Undergraduate Research


Hands-on undergraduate research provides Hollins students the opportunity to delve deeply into an area of interest or focus while guided and advised by their professors. This experience helps sharpen investigative skills, is exceptional preparation for graduate-level studies and work in the professional world, and helps build transferrable skills as a student explores possible career paths. Hollins’ approach includes three components to this program – Summer Research Fellows, collaborative research via Virginia Tech, and biomedical research opportunities – that extend beyond the typical experiences available through their regular undergraduate coursework.

Summer Research fellows

The Summer Research Fellows program offers a concentrated opportunity for a select number of students to work collaboratively with faculty over the summer. The program provides a stipend and summer housing to accepted students who participate in a cohort model during the summer. Students in the program emerge with an “action plan” that often includes a report and presentation covering their learning experience.

Research fellows come from across all academic divisions of the university with concentrations ranging from digital art archiving and documentary film projects to biological research and studies on memory.

Collaborative research

Working with Bill Hopkins and the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech, select students can work directly with professors in an “R1” (doctoral level, research first) institution. This program offers an exceptional opportunity to experience the value and benefits of a small liberal arts college while still getting an experience within a much larger R1 institution and is often a powerful testing ground for graduate school possibilities.

The work Hollins students engage with in this program is most frequently in science-related fields, but not exclusively so. Accepted students are supported through funding from Hollins to live and work in Blacksburg for up to 12 weeks.

Biomedical research

Accepted Hollins students participate in summer research fellowships with Virginia Tech’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. This highly-competitive program focuses almost exclusively in areas of neuroscience and biomedical research. Participation is limited to domestic students, as funding is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

In addition:

SPARC ConferenceHollins Student Performance and Academic Research Conference (SPARC)

This is an opportunity for all Hollins undergraduate students to present academic research or creative work to the larger campus community that has been completed under the guidance of a faculty or staff member. In 2023, over 30 Hollins students presented papers and posters on a rich variety of topics. 

Library Undergraduate Research Awards

The library celebrates undergraduate research completed within Hollins courses each spring. Winners earn $300 — and everyone gets a chance to stand out on her resume or graduate school application.

Hollins Science Seminar

For over 60 years, our students have presented their independent research here. The seminar is open to biology, chemistry, environmental studies, mathematics, physics, and psychology students. Thirty-seven projects were highlighted at the 2022-23 session, collectively representing the work of 44 remarkable students.

Highlights from the 65th Annual Science Seminar

Member of the Council on Undergraduate Research