The Cox Research Scholars Program is a merit- and need-based scholarship program on the Indiana University Bloomington campus with a required research component. Starting as freshmen, students are placed with a faculty member who teaches them the skills and tools required to conduct serious, scholarly inquiry. Students begin by completing “tasks as assigned” to assist their research mentor. Gradually they build the proficiency and confidence to perform essential elements of a project as full contributing members of a research group.
All Cox Research Scholars are also part of the Hutton Honors College, and retiring Program Director Legene White has cultivated community with HHC for the Scholars. Below, Legene shares an update on the vibrant program as she reflects on her nearly ten years as Director:
It’s an odd time to reflect on my tenure with Cox Research—due to COVID-19 I haven’t worked from my office in HHC for over a year; Coxers haven’t had a dinner in the HHC Great Room or seen one another in person with rare exceptions; many research labs and activities were off-limits to undergraduates. To top it off, I’m retiring at the end of June after 38 years at IU.
Through this historic time, Cox Research Scholars have continued to demonstrate their intellectual prowess, remained committed to significant volunteer roles and extracurricular activities, have sought meaningful summer work and internships, are planning ahead for study abroad…. Simply put, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience.
Highlights of Cox Research:
- In the 2020-21 academic year, 63 Cox Research Scholars were under the guidance of faculty mentors from 21 departments representing all IUB Schools. My respect for IU’s professors has grown with each interaction. IU faculty are not only world-class researchers, they are teachers who truly care about supporting students as learners. Even the most senior, distinguished professors are willing to take on a young, inexperienced freshman, providing structure at the beginning and then freedom to pursue an individual project.
- Evening of 5-minute Research Talks: seniors and juniors present their research to their fellow Coxers in a short, audience-friendly format. This annual event is a crowd favorite as the Scholars are excited to learn from their peers, especially outside their own discipline. Often the Scholars present their research at professional conferences, always surprising the attendees who learn the student isn’t a graduate student! In addition, many will have written about their results—perhaps as a co-author in a published article.
- Post-graduate success: How does undergraduate research as a Cox Research Scholar and a degree from Indiana University prepare the student for a post-graduate career? So far, here are the plans of the graduating 2021 Cox Research seniors: All 4 applicants to medical school have been accepted; 1 admitted with funding to MIT for the PhD program in Political Science; 1 attending IU Law School; 1 starting a master’s degree in Creative Writing/Scriptwriting at University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; 1 beginning IU’s Transition to Teaching program for Science education; 3 starting jobs at--Amazon, Salesforce as a software engineer, Star Wars/Los Angeles in game design.
- Awards earned: Cox Research Scholars are always well-represented on IU’s lists of awards—Phi Beta Kappa, Goldwater Scholarships, Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Departmental Outstanding Honors Thesis and Outstanding Undergraduate Awards, Outstanding Senior Leadership Awards. Research Scholars have served on the IU President’s Board of Aeons and Deans’ Advisory Boards and as President of the IU Student Foundation. A 2021 graduate was a national finalist for a Fulbright Award (but ultimately was not selected, much to our disappointment).
I am often asked, “What is your goal for the Cox Research Scholars Program and its students?” After my tenure as Director I can confidently say, “To prepare these students to leave IU as good world citizens.”
Engaging in serious scholarly research for four full years is truly exceptional at any university across the country. These Scholars have had a front-row seat to the pursuit of knowledge. They have learned the process by which new knowledge is generated and then critiqued by peer review. They can go out into the world as critical thinkers who will be judicious consumers of national and world news, who will trust and carefully evaluate science, who are sensitive to issues of social justice, and can be thoughtful problem-solvers. I can’t imagine a better goal.
- Legene White, Director, Cox Research Scholars Program in the Hutton Honors College
To learn more about the Cox Research Scholarship, visit here.