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Fellowship funds honors student's research with faculty

Applications for Bidstrup Foundation Fellowship open through April 1

March 19, 2024

Juggling work and academic pursuits is a challenge many college students know well. Especially when, like Erin Burgard — a senior majoring in environmental engineering at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University — you’re also juggling a minor (in Spanish) and a certificate (in environmental humanities).

For Burgard, the Bidstrup Foundation Fellowship, which provides funds for honors students with financial need who wish to engage in research with faculty members, made all the difference.

Portrait of Erin Burgard.
Erin Burgard

“Thanks to this scholarship and its financial support, I was able to complete and successfully defend my honors thesis, continue my education as a Barrett honors student, work stress-free at the lab and enjoy my last few semesters here at ASU, which are all things I deeply value,” Burgard said, adding that the lab experience helped her land a research position at Vanderbilt University last summer.

Applications for the 2024–25 Bidstrup Foundation Fellowship are now open and will be accepted until April 1. Students who wish to apply must be eligible to be hired as ASU student workers in compliance with all university policies and are allowed to work up to 25 hours per week (20 hours per week for international students). More information and an application are available here.

Through the fellowship program, Barrett students who want to carry out scholarly work under the tutelage of faculty members and are required to earn money to address their financial need are paid an hourly salary for their work. Funding of up to $2,000 is available.

The Bidstrup Fellowship supported two of Burgard’s research projects, both focusing on a new solar panel material called perovskite, in a lab under the direction of Nicholas Rolston, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering and graduate faculty in materials science and chemical engineering.

The projects involved analyzing the strength of perovskite when exposed to sunlight, humidity, heat and pressure. Burgard said she learned about material science and solar cell theory, how to set up experiments, solder wires, connect sensors and software, and code in different program languages. The projects were the basis for Burgard’s honors thesis.

“While my work in the lab has taught me all about material science and solar cell theory, the most valuable aspect of my undergraduate research has been being mentored by Dr. Rolston. He has shown me and all of my fellow lab students unwavering support, motivation and encouragement,” said Burgard, who is set to graduate with honors in May.

Burgard said she highly encourages Barrett students to apply for the Bidstrup Fellowship.

“It is yet another opportunity to be supported through Barrett," she added. "If you see the program application, apply! Being a Bidstrup Fellow will support you financially and keep you motivated and on track."

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