Compagna-Sennett Student Fellows in Religious Studies

Call for Jan 2023 Proposals

The Religious Studies Department invites proposals from Colby students, regardless of major and minor, for funding to conduct an original research project on a topic related to the study of religion. A wide range of individual and collaborative student research projects may qualify for funding under this program, including research related to honors theses, independent studies, or specific courses. The research supported by this fellowship will occur during January 2023 and will be presented at CLAS ‘23. All projects must have a Colby faculty sponsor, but that sponsor need not be affiliated with Religious Studies. 

Grants are available to continuing, full-time Colby students. Grants will range from $1,000– $2,500, with maximum funding allocated to those grants that are either collaborative or require international travel. Funds may be allocated to cover any legitimate research expenses including, but not limited to, purchase of research materials and travel, food, and lodging expenses associated with data gathering.

Funding for this fellowship has been provided by a generous endowment from Robert E. Compagna ’76 and Joan Sennett Compagna ’76. Students receiving research grants will be named as 2023 Compagna-Sennett Student Fellows and should include that designation on all work that results from this grant.

Students will fill out a general application (please visit the following DavisConnects funding page to prep all essay questions and application materials).

Qualified applicants will then be asked to answer or provide the following:

  1. Please prepare a PDF of your unofficial transcript to upload to the application.
  2. Please choose a faculty sponsor who will evaluate your proposal and ability to see it through. You will be asked to enter their name and Colby email address in the application. This will send them an email prompt to log in and fill out a brief form for committee review.
  3. Provide a brief abstract describing the project: (150 Words Max)
  4. What is the topic’s connection to the study of religion? (150 Words Max)
  5. Are you applying for funding from any source other than the Compagna-Sennett? If so, indicate the source and how much are you requesting.
  6. Research Design:
  • Describe the specific research question(s) to be examined: (150 Words Max)
  • Provide a brief literature review (consult with your faculty sponsor for examples relevant to your field) that indicates the significance of your research questions: (250 Words Max)
  • Describe the methodology, including a clear indication of how data will be gathered and how variables will be defined: (250 Words Max)
  • Please provide evidence that you have the skills necessary to gather the information in this way, usually indicated by significant coursework. Please cite relevant classes: (250 Words Max)
  • If the project involves research in a foreign country, indicate and identify local contacts with whom you will work and locations of source material: (150 Words Max)
  • What is your timeline for data-gathering and writing? (150 Words Max)

Please Note:

  • Please ask the faculty member who will be sponsoring your research to read your proposal and comment on and suggest changes; doing so increases the probability of success. When you fill out the application online you will enter your reference’s name and email address, prompting them to log in and complete the online form.
  • If your project involves human subjects, the proposal should be submitted to Colby’s Institutional Review Board simultaneously with your application. Your project must be approved by the IRB before we will disburse funds. Check well in advance of the deadline to ensure that all materials are in place (including the faculty sponsor’s letter of support).


Click here for a printable version of the proposal guidelines!

Past Compagna-Sennett Fellows Include:


Hannah Smith-Erb, “Patterns in Faith Journeys of Waterville United Church of Christ Members”

Gabby Foster “Bringing movement education to the Jewish Experience in Maine”

Jake Young: “Contemplative Neuroscience: research in India on the connectivity of brain regions during Vipassana meditation”

Noa Gutow-Ellis: “‘Not My Judaism’: Lessons from Brooklyn’s Ultra-Orthodox Community in Collective Empowerment Post-Holocaust.”

Dominic Giardini “Boston Brahmins and East-West Connections”

Lucy Soucek “Studying Interfaith in Fresno, California”

Esli Tovar “Mariology in Mexico”

Ben Lester “Pilgrims, artists, and merchants: the role of religion along the Camino de Santiago”

Jimmy O’Leary “Religious Pluralism in Asheville’s Buddhist Communities”

Lindsay Pecker, “Jewish pluralism in Mexico: A diverse conception of Mexican Jewish identity”

Spencer Traylor, “Practicing atheists: Socialization among London’s New Atheists”

Desiree Shayer and Jena Hershkowitz, “Living Islam in urban India”

Simran Jaisingh, “Tale of the two Devis Kali and Mumba: Food production and consumption at their two sites in Kolkata and Mumbai”