Kelman Scholars Program

Student Experience

student in lab running experiment Applying to the Kelman Scholars Program remains one of the best decisions of my college career. I was nervous to go into research having never done it before, but the faculty behind the program really root for your success and push you to engage with research. My experience taught me a lot of critical skills related to lab work, scientific communication, and even just networking within the scientific community. All said, anyone who wants to dip their toes into research for the first time should heavily consider applying. Moreover, anyone who wants to entertain the idea of graduate school and or a career in research will find the Kelman Scholars Program to be a fantastic launch-pad for future success.

The Kelman Scholars is a paid Summer Internship Research Program that honors the legacy of Dr. Arthur Kelman, a plant pathology professor emeritus at NC State University and a member of the American National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Kelman earned his Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Rhode Island in 1941 and his masters and doctoral degrees in plant pathology from North Carolina State University (NCSU) in 1946 and 1949, respectively. After graduation, he joined the faculty in the department of Plant Pathology at NCSU until 1965, when he moved to the University of Wisconsin as Chair of the Plant Pathology Department. Upon his retirement in 1989, he returned to NCSU and the Raleigh area and was adamant about fostering scientific curiosity among younger generations of scientists.


For questions, contact Dr. Alejandra Huerta, director of the Kelman Scholars Program:

Who Should Apply

The program is open to all rising sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduate students with a demonstrated interest to explore the biological sciences through the field of plant pathology.  Plant pathology is the study of 1) the biological agents (eg pathogens) and the environmental conditions that cause diseases in plants; 2) the mechanisms by which these biotic and abiotic agents produce disease in plants; 3) the interactions between the disease-causing agents and the plant, and 4) the methods of preventing or managing diseases and alleviating the damage they cause.

Dr. Kelman believed that the complex interactions between microbes and plant hosts made plant pathology a stimulating and versatile biological discipline that could attract diverse talent into the discipline responsible for helping mitigate crop loss due to plant diseases. Research projects for Kelman Scholars can range from assessing novel chemistries to managing emerging pathogens (e.g. viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes) on important crops in North Carolina to collecting, isolating, purifying, and sequencing the genomes of these pathogens to pinpoint the underlying genetic factors that lead to their ability to cause disease.

The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology values diverse perspectives and life experiences and we particularly encourage students from underrepresented minority groups and from colleges with limited research opportunities to apply. Prior research experience is not required. NC State is an equal opportunity institution and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status.

Financial Support

  • Stipends, room, board, and travel expenses are provided.
  • Stipend: $4,000 for the 10-week session
  • Room and board: Apartment-style accommodations on campus and a $1,000 food allowance
  • Travel expenses: Round-trip air travel will be provided to participants who do not live within driving distance of the program.

Program Activities and Expectations

  • The program kicks off with a one-day introductory boot camp, where participants will be introduced to faculty and their research programs in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. All participants will also meet the department head and associate head.
  • During the boot camp, there will be one session dedicated to program logistics and expectations, and a timeline highlighting major milestones for program completion will be discussed.
  • Attend biweekly lunches where two faculty members in the department will discuss their research and their path into science and plant pathology.
  • Full-time, 10-week time commitment (end of May 2024 – beginning of August 2024)
  • All participants will be required to be present for the duration of the 10-week summer program.


  • Complete the online application below.
  • Upload resume (2-page max).
  • Upload academic transcript (downloaded or scanned transcripts are acceptable).
  • Upload a one-page personal statement in which the applicant describes their interest in science and research, their career and educational goals, and how this research experience will benefit their professional development. Include any laboratory skills, coursework, research experiences, awards, honors, or extracurricular activities that support the applicant’s dedication to a career in science.
  • When uploading files, please start the file name with your last name (example: Smith_Resume).
  • One letter of recommendation provided via email to Alejandra Huerta (

Application Mailing Address and Email

Attn: Alejandra Huerta
C/O: Kelman Scholars Program
North Carolina State University
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Campus Box 7616
Raleigh, NC 27695-7616

Application Deadlines 

The Kelman Scholars program application will be available beginning November 1, 2023 until February 25, 2024.

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