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First Presbyterian International Hunger Student-Aid Program

As part of its mission to help alleviate hunger in developing countries the First Presbyterian Church in Ithaca provides funds to selected international graduate students whose projects deal with hunger-related topics in their countries. Topics can range from environment and natural resources issues to nutrition to water quality. Selected proposals will receive a modest grant that can be used for expenses related to the research project.

Started in 1987, the First Presbyterian International Hunger Student-Aid Program has granted research awards to more than 80 Cornell graduate students.

Purpose and Operation of the Program

The primary purpose of the program is to provide supplemental research funding for international graduate students whose work shows significant promise in the food and hunger areas. The funds are to be used in some phase of field research in the student's home country, i.e., for additional technical assistance, equipment, international travel, or other needed resources to implement the thesis research. A second purpose is to involve and educate church members on a country's hunger issues. Grants awarded range from $500 to $2,000.

The steering committee of the Church reviews the applications and conducts interviews and selects those to receive grants. This committee works closely with the Senior Associate Director of International Programs at Cornell. The IP-CALS office will serve as the center for identification of students who might be eligible for this financial aid.

Criteria for Student Eligibility

  • Committed to returning to his/her country to work on food and hunger problems.
  • Enrolled in a field of study at Cornell that is likely to contribute to hunger alleviation (i.e. agricultural production, nutrition, education, communications, food policies, environment and natural resources, water hydraulics).
  • Preferably in the second or third year of graduate study.
  • Has plans for doing thesis research in the home country and in cooperation with others working on hunger problems in the area.
  • Present a project plan that shows how the funds will be used.
  • Be willing to share plans and experiences with Ithaca church supporters and to assist in stimulating interest in hunger and malnutrition problems.

The student's major professor must provide a letter indicating his/her evaluation of the student and the research proposal.

Funds will be available beginning with the 2014 summer period. Applications must be typed. The student's major professor must provide a letter indicating his/her evaluation of the student and the research proposal.

Report of Research Program

Upon completion of the project, the church committee will expect to receive a one or two page summary describing the student's field research experiences and an appraisal of the likely impact of his/her results on food and hunger problems. In addition, a presentation to the church members is required.