The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Summer Opportunity Fellowship Award (SOFA)

Managed by the Undergraduate Research Committee

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 and/or team of researchers at a distant institution/lab by the application deadline. 

All majors are eligible and encouraged to apply. 

Examples of funded projects:

  • Mentored with New York City visual artist Miya Ando
  • Studied and classified a large variety of meteorites. 
  • Conducted ethnographic research in Michoacán
  • Tested experimental compounds looking for a cure for ALS.
  • Worked with a choreographer to create an AIDS survivor archive. 
  • Attendance at a field school
  • Conducted atmospheric chemistry research at Colorado State University.  
  • Mentored with Portland performance artist Anthony Hudson.

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 apply to Summer Opportunity Fellowship for consideration for SEA funding from the International Student Services office. 

Proposal Process

Application: By 12:00 p.m. noon on March 6, 2024 all applicants should upload their application online by applying in Handshake. Bundle items 1–3 (in that order) into one PDF document before uploading. Applicants must address all aspects of the application. Sample proposals can be found on the URC home page.

  1. cover page with the title of the project, the name and email address of the applicant, the name and email address and phone number of the mentor/employer (include organization name if applicable), and the name and email address of the faculty member who has agreed to provide an evaluative letter of support.

  2. A 1–2 page (maximum) resume describing your relevant work, volunteer, and course experience.
    • The URC asks for resumes 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 resume.
  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
    • Note: The URC would like to be able to use successful proposals as examples for future applicants to use. Student names will be redacted from proposals before use. If you are comfortable with this possibility, then please include this statement at the bottom of your project proposal: I give permission to have my proposal used as an example to help future fellowship applicants.
  4. Sponsor letter from the proposed mentor. This letter should state the level of mentorship the student can expect to receive  and should be emailed directly to Meg Andrews ( Distant sponsor letters must be received by the application deadline.

  5. Evaluative letter from a faculty sponsor at Reed. This letter should be emailed directly to Meg Andrews ( Please make sure you contact your letter writer with adequate advance of the deadline.

The Reed faculty sponsor must review the entire grant application and provide an evaluative letter of support, which can be emailed directly to Meg Andrews, 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: 
The fellowship stipend for summer 2024 is $6,400. 


Applications are due Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. noon. The applicant will upload their Summer Opportunity Fellowship Award application online in Handshake. After the Undergraduate Research Committee has made award decisions, applicants will be notified by email.

Apply in Handshake

IRB Approval

The Institutional Review Board must approve of any project involving the use of human subjects. An award will not be administered without this approval. If your project will require IRB approval, you MUST submit your application to the IRB before applying to this fellowship. 

Available Guidance

Review the best practices for applying to any URC grant. For questions about the application process, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Meg Andrews ( Members of the Undergraduate Research Committee offer office hours to answer proposal development questions. The CLBR advising team can also help you with your application and offers drop-in advising as well as 1:1 appointments. Please see the CLBR website for drop-in hours and for how to make an appointment. We encourage you to take advantage of this.


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.


Reed College prohibits College-funded international travel to countries that are classified with a State Department travel advisory risk of Level 4.