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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the JPC only for College undergrads?

A: The JPC program will seek to engage undergraduates from all the University’s schools.

Q. Can 4th years participate in JPC?

A. Yes, if the JPC project is completed by the time of graduation or if you are returning in the fall after graduation as a U.Va. graduate student.

Q: Is the JPC an academic major?

A: No, the Jefferson Public Citizens program is not a major, minor or a certificate program. The program is intended to be an academic honor for students admitted to the program.

Q: What is expected in the JPC project narrative and the overall application?

A: See the Indicators of Strong JPC Projects page.

Q: How will the JPC project money work?

A: Once your group is selected for a JPC award, we will schedule meetings with each team to explain how their finances are disbursed. We strongly recommend that each and every JPC student be signed up for direct deposit with the university so money can be deposited directly into your bank account. Issuing checks and mailing them to your home is simply not efficient or reliable.

Q: Can my group apply for other grants in addition to the JPC?

A: It is the intent of this and other undergraduate research and service grant programs to support as many qualified proposals as possible. While we encourage students to apply for any funds for which they are eligible, It is unlikely that proposals will be selected to receive significant funds from more than one competitive source. Just let us know what other funding for which you have applied on your application.

Q: Who is eligible to be on a JPC Team?

A: JPC students may apply as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students. 4th year students who will be enrolling as graduate students at U.Va. for the following year may also apply. It’s assumed that 3rd year students will be the primary contact for the project. All members for the JPC group will have to demonstrate in the application that they have the skills and experience to contribute to the overall success of the project. All members of the JPC group must be enrolled as a fulltime U.Va. student for the duration of the JPC project. Graduate students who serve as mentors to the JPC group may be enrolled in coursework or be ABD.

Q. Can I apply to be on two teams?

A. Based on past experiences, we have found the time demand for JPC projects is significant. You should be on only one team. Being on two teams diminishes the impact you can have on the JPC project. The JPC program would also like to extend the opportunity to participate in JPC to more students.

Q. Can I be on two JPC teams at once?

A. Depending on the timing, you may end up being on a JPC group that is finishing up its project while you are also on a new JPC group that is starting up a new project. It is important to consider how the time demands of JPC will affect your schedule. It takes time and effort to write up your project findings for the JPC Public Journal and to prepare for the JPC presentation competition, and to do this simultaneously with preparing a new JPC project for its work.

Q. Can I apply to be on two JPC projects and then pick which one if they are both selected for funding?

A. Please choose which project you want to participate in first before applying. The JPC review committee evaluates each proposal as a whole package including the skills and experiences of the team members. Shifting around group members can alter the project too dramatically and may have a negative impact on the project’s overall success. Please apply to only one project.

Q. How many times can I be on a JPC project team?

A. Up to three times, meaning in your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year. However, it is unlikely that the same project will be selected multiple years in a row. See above question about reapplying for funding.

Q: What is expected of the JPC Faculty Advisor?

A: You should seek out a faculty advisor whose own research and teaching interests match your project topic area. This will create a natural connection between your group’s work and his/her scholarship. Your group should view your faculty advisor as a mentor, guide, and coach. Engage your faculty advisor in the research and service process. Share troubles you may be facing in collecting data, meeting deadlines or engaging with your community partner. Faculty members can also consult the Faculty Advisor Recommendations document.

Q: Where do JPC research and service projects take place?

A: JPC projects can be conducted locally, nationally, or internationally. Students are strongly encouraged to collaborate with and seek advice from faculty members and university offices that already have partnerships established with communities and community organizations.

Q: Can I apply again for the same project if I received a JPC award last year?

A: No, you cannot apply for funding for the exact same project. However, you can apply if your group is continuing the work of a previous JPC project. You will need to discuss in the project narrative what is different or new about the work your group wants to conduct this year. Your project should clearly build on and advance the efforts of the previous JPC’s group. If you were unsuccessful in your first application for JPC funding, then yes, you can reapply.

Q. Can the same project reapply for funding?

A. The same people and the same people can reapply but the research-service project question must be new and different. It is possible to return to a location and build on the previous year’s work, but the proposed JPC project must take a distinctly new direction. Please note that the JPC program would also like to extend the opportunity to participate in JPC to more students. The expectations for success are greater with returning projects.

Q: What does the JPC fund?

A: The JPC award supports student travel and project costs. There are also funds for faculty advisors and graduate student mentors. These monies are awarded directly to the students and to the faculty advisor's home department. Please note that the JPC is not a granting agency. It does not function as a charitable foundation to which students can apply for money to support a community organization. The purpose of the JPC program is for students and faculty to collaborate with a community partner on a research-service project. Each JPC project should have, as its basis, a research question(s) that the community partner would like to have answered.

Q: What if the airfare rates change from what I put in my budget?

A: Include an estimate of what the airfare will be at the time of your purchase in your budget. Build in some flexibility to your estimates.

Q: Where can I travel to for a JPC project?

A: JPC projects can take place locally, nationally, or internationally. Please note that JPC teams will not be allowed to travel to countries on the U.S. State Department's Travel Warning list. This is not negotiable. JPC groups are welcome to apply and then wait and see if the travel warning is lifted by the time they plan to travel. However, there are no guarantees that this will happen. Groups are encouraged to consider how to conduct an international project in a different country or to work with the community partner without making a site visit (virtually). JPC students planning to travel internationally will also need to register with the International Studies Office.

Q: What can I expect from working with the community?

A: The agency I contacted was positive about my project but they didn’t give me a lot of direction. Remember that your JPC project is your priority, not the world’s priority. The community agency has many other clients to serve and other agendas to follow that will often fall outside of realm of your project. Also expect that external organizations are not as experienced in working with college students as professors, graduate students, and university staff. They have different timelines, goals, and outcomes. It is critical for you to build a mutually-beneficial and respectful relationship with your partner agency. Please review these tips for working with community agencies before initiating a project with an organization.

Last updated: June 17, 2015