Sarah Oliver

Duck Mom

“I am basing a lot of what I’m doing off of the studies used by the Japanese students, but I’d like to do a second stage where I try some embryo manipulation. That’s the way I’m going to make this my own. Not only am I changing the species to duck, but I’m changing the experiment itself.”

Summer Discovery Grant

Bluffton University encourages you to take a break from wage work for part of your summer to create an experience that allows you to consider new vocational possibilities. This is an opportunity for you to dream a little!

With a Summer Discovery Grant, current first year or sophomore students can design their own 4-6 week summer experience to explore the relationship between vocation and faith. A Summer Discovery Grant may help you discover your calling! 

Up to two students will be awarded grants in the amount of $1,500 each summer.

Grant funds are provided by the Karl Schultz Discovery Funds, an endowment established through the gift of Bluffton alumnus, Karl Schultz.

Application deadline for summer 2020 is March 1, 2020.
Decisions will be made by April 1.   Tips to preparing your grant proposal. 

2018 Summer Discovery Grant Recipients

Tim Bender

 Timothy Bender ’20, a history and biblical and theological studies double major, spent the summer discovering what he wants to do with the rest of his life, with help from Bluffton's Summer Discovery Grant. >>>Tim’s Story


Becky Boban

Becky Boban ’19, an art and writing major, learned practice really does pay off. Boban was the recipient of a Summer Discovery Grant, which allowed her to attend a writing workshop and devote the majority of her summer break to the written word.   >>> Becky's story

2017 grant recipients
Additional grants in 2017 were made possible through the generous support of the Council of Independent Colleges and the Lilly Endowment Inc.

Kala Jilani-Pritchett spent time in both a hospital and a faith-based counseling setting working with medical and mental health professionals.

Justin Kauffman job shadowed and gained experience in patient settings and will used this time experiencing some of the multiple health care options he is considering after graduation. 

Claire Clay experienced the breadth of the PR role and shepherd several projects from conception through completion.

Sarah Oliver worked with Bluffton faculty to see a research project through from the research design and development stage through the process of reporting on her findings.

2016 grant recipients
Kasey Myers  a food and nutrition major from Mount Vernon, Ohio, learned more about two things she loves this summer—food and faith.

Blake Hershberger an international peace, justice and conflict studies major from Canton, Ohio, immersed himself in the Guatemalan culture.


Guidelines for eligibility

  • An interest in designing an experience for yourself that will allow you to creatively explore vocation
  • Open to current first years or sophomores with a declared major
  • Registered for classes at Bluffton University for fall of the year for which you are applying for funds.

Experience guidelines

Typically these experiences are:

  • Organized for a 4-6 week period of time during the summer
  • Positions that you will not be paid for in addition to the $1,500 grant 
  • Not experiences for which you hope to gain college credit.

Application guidelines

Application packets are available in the student life office and at Marbeck Desk. To  apply, please submit the following items:


For more information, contact LaShonda Gurley at or phone 419-358-3030.