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The Department of Biological Sciences has several yearly awards and fellowships that our majors may apply for. For some awards, students from other departments who are doing research in the laboratory of a Biological Sciences faculty member may apply also.


The Department of Biological Sciences administers two 10-week summer undergraduate fellowships that are targeted toward different groups of students. Each includes a summer stipend of $6000. For 2024, the fellowships will run from May 20 to July 26, 2024. This timing is concurrent with the Virginia Tech Office of Undergraduate Research’s Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Awardees of our departmental fellowships may participate in SURF workshops, seminars, and social events. The SURF program also includes a symposium at the end of the 10-week fellowship period where fellows will present their research. The application deadline for the following departmental fellowships is March 15, 2024.

·         The Anne McNabb Fellowship is intended to help students who are new to the world of research. Consideration is given to students who have not previously participated in undergraduate research and to first-generation college students.

·         The David Lyerly Foundation Fellowship is directed toward students (new or experienced) who are doing research in microbiology.

Tiffany McCoy (at right) explains a poster about her research on algae to Virginia Tech Professor and Associate Dean Emerita Anne McNabb at August 2022’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, held in Goodwin Hall. McCoy graduated in December 2022 with a degree in biological sciences. Photo by Steven Mackay for Virginia Tech.

Departmental Grants for Undergraduate Research

Students participating in undergraduate research during this calendar year should consider applying for one of the department’s undergraduate research awards. There are three awards, each of which consists of a $1000 grant to help support undergraduate research projects conducted by our majors. The grants are the Robert Jones Undergraduate Research Excellence Award, the Alumni Research Excellence Award, and the Stacey Smith Biology Research Excellence Award.

To be eligible for any of the three awards, a student must be an undergraduate enrolled as a major in the Department of Biological Sciences (or in another department working under a Biological Sciences faculty member) and have a minimum in-major QCA of 3.0. Students of any academic level (except seniors in their final semester) may apply. The applicant’s research advisor may be a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences or another academic unit at Virginia Tech for biology majors. These awards may be used for laboratory supplies and services. Except for the Stacey Smith Biology Research Awards, these grants may also be used to cover travel or other fees for scientific conferences related to the proposed research project.

The Stacey Smith Biology Research Excellence Award was established by Dr. Stacey Smith, a professor at the University of Colorado, who got her start in research in the Virginia Tech Biology Department. She wanted to found an award to foster women and other underrepresented groups to pursue biological research careers. Eligibility for the Stacey Smith Biology Research Excellence Awards has the following additional requirements: i.) Students should be interested in pursuing a research career—as opposed to a clinical healthcare career. ii.) Students eligible for this award must be from a group underrepresented in scientific research based on criteria such as—but not limited to—gender or ethnicity. First-generation college students are also eligible. iii.) This award may be used for laboratory supplies and services, but not for tuition, books, or travel.

All applications will be reviewed together and ranked for merit. Awards will be assigned based on eligibility criteria and distributed to those with the highest scores. Please see this PDF document for details about eligibility and application instructions. This document is a cover sheet for the application and must be completed and included as part of the application.

Questions regarding these awards should be sent to Richard Seyler at