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2024 Tibor T. Polgar Undergraduate Fellowship

Required Components of the Applications for a Polgar Fellowship:

  • The HRF cover page PDF; (please use Adobe Reader or Acrobat)
  • The applicants letter of interest in the program that includes:
    • How the experience will enhance and be influenced by your many talents, life and educational experiences, and personal circumstances;
    • How the fellowship will help support your future interests;
  • A short description (4-6 pages) of the research project. Projects may focus on questions in the natural or social sciences, as well as public policy, but must focus on the Hudson River and its watershed. The project description should include:
    • A brief statement of the significance of the research;
    • The question and/or the hypothesis you will be addressing;
    • A description of the research that will be conducted in the field or laboratory;
    • A timetable for completion of the research (maximum of one summer season);
    • A budget (up to $1,500), please specify:
      • Supplies: each item and price, vendor, and purchase time (keep in mind shipping delays);
      • Travel: how will you travel to your field location, how long will the trip take, will there be any travel costs;
      • Housing: will you require housing near your research site, where and when will it be arranged, what will it cost, how will you travel to your field site;
      • Collections: if you will be collecting samples, where will they be stored and processed, how will they be transported from your site to the lab, any cost for containers;
  • The applicant’s résumé and transcripts;

Each application must be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s mentor.

Mentors’ letters should be submitted separately and should indicate not only the qualification of the student, but also an explanation of why the experience will be of particular value to the student; Mentors are asked to complete a survey from the student’s primary mentor that includes the time and resources they are willing to commit to the student’s project, and include this with their letter.

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the applicant’s letter of interest, description, merits, and feasibility of the proposed research, the endorsement and involvement of the mentor. Our goal is to ensure that each project has the potential to provide a fellowship experience that will have a positive impact the student and the student’s career.

Application Submission

Polgar applications, in both electronic and hard copy format, are due Monday, March 4, 2024, by 5:00 pm.

  • Electronic copy: Applications, in one combined PDF format file, must be received by the Foundation by 5:00 pm, March 4, 2024. The electronic copy of the application should be sent to info@hudsonriver.org. with the subject heading “Polgar Proposal Submittal.” Reference letters should be submitted separately to the same email address with the same subject heading that also references the student’s last name.
  • Hard copy: In addition to the electronic PDF, one original hard-copy, postmarked no later than March 4, 2024 must be sent to:

    Polgar Fellowship Committee
    Hudson River Foundation
    17 Battery Place, Suite 915
    New York, NY 10004.

If you are unable to send a hard copy, or have any additional questions please contact Helena Andreyko at helena@hudsonriver.org, or 212-497-1010.

Applications for the 2024 Tibor T. Polgar Undergraduate Fellowship are no longer being accepted.

The Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship program is a student research program of the Hudson River Foundation (HRF) conducted in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Named in honor of Dr. Tibor T. Polgar, a major participant in the early planning and development of the Foundation, this program provides a summer grant ($5,500 for each fellowship) and research funds (up to $1,500) for up to eight undergraduate students to conduct research on the Hudson River, under the guidance of a faculty mentor (mentors to receive a $1,000 honorarium).

Polgar Fellowships are open to undergraduate students only. Students beginning their junior or senior year in the Fall of 2024 are encouraged to apply.

The objective of the program is to enhance opportunities for students to conduct scientific and public policy research with a specific focus on projects studying the Hudson River, its watershed, and the people who live there. A primary goal of the program is to introduce and expose students to the research process through a career-stage appropriate, summer research experience, guided by strong mentoring. The Foundation therefore encourages all interested students, including those with no prior independent research experience, to apply.

The Program encourages applications from:

  • Undergraduate students, specifically prioritizing rising juniors and seniors, with exceptions made for students who show special promise after their freshman year;
  • First generation science undergraduates and students from communities historically underrepresented in the environmental sciences.

No prior independent research experience is required.

  • Students should have a sufficient background through classwork (lecture and laboratory based) to work in conjunction with a research mentor.
  • Candidates must be able to commit to the entire summer program and completion of the final report due in early November. Candidates and mentors should be aware that final reports are carefully reviewed in multiple rounds that continue into early spring of the following year.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate program through the fall of 2024 to qualify for this program. Sophomores attending 2-year colleges must be enrolled in an undergraduate program for the fall semester.

Projects must be relevant to the Hudson River and Watershed but may approach those subjects from a variety of disciplines. Appropriate topics include: studies of the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the River; or examinations of the social, economic, public policy, and environmental justice issues related to the River and Watershed.

Projects must be designed to be completed no later than September 2024, allowing for submission of the final written report November 2024. Students will be expected to attend an orientation (late May), mid-term progress, and final reports meeting (mid/late August); they are also required to submit a final written report due November 2024, and should be prepared to accept revisions into the following spring.

The Role of the Mentor

Because of the training and educational aspects of this program, each potential fellow must be sponsored by a primary mentor. The mentor must be willing to commit sufficient time for supervision of the research, to review the fellow’s proposal, draft and final reports, and to attend the orientation (late May) and final reports meetings (mid/late August) with their students. Mentors will receive a stipend of $1,000. We ask all prospective mentors to read a brief description of our goals for the Fellowship and a mentor’s responsibilities.. We strongly encourage potential mentors to contact the Foundation prior to the student submitting an application.

HRF is committed to serving the diverse communities of the Hudson River and to facilitating an ongoing and inclusive dialogue with scientists, managers, policy makers, other stakeholders, and the general public to address the environmental and societal challenges facing the community of the Hudson River and Watershed.

We seek to enhance this work by supporting researchers and students, with the unique and varied backgrounds, circumstances, needs, and perspectives that reflect the diversity of our community.

The Hudson River Foundation and the NYS DEC HRNERR awarded six Polgar Fellowships in 2023.

Rashel Caraballo, New Jersey City University: Is Oyster Recruitment to an Artificial Living Shoreline Inhibited by Sessile Organisms Already Present on the Structure ? Supervisor: Allison Fitzgerald

Henry Hua, Cornell University: Can Oysters at a Restoration Site Sustain Themselves? A Genomic Test for Local Recruitment. Supervisor: Matthew Hare

Amy Oblitas-Rojas, SUNY Stony Brook: Trophic Community Structure of American Eels (Anguilla rostrata) and Other Aquatic Species in Two Tributaries of the Hudson River Estuary- The Enderkill and Black Creeks. Supervisors: Dianna Padilla and Christopher Bowser

Nicholas Russell, Queens College, CUNY: Assessing the Ecological Impacts of Combined Sewer Overflows on Hypoxia and Algal Bloom Development in a Eutrophic Urban Waterway: Newtown Creek. Supervisor: Dianne Greenfield

Jiahua Wu, University of California, Los Angeles: Cosmic Dust in Sediments from the Hudson River: Using Sn-rich Extraterrestrial Particles as Regional Stratigraphic Markers. Supervisor: Dallas Abbott

Jack Navin, Marist College: Quantifying Enhanced Hyporheic Exchange Under Low-head Dams and its Influence on In-stream Nutrient Pollution in Hudson River Tributaries. Supervisor: Zion Klos

Brandon Campos, Borough of Manhattan Community College: Remediation of Copper and Zinc Divalent Ions from Synthetic Real Hudson River Waters Using Fruit Wastes. Supervisor: Abel E. Navarro

Copies of previous Polgar Fellowship Program annual reports can be found here.

Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Since 1985, the Polgar Fellowship program has produced a large body of research relevant to the Hudson River watershed, with a concentration on the four marshes of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve (Stockport Flats, the Tivoli Bays, Iona Island Marsh, and Piermont Marsh), compiled in the annual Polgar Fellowship reports published by the Foundation. Anyone interested in obtaining this material in order to plan projects building on the work of previous Polgar fellowships or in discussing potential research topics should contact the Foundation. Copies of previous Polgar Fellowship Program annual reports can be found here.

Hudson River Foundation