Undergraduate Research, Mentoring, & Awards

Undergraduate student researchers with RCA Graduate Student Researcher Alejandra Watanabe-Farro at the 2021 RCA Spring picnic. Photo by Sylvanna Falcón.

The RCA promotes undergraduate research at UC Santa Cruz via our Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) and Undergraduate Research and Professional Development Award. We also participate in our campus' Professional Career Development Program and help promote the Joel Frankel Memorial Award, which is administered by the Latin American and Latino Studies department. Information about the Frankel award is below.

Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program

Established in 2000, URAP seeks to inspire promising and driven undergraduates to pursue graduate and professional studies.  At the same time, it bolsters faculty and graduate student research.  Apprentices gain hands-on research experience by working closely with the sponsoring faculty and RCA Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) on a project related to Chicano, Latino, Latin American, migration and/or human rights studies, while the sponsoring faculty and GSR receive research support. In addition to earning 2 units and learning about the research process, apprentices receive professional guidance and build skills necessary for academic and professional success.  Prospective apprentices must be in good academic standing and apply or be invited to take part in URAP. If accepted, they must enroll in LALS 199F for 2 units and on a P/NP basis. 
UC Santa Cruz faculty working in the areas of Chicano, Latino, Latin American, migration and/or human rights studies who are interested in mentoring apprentices and having apprentices assist with research via URAP should contact the RCA at rca@ucsc.edu, preferably at least two quarters in advance.  

Undergraduate Research and Professional Development Award

The RCA director maintains a modest fund that supports exceptional full-time UC Santa Cruz undergraduates actively working in Chicano, Latino, Latin American, migration and/or human rights studies. Recipients may use the award for research projects, travel for research, or to present work at a professional meeting. To apply, students must demonstrate that Chicano, Latino, Latin American, migration and/or human rights studies is a primary field of their research and they must be in good academic standing. This award is open to students in all divisions at UCSC. In addition to submitting a one-page application letter and itemized budget to the RCA director (rca@ucsc.edu), applicants must be recommended by a faculty member affiliated with the RCA. Awardees must submit a one-page report to the RCA no more than four weeks after spending the funds and are expected to acknowledge the RCA's support in any publications related to the sponsored research. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and pending funding.

Joel Frankel Memorial Award (administered by the Latin American and Latino Studies Department). Please email the LALS undergraduate advisor for more information at lalsadvising@ucsc.edu.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received during the academic year with decisions made within 4-6 weeks of submission.

The Joel Frankel Memorial Awards grants to support undergraduate field study projects in Latin America or in Spanish speaking communities within the United States. While any UCSC undergraduate may apply, priority is given to Merrill College students, Latin American & Latino Studies majors and Politics majors focusing on Latin American and Latina/o issues, whose proposals reflect the founding spirit and vision that established the fund.

To learn more, go to the Joel Frankel Scholarship website.
UC Santa Cruz undergraduates interested in additional research and professional development opportunities should consult Undergraduate Research Opportunities, the Undergraduate Honors Program, the Career Center, and the Professional Career and Development Program.
Tip Sheet for Endorsement Letter Writers

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