Friends of the Library support student research

Category:  News
Thursday, October 8th, 2015 at 12:27 AM

Graduate student Andrea Velez’s research for her master’s thesis would have been incomplete if she hadn’t been able to visit Chicago for a Grateful Dead concert.

Velez applied for a grant through the Friends of the Baron-Forness Library’s Student Research Grant Program last fall in order to fund her research for her thesis. Using the audience for the Grateful Dead, she examined the connection between audiences and community theory, especially with new communication technologies.

“Many Grateful Dead fans have adopted the name ‘Dead Heads’ and are known for traveling the country from concert to concert,” Velez said.

“My hypothesis holds that with the proliferation of new communication technologies, dedicated audience members acquire the ability to become more than just an audience in attendance, acting instead as a culturesharing community.”

Part of Velez’s research involved a trip to Chicago for a three-day “Fare Thee Well” concert series held to celebrate 50 years of the band, where she conducted interviews with fans in the parking lots.

“The rich environment of the ‘Dead Lot,’ as the fans deemed it, was the perfect context for my research,” she said.

During her trip, she was able to stay at a classmate’s home during the trip, but used the grant to cover her other travel expenses and purchase audio equipment.

“Interviewing methods and observation provided data pertaining to Grateful Dead fans’ interactions within their environment, which I could not otherwise gather from textual resources alone,” Velez said.

Any undergraduate student with a minimum of 75 credit hours and a 3.25 GPA or a graduate student with a minimum of 15 credit hours and a 3.5 GPA can apply.

“A little over two years ago now, the board was looking for a way to support endeavors that utilize library resources, Dr. Cynthia Legin-Bucell, Friends of the Baron-Forness Library member, said. “Scholarship does that, whether you are an art student or a biology student, or majoring in education, and so we thought supporting student scholarship was a good way to go.”

However, the project needs to be related to the completion of that student’s degree. It does not need to be done as an independent study for credit, but it should be related to the student’s field of study.

Students must then work under a faculty member’s supervision in order to complete the project within 12 months after they are notified about receiving the award.

The students are notified in late October if they are to receive funding. They will receive a check in the spring semester.

“It can be used for everything from buying art supplies to providing funding to travel to a conference,” Legin-Bucell said. “It’s whatever students might need.”

Each project can be awarded a maximum of $500, whether it is individual or group work.

Recipients are then expected to present their work at the Friends of the Baron-Forness Library’s spring meeting at the end of April. They should also expect to submit a poster to be displayed in the library.

If the project isn’t completed at that point, students have until October to complete it, but they will still need to present their progress and their expected outcomes to the board.

Student applications should be no longer than five typed pages using double spaced 12 point font and one inch margins.

Each grant application must include the following content and the total application must not exceed five typed pages, double-spaced, using 12 font and one inch margins. It should include the objective, methods and procedures intended to reach a final outcome, the project’s significance, a timeline for completion and a budget. It should have both a cover and signature page, which includes the agreement to present the project in the spring.

“It’s really good practice for students who plan on going to graduate school, because applying for grant funds is something that they will have to do in the future,” Legin-Bucell said. “This gives students really good practice in writing a very small proposal to reward their efforts.

Students will also need a faculty advisor letter of support.

Proposals should then be submitted to Legin-Bucell in 211 Compton Hall by 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12. Any questions regarding this can be sent to

Eligible students should have received emails about this, but they can also find more information by searching Baron-Forness Library at the university’s website. Students should then choose the tab that reads “Friends of the Library” and will see a link labeled “Baron-Forness Library Student Research Grant Program.”

“We just think this is a very effective way to support student initiative and student commitment to scholarship,” Legin-Bucell said.

Tracy Geibel is the Campus Life Editor at The Spectator. She can be reached at

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