplines) under the direction or mentorship of a UAlbany faculty member 

Students who have previously won a Sorrell Chesin Award may apply but not with the same project. Past recipients must apply with a different project to be considered. 

Apply for the Sorrell Chesin Research Award

To apply, please complete the Sorrell Chesin Research Award Application. Applications are currently closed. Please check back in Spring 2024.

Be prepared to submit the following: 

  • An abstract of your research project 

  • Your faculty mentor/advisor’s name and email address 

  • Your resume 

  • Responses to the following prompts: 

    • Briefly describe your personal goals and objectives for being involved in research. 

    • How does your research contribute significantly to your field of study or beyond? 

After you submit the application, your faculty mentor/advisor will receive an email with instructions for submitting a letter of support.

Donor for the Sorrell Chesin Research Award

The Sorrell Chesin Award is generously donated by Dr. Sorrell Chesin, an Emeritus Associate Vice President for University Development at UAlbany. 

Dr. Sorrell Chesin began his undergraduate education at NYU but completed it with a bachelor's of science from the SUNY Geneseo. His master's of arts is from Syracuse University and his doctorate from Michigan State University, where he served as a Head Resident Advisor. 

As an undergraduate student at SUNY Geneseo, Dr. Chesin participated in research under the direction of Psychology Professor Richard Bloomer. The experience inspired Dr. Chesin to champion undergraduate research during his career in higher education. 

He held an administrative and part-time faculty position at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut prior to being appointed Associate Dean of Students at UAlbany in 1965.

Dr. Chesin held several senior administrative positions over the course of his UAlbany tenure, including service as Executive Director of the UAlbany Foundation, and retired in 2013 as Associate Vice President for University Development.

Upon retirement, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the UAlbany Emeritus Center, an association of retired faculty, administrators and professional personnel and served as its Vice President and then President.

2023 Recipients of the Sorrell Chesin Research Award
Danielle Jean

Major: Human Biology

Class Year: Senior

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alex Valm

Research Abstract: The increasing risk from COVID-19 viral outbreaks and a lack of understanding of risk factors for viral spread drives the need for more sensitive methods for detection of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We have developed a method to identify and quantify microbial communities and SARS CoV-2 viral particles in saliva utilizing Hybridization Chain Reaction-Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization (HCR-FISH). HCR-FISH allows us to label specific RNA sequences and analyze these complementary sections of RNA with the beneficial goal of spatial localization by a fluorescent microscope. Our main objective is to discover if SARS-CoV-19 interacts with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expressed by shed epithelial cells in the mouth and has capacity to infect these cells. We hypothesize that shed epithelial cells that are invaded by oral microbes have differential ACE2 expression and SARS CoV-2 binding than shed cells that are not invaded by bacteria. The results of this work demonstrate that viral pathogens of the host and the normal human microbiota interact to promote or prevent infection in healthy human hosts.


Hannah Talbot

Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Class Year: Junior

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Arun Richard Chandrasekaran

Research Abstract: DNA-based construction allows the creation of molecular devices that are useful in information storage and processing. Here, we combined the programmability of DNA nanoswitches and stimuli-responsive conformational changes to demonstrate information encoding and graphical readout using gel electrophoresis. We encoded information as 5-bit binary codes for alphanumeric characters using a combination of DNA and RNA inputs that can be decoded using molecular stimuli such as a ribonuclease. We also show that a similar strategy can be used for graphical visual readout of alphabets on an agarose gel, information that is encoded by nucleic acids and decoded by a ribonuclease. Our method of information encoding and processing could be combined with DNA actuation for molecular computation and diagnostics that require a nonarbitrary visual readout.


Michael Bratslavsky

Major: Biology

Class Year: Junior

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Morgan Sammons

Research Abstract: According to the CDC, in 2017, 41.9 percent of the U.S population had obesity, a disease that can lead to heart diseases, stroke, and type II diabetes. One of the proteins that has been implicated in obesity, control of body weight, organismal aging, and metabolism is Growth Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF15). One of the identified regulators of the GDF15 gene is p53, a widely studied tumor suppressor that primarily functions as a transcriptional activator involved in mediating cell stress and homeostasis. However, the mechanism behind the regulation of GDF15 by p53 and other transcription factors is still unclear. So far, we have shown that p53 is involved in the regulation of two distal GDF15 enhancer sequences. These distal enhancers are dependent on p53, and are activated by DNA damage and the Integrated Stress Response. The next steps are further investigation of human variation in the enhancer regions to understand how p53 modulates this gene for regulation. Additionally, we seek to uncover the role of how other transcription factors, such as ATF4 which is a key regulator in the Integrated Stress Response, are involved in this regulation. These experiments will ultimately provide insight into a potential regulatory mechanism of GDF15 in response to multiple cell stress conditions and help us better understand the potential roles for GDF15 in the progression of numerous diseases.


Seanessa Lee

Major: Psychology

Class Year: Junior

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ewan McNay

Research Abstract: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a growth factor that plays a crucial role in cell survival, synaptic plasticity, and physiological responses, and it is highly expressed in the cortex, hippocampus, and thalamus. Recent studies have shown that BDNF has a pathological role in the development of several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and dementia. Further, there is decreased BDNF expression in serum, hippocampi, and cortical tissue in post-mortem suicidal and depressive patients. Thus, BDNF has been identified as a potential biomarker for these diseases. Several studies have shown a correlation between hippocampal and blood BDNF expression. In this study, we will investigate this relationship in male and female Sprague Dawley rats. To do this, we will collect blood and hippocampi samples before using an ELISA assay to quantify BDNF levels. Demonstrating a strong correlation between hippocampal and blood BDNF expression unlocks the potential to allow for the development of more precise diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

Presidential Award for Undergraduate Research 

The Presidential Award for Undergraduate Research recognizes high-quality research, scholarship and creative activities conducted by undergraduate students at UAlbany.

Eligible students are nominated by their faculty mentor/advisor and winners are selected by the students’ respective schools and colleges.

  • Students who are interested in the award should contact their supervising faculty member.

  • Faculty and researchers should visit the Undergraduate Research Resources page to review eligibility and nomination instructions.

Students who receive the award are expected to present their research paper or project at UAlbany Showcase. Additionally, by accepting the award, students give the University permission to publish their final report or an abstract of the report. 



Other Awards for Undergraduate Research 

Opportunities are posted here as they are shared with the Minerva Center. 

UAlbany Opportunities 

External Opportunities