Jed Burtt Undergraduate Mentoring Grants

Applications for Jed Burtt Undergraduate Mentoring Grants are now closed. Please check back for details on the next application cycle.

Award Description

The Wilson Ornithological Society is pleased to offer grants to mentors working with undergraduate students on ornithological research projects. These grants are named in honor of Edward (“Jed”) H. Burtt, Jr., a Past President of WOS (1997–1999) and an exemplary mentor of undergraduates during his distinguished career. This grant program began in 2016.

The WOS will annually award up to two grants of $1,000 each to research projects that demonstrate the greatest capacity for mentoring and collaboration with at least one undergraduate. In addition, each mentor–student team will receive up to $2,000 (i.e., up to $1000 for the faculty mentor and $1000 for the student researcher(s)) to attend a subsequent annual meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society where the student(s) will present the findings of their grant-supported work. The WOS expects the Mentor to supervise participation of the student(s) in the conference, with the goal of enabling the student(s) to get as much out of the experience as possible.


Mentor eligibility: The Mentor must be a member of the Wilson Ornithological Society at the time of application; must maintain membership through the period during which the research is done; and must be a member in good standing during the year in which the student presents the results at the WOS annual meeting. Receipt of funds supporting attendance at the meeting by both the student(s) and the Mentor will be contingent on the Mentor’s continuing active membership in the WOS.

Student eligibility: The student(s) to be mentored must at the time of application be enrolled in an institution of higher education and actively working toward a bachelor degree, but not necessarily at the same institution as the mentor. The mentor could, for example, be an ornithologist working for a not-for-profit organization who mentors undergraduates at a local college. Ideally, applications should come from students not yet in their senior year; however, projects involving work done in the spring/summer immediately following graduation may be considered as long as the proposal includes clear indication that the student is likely to continue work in ornithology in some capacity (e.g., graduate study or employment).

Number of awards: Each Mentor-student team is restricted to a single award. No Mentor may be supported by two awards concurrently: a Mentor who received an award for research conducted in a given year (e.g., 2021) would need to wait until the next full application cycle (e.g., deadline of December 1 2023) to apply for support of another student.

Application Requirements and Submission

Applications are due annually in early January, with a committee decision made about March 1. Recipients must complete the project no later than 1 April of the following year (for example, for an application submitted in January 2023 in support of work to be completed in summer 2023, the team must complete the project by 1 April 2024).

All application materials from the mentor and student should be submitted via the Google form linked at the top of the page. Please direct any questions about the application process to Kerri Cornell Duerr (, the award administrator.

Application materials to be prepared by the Mentor (3 files):

(1) Research proposal (file name: MENTOR LAST NAME_research proposal). 

Page sizes should be 6 x 28 cm (8.5 x 11 in), with 2.5 cm (1 in) margins and 11 point, double-spaced typeface. Include page numbers and a header with the mentor and student last names (e.g., Smith and Jones research proposal).

Page 1: Title & abstract. Include a clear descriptive title (≤ 15 words), the names of the student(s) and mentor, and professional affiliations for both. Also include an abstract (max. 100 words).

Pages 2-4: Research description.

Background and objectives: Provide relevant background information, clearly stated project objectives, and research hypotheses and predictions with rationale.

Methods: Provide information on research methodology, analytical methods (including statistical treatments) and the locality where the research will be conducted. If your research involves obtaining permits or capturing live animals, make it clear that you have obtained, or have initiated the process of securing permits and/or necessary Animal Care and Use training documents.

Timeline: Include a very clear and detailed timeline of your proposed activities indicating which activities will be conducted independently by the student and which activities will include direct supervision of the mentor.

Significance: Provide a statement of how your research will contribute to the advancement of ornithology, including how your work will answer ornithological questions from the literature, and how it will stimulate new questions for future studies.

Pages 5-6: Budget, figures and tables, and literature cited. Provide an itemized budget for how the $1000 will be used. The funds should not be applied to mentor salaries or student stipends. Include a list of other sources and amounts of funding (applied for and/or received). Include a brief description of how the funds from the WOS will make the work possible, in relation to other sources of funding. Use tables and figures as needed to clarify the text, but try to minimize them to one additional page. List all references cited in the body of the proposal, using the citation format of the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

(2) Mentoring plan and career impact (file name: MENTOR LAST NAME_mentoring plan).

Limited to 3 pages. Page sizes should be 6 x 28 cm (8.5 x 11 in), with 2.5 cm (1 in) margins and 11 point, double-spaced typeface. Include page numbers and a header with the mentor and student last names (e.g., Smith and Jones mentoring plan).

Include a description of your rapport with the student, including how long you have been working with the student and in what capacity. Also discuss the student’s preparation for the project and relevancy to the student’s academic or career goals. Also include a statement of how the research project will develop the career of the student(s) and a brief statement of how the award will impact the career of the mentor.

Provide an explanation about the anticipated timeline for completion and presentation of the work, including anticipated time spent with the student and identification of the particular future WOS annual meeting at which the team expects the student to give a presentation based at least in part on the funded work.

(3) A one-page Curriculum Vitae (file name: MENTOR LAST NAME_CV).

Application materials to be prepared by the student(s) (3 files):

(1) Personal statement (file name: STUDENT LAST NAME_personal statement).

Limited to 2 pages. Page sizes should be 6 x 28 cm (8.5 x 11 in), with 2.5 cm (1 in) margins and 11 point, double-spaced typeface. Include page numbers and a header with the student and mentor last name (e.g., Jones and Smith personal statement).

Provide an essay explaining your interest in the proposed research and how research will enhance your graduate school and/or career plans. State your research interests, experiences, educational goals, career objectives and any information that may aid the selection committee. Be sure to include any interest you may have in specific aspects of the research project you are proposing and your role in developing the proposed project.

(2) Résumé (file name: STUDENT LAST NAME_resume). A one-page resume of education and work experiences. List courses you have taken that relate to your research interest or have helped prepare you to conduct the research, as well as any other relevant experiences or skills.

(3) Transcript (file name: STUDENT LAST NAME_transcript). An official or unofficial transcript that clearly indicates that the applicant student is actively working toward a degree and in good academic standing.

Expectations for Grant Recipients

(1) Final report. Complete the field or lab work, documenting expenditures related to use of the grant funds. Submit a 2-page summary of the work by 31 March of the year following receipt of the award. Summaries, or portions of them, may be used on the WOS website. Grantees must supply a photograph of the student(s) conducting research.

(2) Presentation at a future WOS meeting. A requirement of the grant is that the supported undergraduate(s) will present the results of the study at the Wilson Ornithological Society annual meeting in either of the two years following announcement of the grant award. For example, a student receiving an award at the end of their Junior year could complete the work by April of her or his Senior year, but then present the work in the next year (a full year after graduation) if the student and mentor were not ready or able to present the work at the WOS annual meeting of the student’s Senior year. The Mentor is required to attend the same meeting (as a registered participant) at which the student(s) will present the results.

The WOS will distribute the remainder of the funds (up to $2,000) once the undergraduate has prepared and submitted (in consultation with the Mentor) a final report to the award administrator (Kerri Cornell Duerr) and has submitted an abstract for presentation at a Wilson Ornithological Society meeting. The WOS will release funds supporting attendance at the meeting upon receipt of evidence of conference registration by both the Mentor and the student, and evidence of acceptance of the student’s abstract by the Scientific Program Committee. To receive funds for meeting attendance, recipients must submit a document to both the award administrator, Kerri Cornell Duerr, and the WOS treasurer, Meg Hatch, containing (1) the submitted title and abstract for presentation, (2) an itemized list of funds for transportation and lodging, and (3) receipts and/or reservation confirmation for transportation and lodging.

For projects involving a single student, the student will not be eligible to apply for regular Student Travel Grants; if multiple students are involved, grant funds could be used for one presenting student while another student working on the same project applied for a Student Travel Award if giving a second presentation.

Contact: Kerri Cornell Duerr, Burtt Mentoring Grant Chair,

Past recipients of Burtt Undergraduate Mentoring Grants