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, uploading all required materials as PDF documents.
  3. Submit the entire application package by April 16.
  4. Add to your contacts list to ensure that you receive communications regarding your application.

Application Components

The required application package includes the following components:

  1. Mentored Teaching and Research Plan (see Sample Goals and Activities)
    • Minimum of two teaching goals
    • Minimum of two research goals
    • At least one activity for each goal
  1. 500-Word Narrative
    Respond to this question:
    "How will the SPARC award help you explore or pursue a career as a faculty-researcher in the discipline of communication sciences and disorders (CSD)?"
  1. Recommendation Letter
    Submit a letter of recommendation from your primary SPARC mentor, who is a member of the CSD teaching and research faculty at the institution you will be attending during the program period.
  1. Mentor Commitment Statement
    Submit the commitment statement [PDF], signed by your primary mentor.
  1. Budget proposal for the 15-month funding period
    Submit a proposed budget demonstrating how you will use the $1,000 award to achieve your identified teaching and research goals (see examples of appropriate budget expenses in the frequently asked questions). The 15-month time frame includes the academic year (September–May), plus time for achievement of goals by the end of the year. Final reports are due no later than December 31. This enables paper submission and/or attendance at the ASHA Annual Convention in November, or completion of other delineated goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many mentors can I have?

You must have at least one mentor, but you may have up to three. Your mentoring team should be composed of a primary mentor and up to two additional mentors. The primary mentor must be a member of the CSD teaching and research faculty at the university that you will be attending during the 15-month SPARC program period.

How much is awarded?

The award amount is $1,000 and should be used to pursue teaching and research activities that are associated with your teach and research goals.

What types of expenses can I include in my budget proposal?

Examples of appropriate expenses include the following:

  • Purchase of necessary supplies for the applicant's teaching and research plan (e.g., books and software)
  • Payments to research participants
  • Registration and/or travel fees to attend the ASHA Convention and/or other relevant conventions, meetings, or conferences
  • Registration and/or travel fees associated with visiting an off-campus site that provides research and/or learning opportunities (e.g., research lab and research seminar)

I am in my second year of a 3-year program, having spent my first year taking prerequisite/leveling classes. Am I eligible to apply for SPARC?

Yes, students admitted to, or enrolled in, master's degree programs in speech-language pathology are eligible to apply as long as they are not on track to graduate at any point in enrollment in the program.

How are winners determined?

SPARC applications are reviewed and rated by CSD faculty-researchers who volunteer with ASHA's Academic Affairs and Research Education (AARE) team. Three reviewers evaluate each application and assess the components of the application package. Applications are rated on many variables such as:

  • Feasibility of the plan in light of one's goals and activities
  • Applicant's potential for completing identified goals and activities
  • Applicant's potential for pursuing a faculty-researcher career
  • Content and mechanics of the 500-word narrative
  • Details and justification of the proposed budget

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

Award recipients will be notified by August.

Is the award taxable?

Yes, this award is considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You will be sent 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 mechanisms for reporting progress on achieving the identified goals. Also, the reports allow for notification of any significant changes to the budget or teaching and research plan (activities or goals). Awardees are also required to keep their contact information current with ASHA.

For additional questions, contact ASHA's AARE team at

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