Students Preparing for Academic-Research Careers (SPARC) Award: Application Instructions and Frequently Asked Questions

Application Instructions

  1. Access the online application system.
  2. Complete the online application, upload all of the following materials as PDF documents, and submit the entire application package by April 15.
  3. Add [email protected] to your address book to ensure you receive communications regarding your application.
  • Career Mentoring Plan should include measurable learner outcomes for both a Teaching and a Research Plan. If selected for an award you will be required to submit interim and final reports on your progress towards achieving these learner outcomes.
    • Examples of teaching plan activities:
      • meet with a member of your mentoring team to identify teaching objectives and learner outcomes for a CSD course
      • assist with preparation of course materials
      • give guest lecture under direction of faculty mentor
      • participate in activities or courses that develop teaching skills
    • Examples of research plan activities:
      • visit research facilities at your institution or other institution
      • assist with or conduct a research project
      • prepare a manuscript
      • contribute to a presentation or poster at a conference
      • prepare a grant application
  • SPARC Essay
    500-word response to the question, "What are your goals for teaching and research in higher education, and how would this award help you achieve these goals?"
  • Letter of recommendation
    A letter from your primary mentor, who must be a member of the CSD teaching and research faculty at the institution you will be attending during the award year.
  • Commitment statement [PDF]
    Your primary mentor must complete and sign the commitment form
  • Budget proposal for the 15-month funding period with justification for all expenditures
    Examples of appropriate uses of funds include:
    • purchase of necessary supplies for the teaching and research plans (e.g., books, software)
    • paying research participants
    • attending the ASHA Convention and/or other relevant conventions, meetings, or conferences
    • traveling to visit an off-campus site that provides learning opportunities in a research lab and/or a college classroom setting
    • registering for special workshops at conference or elsewhere, to support the mentoring plan outlined in the application

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much is awarded?

Approximately 10 students will be awarded up to $1,000 for teaching and research activities.

I am in my second year of a three year program, having spent my first year taking prerequisite/leveling classes. Am I eligible to apply for SPARC?

Yes, students who will complete their master's degree after their third year of study are eligible to apply for SPARC in their first or second year of the program. Students must be fully admitted to the entry level graduate degree program in CSD to be eligible.

Who determines the SPARC award winners?

SPARC applications are reviewed and rated by CSD faculty who volunteer to review. Each application is evaluated by three reviewers who assess the teaching and research plan. Applications are rated on many variables—like feasibility of plan, organization, and learning objectives, as well as clarity of expression and writing style. SPARC award reviewers also consider the details and justification of the proposed budget and judge how your proposed plan fulfills the award program goal: to promote academic-research careers.

If I have been selected, when will I be notified?

Award recipients will be notified by early August.

If I receive the award, is it taxable?

  • Yes, this award is considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • You will be given a W-9 to complete before the award is disbursed.
  • Your award amount will be reported to the IRS on Form 1099, and a copy of the form will be sent to you.

ASHA does not provide tax advice. For information about tax information and forms, go to the IRS website.

Are there any post-award requirements?

Yes, interim and final reports are required. The interim and final reports serve as a mechanism for reporting progress on achieving the identified learner outcomes as well as notification for any significant changes to the budget or teaching and research plans.

Awardees are also required to keep their contact information current with ASHA.

What if I still have questions?

Contact ASHA's Academic Affairs and Research Education team at [email protected].

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