The Kemp Endowment, funded by Bank of America in honor of Davidson alumnus Francis "Buddy" Kemp '63, supports independent student research in any discipline, either in the United States or abroad. 

All non-seniors are eligible.

Kemp Scholars are chosen annually through a competitive process administered by an economics faculty member. Applicants work independently on a research project of their own design, which can be completed on campus or involve travel, international or domestic. In addition, they participate with the faculty in a multidisciplinary (non-credit) seminar, which links their research projects.  

In April, successful applicants and their Kemp advisors will meet several times as a group and each Kemp Scholar will present their research proposal and lead a discussion to refine and inform the proposed work. Scholars are expected to use the summer months to travel and conduct the bulk of their research.  

Immersive internships are also encouraged, if formally unpaid or nominally paid, by the agency, non-profit, or firm, especially if they inform a student's capstone or thesis research or otherwise contribute to a student's academic or career goals. During the following fall semester, Kemp Scholars reconvene for another set of presentations in which the students share the results of their research with the Kemp Scholars group.

The number of scholars and award amounts varies annually, depending on the applicants' proposed research or internship experiences‚ÄĒtypically $3,000 to $7,000 inclusive of reimbursable expenses and a student award (reimbursable expenses can include research materials, travel, housing, other living expenses, as well as travel to present the research at a conference). Proposals involving students presenting their work off-campus at a conference or similar event are strongly encouraged. Faculty mentors also receive an award. 

Prior Kemp Scholars have studied:

  • The history of black women's reproductive justice in the South
  • Approaches to reducing bias against obese individuals
  • Reproductive health policy research in Ghana
  • Correlating city heat maps and local air quality monitoring in Charlotte
  • Shared prophethood among Japanese Muslims and Buddhists
  • The origins of Taiwanese student organizations
  • The correlation of early education and long-term health outcomes in the U.S.
  • Solar rural electrification in Nicaragua
  • The impact of the financial crisis in Iceland 

Deadline: March 20, 2024
Eligibility: All non-seniors are eligible
Review Committee: Kemp Scholars Review Group 
Contact: Mark Foley (

Submit Your Application