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Valente Center

Undergraduate Researcher Program

Each academic year, the Valente Center for Arts and Science solicits applications for paid undergraduate research positions for students to pursue an independent arts and sciences-focused research project. Research projects include periodic milestones to track progress and culminate in a manuscript and an oral presentation at the spring Undergraduate Research Showcase. Researchers must also attend enrichment events such as the 'Undergraduate Research Methods' in the beginning of the academic year, hosted in conjunction with the Honors Program. Hours are flexible and typically average around five hours per week (up to 120 hours over the academic year). This comes with a $1000 award per semester, in total $2000 for the academic year.

Undergraduate researchers will have a faculty mentor to provide guidance over the course of the year as the student independently undertakes their project. Prior to submitting an application, candidates may seek out a faculty mentor. If a student wants to participate and cannot find a mentor, they can reach out the Valente Center one week before the application is due to have a mentor suggested to them.

Center for Health and Business (CHB)-Sponsored Undergraduate Researcher

Bentley’s Center for Health and Business (CHB) sponsors a Valente UG Researcher whose research proposal will be related to health. We define health very broadly and would consider topics including, but not limited to, health-care systems and administration, health-related technology and innovation, patient experience, and health-care information and how biological, psychological and social factors impact health. For a list of potential faculty mentors and their health-related research areas, please see the CHB website. If you would like to be considered for the CHB fellowship, please indicate so in your application.

Watch highlights of our Undergraduate Researcher Program

2024-2025 Opportunities

Call for Valente Center UG Researcher Program 

Deadline - September 27, 2024

The Valente Center for Arts & Science is accepting applications for paid undergraduate research positions for students to pursue an independent arts & sciences-focused or interdisciplinary research project for the 2024-25 academic year. This research program is designed to pursue intellectual curiosity and develop creativity within the undergraduate research community at Bentley University. 

Provide us with your original thinking on challenges that we face in society, and we will provide you with a platform in which to offer solutions. The findings of your research will culminate in a research paper and presentation at Bentley's Undergraduate Research Conference in April 2025. A select group of researchers maybe be chosen to be highlighted in press articles by Bentley's communications team to the community. 

Hours are flexible and should average five hours per week (up to 120 hours over the academic year). This position is paid through a per semester stipend of $1000, in total $2000 for the academic year.

Application Process:

Applications may be submitted until September 27, 2024. There are a limited number of positions, so potential applicants are encouraged to work on the proposal and apply as early as possible. Selection and notification will take place by October 1, 2024, and researchers can begin to work on the project soon after the formal hiring process is complete on Workday. Applications are open to all class codes. 

Note: Research projects cannot be used simultaneously for any course or program-related credit, including the Honors capstone project, a directed study, or an LSM culminating experience. 

Submit the following documents in a single e-mail by September 27, 2023, to Valente Center Undergraduate Student Research Manager Anton Spiridonov (

-    Resumé or CV;
-    Research proposal (see description below);
-    Letter of support from a full-time Bentley faculty member willing to serve as mentor -- if identified (see description below).

Health TLN-Sponsored Undergraduate Researcher Position
Bentley University's Health Thought Leadership Network is sponsoring a few Valente UG Researcher whose research proposal will be related to health. We define health very broadly and would consider topics including, but not limited to, healthcare systems and administration, health-related technology and innovation, patient experience and healthcare information and how biological, psychological and social factors impact health. For a list of potential faculty mentors and their health-related research areas, please see the Health TLN website. If you would like to be considered for the Health TLN fellowship, please indicate so in your application.
Faculty Mentor Role Description - for Applicants 

Undergraduate Researchers are required to have a full-time faculty member as a mentor. The faculty member mentors provide guidance throughout the year as the student independently undertakes their project. Prior to submitting an application, candidates may seek out a faculty mentor, but if a student has not found a faculty mentor, the Valente Center will help to identify a faculty mentor for the project. The purpose of a faculty mentor is to provide guidance over the course of the year as the student independently undertakes her/his project. The faculty mentor will not assign projects for the researcher or keep track of progress. Rather, a mentor should act as an experienced resource for the researcher in the process of conducting original research, defining project scope, and finding novel areas to explore. The mentor should ideally conduct their own academic research in a field closely related to the fellow's topic of interest to be able to meet these objectives. Although faculty mentors may suggest avenues of research in consultation with the applicant, they should not simply assign research tasks in an applicant's project. Although the researcher should average five hours of work per week, the faculty mentor's time commitment should seldom be more than one hour per week. Researchers should arrange meetings with mentors on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to discuss the project and receive feedback. It is expected researchers will complete work on their own; faculty mentors have only an advisory role. A Valente Undergraduate Research Project is student driven. A Valente Undergraduate Research Project is student driven
Research Proposal Description 

The goal of a research proposal is to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which this research should be conducted. There exists no standardized format for a research proposal, but most follow an essay format. Regardless of the format that you chose, be sure to address these three questions in your research proposal: 

1.    What do you plan to accomplish? 

Be clear and succinct in defining the research problem and what it is you are proposing to research. 

2.    Why do you want to do it? 

Provide convincing evidence that it is a topic worthy of study. Be sure to answer the "So What?" question. If possible, conduct a review of the relevant literature. 

3.    How are you going to do it? 

Outline generally the methodology you hope to employ with your research project and create a mock timeline for your project and deliverable. Be sure that what you propose is doable. 

The Valente Center understands that during the project a researcher's topic may change and other avenues may be explored. This is allowed, but prior to undertaking a project do your best to outline the scope of your project and what you hope to achieve. 

Before the Proposal 

These are tips for applicants before drafting a research proposal for submission. 

Identifying a Research Topic 

All projects must be related to the arts and sciences or the fusion of arts and sciences with business. It is important to remember that the arts and sciences, as well as their intersection with business, encompass a wide range of subjects. For example, a topic related to political science is within the realms of an arts and sciences related topic. If the applicant is unsure of whether their project falls within this space, contacting the Valente Center Director is advised. Beyond the topic, there are no set requirements as to the type of research project an applicant can undertake. Although research projects must be academically rigorous, applicants have considerable liberty to design specific projects. 

Meeting with a Potential Faculty Mentor 

Before beginning a research proposal, it is advised that candidates first speak with a potential faculty mentor to discuss their proposed project. A discussion with a faculty member about the research question in mind and the proposed research methodologies will be especially useful. This will allow the candidate to receive feedback on their ideas and also begin developing a relationship with a potential mentor. Since applications are accepted on a rolling basis until September, we encourage you to contact potential faculty mentors through email during the summer. This time is the best for both faculty members to be in contact with you, and for you to get all the materials ready for the application. 

Meetings with Valente Center Student Research Manager: As a requirement of the program, the researchers meet with the Valente Center Student Research Manager for periodic updates. These meetings are an opportunity to ensure that project milestones are met and discuss any challenges that researchers may have encountered. 

Information for Potential Faculty Mentors 

The Valente Undergraduate Researcher Program aims to provide motivated and competent students with an opportunity to conduct research with support from the Valente Center and faculty mentors. However, unlike paid Student Research Assistants, which directly support faculty research, these projects are student driven. 

As a result, the Valente Center will provide logistical, record keeping, and training support for UG research fellows. Faculty mentors are NOT expected to check-in with students or monitor hours. As projects are student-driven, the Student Research Manager in the Valente Center will coordinate check-ins and monitor progress with students. With respect to basic research skills, UG researchers will be expected to take part in an undergraduate "Research Methods Workshop" which will be jointly coordinated by the Honors Program and the Valente Center near the beginning of the academic year. 
All full-time faculty members (A&S or Business) are eligible to serve as mentors. 

Faculty as mentors are expected to: 

1.    Provide a letter of support for student's application; 
2.    If the student is selected for the UG Researcher Program, support the student with subject matter expertise, research advice, help with IRB requirements if necessary, and general advocacy for the student's work; and 
3.    Meet with student for mentoring and discussion as needed, averaging no more than one (1) hour or so per week. 

Faculty mentors will receive a $1000 stipend from the Valente Center in April 2023. 


Please contact:

Anton Spiridonov, Valente Center Student Research Manager or

Johannes (Hans) Eijmberts, Director of the Valente Center for Arts & Sciences


Sample Research Summaries and Topics

2021 - 2022 Summary of Projects

Marisa Boni
Pharmaceutical Application of Jellyfish Venom This research project investigates the biological components of C. xamachanaven-om, commonly understood as the painful sting of a jellyfish, which offer an under-studied and innovative avenue for novel drug discovery. 

Miruna Constantin
Uncovering the Admission Process: An Algorithm for International Students

Choosing the perfect university is a difficult decision for any high-school student, but especially international students that lack the resources to be accepted by American colleges or universities. 

Sarah Al-Masri
Assessing Business Cycles through Female Employment The COVID-19 pandemic caused one of the deepest recessions in American history.  The economy and the labor market experienced wide spread damage, but the effects were uneven. There were distinct differences between how the pandemic affected people of different genders, races, occupations, and education levels. The disproportionate impact on women is particularly prominent. 

Rachel Zumberg
Exploring the Relationship Between Microplastics and Pharmaceutical in a Groundwater Medium and Their Potential Implications on Human Health

2019 - 2020 Summary of Projects

James Lunetta:

Sociology-Poverty and Homelessness Studies My project aims to perform an expansive literature review on the economic and social implications of the changing labor market to define nuances in the cost of unemployment, examining 90 years’ worth of policy and research. Additionally, the project hopes to integrate qualitative and quantitative data from a range of sources to define key changes in the labor market, and how such changes have affected minority groups. Finally, on a global scale, my research will examine various health indicators, and how society’s current attitudes towards work and jobs is affecting physical health outcomes.

Xiao Tan:

China’s fast economic growth might be a counterargument of the modernization theory, which states that a country with high growth rate will ultimately become democratic. However, the recent protests in Hong Kong is a test for mainland China’s economic and political structure.   

Gianni Polhemus:

The impact of brand values on young adult’s self-image and e-cigarette use Over the past 10 years the percentage of college-aged adults using nicotine vaping devices has greatly outpaced those using tobacco products. Studies have examined some social and psychological reasons for vape use among young adults. However, the effect of product’s brand on users self-identity has not been studied in this high risk age demographic. Therefore, we are looking to identify what brand values lead to increased use intention.

Sameera Shah:

How to Ensure Agriculture Sustainability I am researching the topic of agricultural sustainability in developing countries. With the world’s population on the rise, it is important that smallholder farmers in developing countries have sustainable agriculture practices in place to meet the world’s food consumption needs. Through this research, I hope to analyze the contributions of foreign direct investment to these countries and what this entails for the future of their farmers and agriculture sectors.

Juliette Smieszek:

Inventory Destruction v. Sustainability: A Case Study of the Fashion Industry

This project is ultimately intended to be a multidisciplinary approach (utilizing statistics, ethics, and sustainability practices) to the modern-day business dilemma of overstock (unsold) inventory and its disposal that means to illustrate and analyze the situation’s magnitude and, on a more theoretical level, propose possible solutions to it. The final product will be a collection of targeted data presented in multiple ways to illustrate industry trends (fast fashion vs high fashion, wholesale vs retail, etc.) and an analysis of corporate social responsibility.


2018 - 2019 Research Topics

Costs of elder care insurance

Influence of Chinese investment on African economies and societies

Social responsibility & Stock Prices

Muscle memory of sustainability

Ecological integrity of sandy beaches

Populism -case study, The Netherlands

Plastic waste in water

Midlife Anxiety in Chinese Males

Impact of Sugar on Health

Performance of Chinese Banks

Contemporary film and culture in Georgia


2017 -2018

Finding non-healthcare based solutions to America's health-care problem

The effects of technology (social media) on hypersexualization and objectification of adolescent females

What is the optimal recovering cancer experience in regards to the physiological psychological and social aspect?

Industrial and legal challenges facing the fashion industry

Opposing conclusion of academic papers

Disparities in access to Quality Dental Care

Scrutinizing Communication Monetary Policy in Developing Countries

Occupational Stereotypes and their Effect on Personal Identity Development and Career Advancement


2016 - 2017

National Security Policy

Neural Physiology on Investor Behavior

Media Impact of Islamic Revolution 

Luxury Market in Sharing Economy

Community Actualization

Sustainable Investing Metrics 

Nationalism in European Integration

Contact: Anton Spiridonov, Undergraduate Research Program Manager for more information