Summer Research

Call for Proposals

The Digital Humanities Committee is accepting proposals for Mellon Summer Research Grants for faculty working with students. Applications are handled through the standard Summer Lenfest Grants and Summer Research Scholars forms and process.

Please contact the Digital Humanities Action Team at with questions or to request a mandatory consultation.

Application deadline: January 25, 2019.


  • Full-time tenured and tenure track faculty working on digital humanities-based research project.
  • Applicants shall employ a minimum of one and a maximum of two student researchers. Student researchers are expected to work ten weeks during the summer.
  • Applicants must consult with DHAT before applying.
  • Past Summer Research Grant recipients are still eligible to apply and are encouraged to discuss with the DHAT how further funding will build upon previous work.
  • Current full-time visitors who have been here at least one year and who have an institutional commitment for continued full-time employment for at least one year beyond the grant period may apply. These applications will be considered if there are funds remaining when all of the tenured and tenure-track faculty applications have been decided.

Award Information:

Approved projects will be awarded a stipend of up to $5500, with an expected time frame of eight summer weeks, and are eligible for reimbursable expenses up to $2000 for economy travel, meals, and living expenses for work outside Rockbridge County. An applicant may elect to apply for expense funding in excess of $2000 with concomitant reduction in the $5500 stipend amount, but the stipend portion can never exceed $5500 and the total award cannot exceed $7500.

See for reimbursement policies, forms and mileage allowance. Expense funding may not cover any of the following items: equipment, capital improvements to any physical spaces or facilities; computer software; copying; preparation of lectures or other classroom materials; University administrative expenses of any sort.

Student researchers will be awarded a stipend grant of $4000.


Summer Grant Proposals must be submitted using the online form, which requires the following format:

  1. Project title(s), dates, and location
  2. Project summary (submit as a Word document or PDF, 2 pages maximum) shall describe
    (a) Its purpose,
    (b) How it will be carried out with special attention to the incorporation of student researcher(s),
    (c) Any special material or assistance required,
    (d) The expected end product, and
    (e) How this will contribute to your growth as a teacher-scholar and to your field(s) of research.
    (f) Summary of your Lenfest Summer Research funding over the past five years, including scholarly products resulting from this past funding. Note especially any previous funding for the current project proposed and progress to date from that funding if this project continues. Please also summarize any Digital Humanities funding you received from W&L.
  3. Budget information: any external funding sought; type and amount of Mellon Summer Research funding (stipend, expenses) requested; details of expenses; total amount of grant.

The Summer Research Scholars application form requires the following:

  1. Student names
  2. Title of project
  3. Check box for Digital Humanities Mellon grant
  4. Number of weeks
  5. Project start date
  6. Project end date
  7. Faculty Mentor Project description. Should not exceed 2 pages of text. You may have an extra page of graphics if needed. Include the following information:
    (a) purpose of project, how it will be carried out and time required;
    (b) anticipated end product and contribution to your field;
    (c) student responsibilities and educational benefits;
    (d) outside funding sought for this project, if any, and present status of this search (applications will be strengthened in cases where outside funding is also sought).
  8. Student description of project. Should be no more than a single page of text per student, describing her or his planned work on the proposed project.

Applications will be judged based on the following:

  1. Is the application complete and understandable?
  2. Is the applicant demonstrating significant engagement in digital humanities methodologies to answer humanistic questions?
  3. Are the research students integrated and engaged in the research?
  4. Has the applicant made productive use of recent Lenfest and/or DH funding?

Application Process

  • All applicants must meet with the DHAT prior to submission. Contact to schedule a consultation.
  • Apply through the standard Lenfest Grant application. Be sure to select YES when asked, “Is this a project suitable for the Digital Humanities Mellon grant?
  • Faculty must also apply for Summer Research Scholars through the standard Summer Research Scholar application.
  • Student researchers will need to submit a statement of interest for the faculty member’s SRS application. Student researchers will also need to submit the Summer Opportunities Funding Request Form.

Your application will be automatically submitted to your department head for endorsement. (This indicates that the applicant’s proposed activities can be accommodated, are consistent with the applicant’s ongoing plan for professional development, and are likely to meet the stated goals.) The department head will review and forward the application to the relevant dean or return to the applicant for further information. The dean will then review and forward to the Digital Humanities Committee for consideration or return to the applicant for further information. If the application is not funded through the Mellon DH Summer Research program, it will then be forwarded to the Provost with the recommendation that it be considered for a standard Lenfest faculty summer research grant. Student researchers will also automatically be considered for the standard Summer Research Scholars Program.

Report of Research Results:

Every Mellon Summer Research Grant recipient must submit, no later than the second Monday in October, a report of research results that will be posted on DH @ WLU – the website of the Digital Initiative. The report may vary according to the nature of the project but in general should be in summary narrative form and one to two pages in length. It should include the period of work, the location of the project, the extent to which the original plan was followed, and most importantly whether the goals were met in relation to the proposal. References to publications or other work products resulting from the award should be listed. If the project goals were not met, a statement of progress should be included that is definitive enough to enable the reader to judge the extent and quality of the work done.

If the award included an amount for expenses, a separate short report should include an itemized account of how it was used.

This program is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

2018 Mellon Summer Research Grant Recipients

  • George Bent
  • Megan Hess
  • Stephen P. McCormick

Student Recipients:

  • Megan Doherty ’19 (working with Stephen P. McCormick)
  • Alex Farley ’19 (working with Megan Hess)
  • MaKayla Lorick ’19 (working with Sydney Bufkin and Tom Camden)
  • Parker Robertson ’20 (working with Drew Hess)
  • Trevor Stalnaker ’20 (working with Rebecca Benefiel and Sara Sprenkle)
  • Melissa Yorio ’21 (working with Rebecca Benefiel)

2017 Mellon Summer Research Grant Recipients

  • Clover Archer
  • George Bent
  • Gavin Fox
  • Drew Hess
  • Megan Hess
  • Sarah Horowitz

Student Recipients:

  • Arlette Hernandez ’18 (working with Chris Gavalar)
  • Nathan Brewer ’19 and Skylar Prichard ’19 (working with Rebecca Benefiel)

2016 Mellon Summer Research Grant Recipients

  • Rebecca Benefiel
  • Hank Dobin
  • Sarah Horowitz
  • Barton Myers

2015 Summer Research Scholars

  • Mapping the Literary Railway – Paul Youngman, Professor of German, was assisted by two student research scholars: Ulemj (Lenny) Enkhbold ’17 and Lizzy Stanton ’17. In addition to mapping the railway trips featured in 19th century German realist novels, they accompanied a team to the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship at Hamilton College.
  • Ancient Graffiti Project – Rebecca Benefiel (Associate Professor of Classics) and Sara Sprenkle (Associate Professor of Computer Science) were assisted by two student research scholars.
  • Huon d’Auvergne Digital Edition – Stephen P. McCormick, Assistant Professor of French, was assisted by one student research scholar: Natsumi Alvarez ’15. She encoded portions of the Huon d’Auvergne manuscript using the TEI and developed encoding guidelines.