Submission Date


Document Type





Lauren Wynne

Committee Member

Jasmine Harris

Committee Member

Robin Clouser

Committee Member

Jonathan Clark

Department Chair

Jonathan Clark

Project Description

A common offering among undergraduate institutions is an intensive summer research program, which allows students to complete a project independently without any other academic obligations. These programs are designed to foster useful skills, valuable relationships, and scholarly work. Ursinus College, a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, has such a program: Summer Fellows. With colleges attempting to appeal to a decreasing number of high-achieving applicants, student desire to pursue intellectual interests, and employers looking for skilled job candidates, it is worthwhile to examine the perceived efficacy of this program. This paper utilizes the perspectives of alumni reflecting on what they gained from Summer Fellows now that they have entered the professional world. The benefits they described include skills, dispositions, and social relationships that are developed by utilizing the resources provided to overcome the uncomfortable nature of the process of finishing a sound, scholarly project. These benefits are categorized as a form of social, cultural, or symbolic capital, which is accumulated throughout the program and then translated from the academic setting of Summer Fellows into various professional fields. This paper is not about whether the program works, but about how alumni (and students) perceive the program’s impact on their professional lives.