Anticipation builds for ORCA grant participants

Information being displayed about how to apply for the ORCA grant on campus. Hundreds of students apply each semester, submitting hundreds of research projects. (BYU Universe)

Each year BYU gives out hundreds of grants for student research done specifically for the Office of Research and Creative Activities, better known as the ORCA grant.

On Thursday, Oct. 29, the application deadline to submit a project closed. Now the ORCA department has the chance to review all the submitted projects and announce the winners.

The long wait begins as students must wait until February to hear whether or not their research will win them a $1500 grant.

893 students submitted applications for the ORCA grant this year according to statistics given by the Office of Research and Creative Activities. The number of students who have submitted a project has had a significant increase from last year.

In 2014, 646 students submitted projects and 292 received an ORCA grant worth up to $1500 according to ORCA.

Emily Snow, BYU graduate in art history and cultural studies, received an ORCA grant last year for the research she did in Iceland.

“I chose an art historical topic about which hardly has been written or published, and traveling in Iceland and gathering primary source material validated my project and will allow me to continue pursuing it, hopefully next at a graduate level,” Snow said.

Emily Snow explores the landscape of Iceland as she does her research. Thanks to the ORCA grant, she was able to visit Iceland. (Emily Snow)

Snow researched the connection between the art of William Morris, a textile designer in the Victorian Era in England, and the culture and landscapes of Iceland, where she traveled extensively.

“Receiving this grant to actually go to Iceland has proven to be absolutely vital in the continuing development of my research,” Snow said.

Hundreds of students will have the opportunity like Snow to use the grant money towards their research, which could include a trip somewhere like Iceland.

Sarah Webb is a mentoring secretary for the Office of Research and Creative Activities. She said applicants should be hopeful that they will receive the grant.

“We guarantee at least one-third of applicants receive an ORCA grant,” Webb said.

There would be an estimated 300 winners for this semester according to Webb.

Webb has worked for the ORCA department since July and said she has loved working with students on their ORCA grants.

“I love to see the projects students do to show their imagination and creativity,” Webb said. “I was a student here and didn’t take advantage of the ORCA Grant opportunities.”

Snow expressed her gratitude for the opportunities that ORCA provides.

“The ORCA experience made an enormous difference in the expansion of research for which I received the grant,” Snow said. “The ORCA grant, along with the help of the faculty mentoring process, allowed me to really bring to life and extend the creative potential of my project.”

Representatives from each of the colleges will review the projects submitted and evaluate which projects are interesting enough to deserve a grant to further the research in the next few months.

BYU has several opportunities around campus to exemplify what students are doing now to make a difference. Featured on the ORCA website is information on how to apply and featured ORCA grant winners and their projects.

It is anticipated that students will be notified in February on whether or not they received the ORCA Grant.

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