The Ernest and Pauline Jaworski Fund for Summer Research Experiences for Underserved Undergraduates in Plant Science

Ernest and Pauline Jaworski have established the Ernest and Pauline Jaworski Fund for Summer Research Experiences for Underserved Undergraduates in Plant Science through the Oregon State University Foundation.  The fund is established in recognition of their strong interest in plant biology and their interest in providing opportunities to encourage students to pursue careers in the plant sciences.  Ernie and Pauline have worked with plant biology and science outreach programs for precollege students.  They have a special interest in providing opportunities to help and sustain education, and changing learning environments so that more students have opportunities to learn.  

"Ernie" received his MS and Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1950 and 1952 respectively and Pauline earned her BS in Botany in 1950, at Oregon State University.  Ernie had a distinguished career at Monsanto for 40 years and held the title of Director of Biological Sciences when he retired in 1991.  In the 1980's, Ernie led a team of scientists at Monsanto that engineered the first "transgenic" plant - a petunia containing a bacterial gene.  This work helped launch the age of agricultural biotechnology. In recognition of his pioneering work, Ernie and three other Monsanto scientists won the 1998 National Medal of Technology for their efforts in developing and commercializing genetically engineered crops. 

The Ernest and Pauline Jaworski Fund for Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Plant Science will bring talented and promising students to OSU for ten weeks starting anytime after June 25th, 2018 and ending by September 14th, 2018.  Students will be awarded a stipend to assist with living expenses. Assistance with finding suitable accommodation will be provided for non-OSU students. The program will be directed so that students participate in an ongoing research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor and other activities that will help to prepare them for graduate school. Applicants should contact prospective faculty mentors prior to applying for this program.

The goal of this program is to increase the level of diversity among students who enter Ph.D. programs to pursue careers in university teaching and research by providing research opportunities to undergraduates that have been underserved.  Program objectives include: to provide students with the preparation to become research scholars; to stimulate serious consideration of graduate study; and to increase the number of successful underserved applicants and subsequent enrollment of these students in graduate school.

This program affords students an opportunity to conduct selected research under the direction and guidance of an OSU faculty member. Special consideration will be given to applicants that have shown potential for success, but may have had limited access to graduate research or other preparatory opportunities.  The program strongly encourages applications from: Alaskan Natives, American Indians, African Americans, Mexican Americans (Chicanos), Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and Filipino Americans.  All applicants will be considered without regard to race or gender.


  • Summer research internships will be offered on a competitive basis to those individuals who at the application deadline:
  • Are citizens or permanent residents of the United States;
  • Are enrolled full time at a college or university;
  • Are sophomores, juniors, and seniors who will not be graduating in the spring;
  • Have a 3.0 or better cumulative grade point average; and
  • Have shown potential for success but may have had limited access to graduate research or other preparatory opportunities; the applicant should indicate his/her potential for success particularly  as it relates to educational achievement while overcoming obstacles, which may include, but are not limited to economic, social, or educational challenges.
  • Students at any college or university may apply for this award. 

Program Expectations

Research projects are under individual faculty sponsorship.  Students are encouraged to express interest in a specific area of research.  Applicants are invited to browse the research areas of faculty in the Departments of Botany and Plant Pathology , HorticultureCrop and Soil Science, and the Molecular and Cellular Biology program in order to identify mentors or research areas of particular interest.

All research is substantive, requiring the full-time commitment of the student (five days/40 hours per week).  In conjunction with the requirements of the faculty mentors, all participants are required to submit a research paper and make a final presentation.  Students must also participate in supplemental activities (weekly workshops, meetings, and GRE preparation) as available to enhance their program experience and preparation for graduate school.


All applications should include:

1. A completed application form. You will need to download the form for it to be fully interactive and fillable. (You will need Adobe Acrobat - it's free). You can submit the form by email  or mail.

2. Two letters of recommendation from persons qualified to describe the student's character, ability and promise. They should address academic performance, intellectual potential, creativity and originality, motivation and maturity for graduate study.  Comment should also be included of any challenges overcome in the applicant's educational achievements. Letters must be signed and mailed.

3. Photocopies of undergraduate transcripts, these can be sent electronically.

Application Deadline

The completed application and letters of reference must be received by the deadline of March 22nd, 2019 and addressed to:

Dr. Joseph Spatafora
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Oregon State University,
2082 Cordley Hall,
Corvallis, OR 97331-2902

High quality and deserving students will be selected on the basis of GPA, letters of recommendation, and the student's statement of motivation.  A faculty committee appointed by the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology will review applications.  


Please contact us if you have questions.