The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Summer Opportunity Fellowship Award (SOFA)

Proposal Overview

The Summer Opportunity Fellowship Award (SOFA) provides funding for a student to pursue academic work with a mentor at another institution/organization for up to 10 weeks over the summer. The purpose of this program is to expose Reed students to new environments and opportunities not available on campus. This program is intended as a learning experience for the student and mentorship should be at the forefront of the project. Students must provide documentation of being accepted to work with a mentor at a distant institution/lab by the application deadline. 

Project examples:

  • 2019 awardee mentored with New York City artist Miya Ando
  • 2019 awardee studied and classified a large variety of meteorites. 
  • 2018 awardee conducted ethnographic research in Michoacán
  • 2017 awardee tested experimental compounds looking for a cure for ALS.
  • 2017 awardee worked with a choreographer to create an AIDs survivor archive. 
  • 2016 awardee conducted atmospheric chemistry research at the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University.  

All majors are eligible and encouraged to apply. 

International students should note that the Summer Experience Award (SEA) funding has been folded into the Summer Opportunity Fellowship so it is no longer necessary to apply separately to the two programs. There are two dedicated fellowships for international students within the Summer Opportunity Fellowship. International students should now apply to Summer Opportunity Fellowship for consideration for SEA funding from the International Student Services office. 

Looking for funding to present your research at a conference: apply to the Opportunity grant.

Proposal Process

Application: By 12:00 p.m. on March 31, 2021 (Please note: This is a new due date. The orginial due date was March 3) all applicants should upload their application online using this link. Bundle items 1-4 (in that order) into one document before uploading.

  1. cover page with the title of the project, the name and email address of the applicant, the name and email address of the mentor/employer, and the name and email address of the faculty member who has agreed to provide an evaluative letter of support.
  2. resume describing your relevant work, volunteer, and course experience. 
    • Please include a 1-2 page (maximum) résumé. The CLBR has free drop in advising to help students craft résumés, and we encourage you to take advantage of this. The URC asks for résumés to help learn more about each applicant, and to encourage students to develop their application materials. The URC does not make evaluative decisions based on the content of the résumé.
  3. Narrative description of the project proposal, single-spaced, two-page maximum, and includes:
    • Steps taken to find and secure the opportunity
    • Specifics of the project
    • Anticipated benefits of this project to you
  4. Covid-19 protocol, if your project involves travel. See Travel Restrictions below.
  5. Sponsor letter from the proposed mentor. This letter should state the level of mentorship the student can expect to receive  and can be emailed directly to Jolie Griffin at Distant sponsor letters must be received by the application deadline. 
  6. Evaluative letter from a faculty sponsor at Reed. This letter can be emailed directly to Jolie Griffin at

The Reed faculty sponsor must review the entire grant application and provide an evaluative letter of support, which can be emailed directly to Jolie Griffin, URC Administrator, at Only proposals from students in good academic standing at the College will be considered. Preference will be given to students returning to Reed the following fall, however, applications involving graduating seniors may also be considered.

Fellowship award amount: up to $5,600
A $5,600 stipend is normally awarded for 10 weeks of full time work. Award stipends will be prorated if the proposed project is under 10 weeks. 

After the Undergraduate Research Committee has made award decisions, applicants will be notified by email. For more information on eligibility or any questions about the application process, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Jolie Griffin ( 


Applications are due Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 12:00 p.m(Please note: This is a new due date. The orginial due date was March 3) The applicant will upload their Summer Opportunity Fellowship Award application online. Link to the grant portal on IRIS.


The Undergraduate Research Committee seeks to offer students opportunities to support their studies and interests in the form of grants and awards. The URC views the opportunity to apply for grants and awards as a pedagogical one in which students have the chance to learn about how the application process works. The URC grants and awards are open to all students regardless of discipline. The URC is aware of systemic bias in the application process, and seeks in particular to support students from historically underrepresented communities in academia, and we take into consideration bias, oppression, and opportunity as we evaluate applications.  

We encourage students to reach out the CLBR for help with putting together application materials. The CLBR offers drop in appointments, advising, and other resources.

Travel Restrictions

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a global level-3 warning to avoid nonessential travel and continues to discourage domestic travel. Additionally, the United States has placed entry restrictions on individuals arriving from select countries. Governments worldwide have issued similar warnings and entry restrictions, which can change without advance notice. You are responsible for reviewing the current international and domestic travel restrictions before considering travel.

If your project involves travel, you must submit a Covid-19 protocol on how you will conduct your project safely. Funding cannot be released until your Covid-19 plan has been approved by the Dean of Faculty.