ICIS Founding Generation Summer Internship for Undergraduates

The International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS) is offering a limited number of grants of up to $4,000 to support undergraduate student research in infancy science during the summer of 2021.

The International Congress of Infant Studies is rooted in a rich history of founding scholars who implemented the vision to advance science and support colleagueship in the interdisciplinary field of infant development. From its start, the congress encouraged student participation and engagement through various initiatives aimed at mentoring future generations of researchers. 

To continue the legacy of student support, ICIS proudly announces the “Founding Generation Summer Internship Program for Undergraduate Students”, including current graduating seniors.  This initiative that both builds on prior ICIS programs; recognizes ICIS forebears; and honors the contributions of key figures in the Congress’s establishment.  The brief history on ICIS (below) describes the individuals who inspired the creation of the Founding Generation program.

The Founding Generation Summer Internship program provides funding to qualified students who wish to conduct infancy research in the lab of a researcher for an 8-week summer period (20 hrs per week). To qualify for support, students must contact a participating ICIS faculty member (outside their home institution) to request sponsorship. Students may initiate contact with someone whose research they already know or by reviewing a description of potential hosts posted on the ICIS website (now available). (Note students are not responsible for identifying the ICIS membership status of the potential faculty sponsor; faculty sponsors will be given the chance to join ICIS if they are not already members).

Sponsoring faculty must agree to mentor the student (remotely or in person for 2021) for an 8-week period; ensure a stimulating research experience; define a project and associated tasks that will be ready for the student to begin immediately and complete during the summer internship; provide one-on-one contact with the student during weekly standing meetings; identify individuals who will train the student and regularly monitor student progress; and be an active member of ICIS (non-ICIS members may join at any time if they wish to sponsor a student). Note: Researchers who are interested in hosting a summer undergraduate are encouraged to submit their name, institution and a one-paragraph description of the planned research through the button below, typically available in mid-February.  However, advance submission of sponsorship is not required, as students may approach faculty not listed on the ICIS website.

Key Dates

Sponsor interest deadline – February 15

Sponsors listed on website -mid-February

Student application deadline – March 21

Announcement of awardees – Beginning of April

Committee Members

Martha Arterberry, Colby College

David Bridgett, Northern Illinois University

Kyle Chambers, Gustavus Adolphus College

Linda Cote-Reilly, Marymount University

Sam Putnam, Bowdoin College

Diane Wille, Indiana University Southeast


After student-sponsor pairs have agreed on a summer project, students will submit a joint application to ICIS for summer support (see button below for application details).

Completed applications are due March 21st and awardees will be announced the first week of April.

Upon completion of the summer internship, students will present their work at an ICIS Founding Generation virtual mini-conference, attended by student awardees and hosts, Presidents of ICIS (current, past, future), and members of the founding generation. Students are also encouraged to present their work at ICIS 2022 in Ottawa, Canada, or at ICIS 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland, and may apply for a separate ICIS Undergraduate Travel Award to fund their travel expenses.

Recognizing the Founding Generation

The Founding Generation Summer Internship Program was established to recognize the contributions of past scholars of infancy studies by supporting the next generation of researchers in infancy. The origins of ICIS, which was known as ISIS (International Society on Infant Studies) from its inception until 2015, can be traced to an informal, interdisciplinary group of 30-50 researchers (the Correspondents on Research on Infants or CRI) that included Psychologists, Pediatricians, Psychiatrists, and Neurologists. CRI members—representing nearly all the major infancy researchers at the time—began to meet in the early 1960s to share their work on infant development. A sub-group of CRIers met monthly in New York and New Jersey, including Marc H. Bornstein, Nathan Fox, Judy Gardner, Bernie Karmel, Michael Lewis, David Lewkowicz, William Fifer, Susan Rose, Holly Ruff, and Gerry Turkewitz. Others who often often visited the group included Joe Fagan, Robert Fantz, Marshall Haith, Bill Kessen, Marian Sigman, and Daniel Stern.

At the time, advances in medicine and increased numbers of premature and sick infants surviving pregnancy and childbirth led to an explosion of infant research. The rapid expansion in infant research highlighted the need to establish an independent venue for CRI members to share their theoretical work and empirical research.

As a result, the first International Conference on Infant Development was organized in Providence, Rhode Island in 1978, under the leadership of Lewis Lipsitt. (Notably, Lewis set the stage for ICIS meetings to have an element of fun mixed in with serious science by inviting a professional yo-yo master to teach researchers how to use a yo-yo!) For several years, the larger ICIS conference followed CRI meetings, being held in whichever city served as the designated CRI site. The local CRI researcher served as program chair and made all arrangements (including signing contracts for hotel “rack rates” and determining the location of the conference dinner). The broad appeal of the ICIS conference ensured its success: registration fees consistently exceeded costs, allowing the congress to consistently meet in the off-years of SRCD.

In addition to hosting the first ICIS conference in Providence, Lewis Lipsitt served as founding editor of Infant Behavior and Development (IBAD), which grew further under the vision of Carolyn Rovee-Collier during her 18-year tenure as editor. Lipsitt and Rovee-Collier also founded and co-edited the series Advances in Infancy Research, to which many original CRIers contributed.

Although ICIS members adopted IBAD as their unofficial journal, by the 1990’s the Society wanted a journal that it could independently control. In response, Esther Thelen (President of ICIS at the time), Rachel Keen (President-elect), Nathan Fox, and Marian Sigman negotiated with the assistance of Attorney Jeff Pasek the new journal Infancy with Lawrence Erlbaum in 2000. Leslie Cohen served as the first editor of ICIS’s flagship journal, followed by Richard Aslin, Martha Ann Bell, John Colombo, and Gavin Bremner as current Editor.

Interested in supporting the initiative?

ICIS is accepting donations to continue the program in future years.  Donations can be made by clicking the button below to be put in contact with the ICIS Secretariat to arrange funds transfer.  Donations are gratefully accepted for all levels of support.  The society has committed to supporting the initiative for 2021 and are actively looking at funding support to continue the legacy of education and mentorship set by the Founding Generation.


In the summer of 2017, ICIS ran a pilot version of the program, and a handful of undergraduate students completed internships with ICIS members. Example testimonials below, from faculty mentors and student awardees, show that participants on both sides greatly valued their experience. We are very confident that future participants will likewise have a rewarding experience, and strongly encourage you to apply!

The opportunity to work with an international student was fabulous.  We shared our different cultural understandings and traditions.  We invited her along with us on all our family summer daytrips and overnight trips, and took her to several area festivals.  She got to try lots of different local foods and experience local customs.

Wallace Dixon


Going to ICIS 2018, as a participant was helpful and enriching. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the undergraduate summer research program. I think that these experiences allow the students to develop different kind of skills when visiting and participate in a new Lab, especially when it is internationally. Besides learning more from experienced researchers and their teams, as a student you learn new methods and new ways on how research can be done.


Student working with Wallace Dixon

As a mentor, I greatly appreciated the support from ICIS and would be very enthusiastic about contributing to group-mentoring opportunities either at or outside of an ICIS conference.

Caitlin Fausey


My experiences have been instrumental in shaping my career trajectory. Currently I am creating a family program aimed at bolstering families who are homeless back into secure housing, stable income, and a home environment that is safe and developmentally appropriate for their children…. This summer program gave me the support I needed in order to participate in summer research. Without the assistance I would have not been able to financially afford what was the opportunity of a lifetime…I got to work on a team of fantastic developmental researchers and was able to participate in my first conference!


Student working with Caitlin Fausey

As an undergraduate student, I would not have been able to devote a summer to research without the support of ICIS. I was able to work on a research project of my own with the support from ICIS and I learned about each step of the research process, which really affirmed my goals of pursuing research in my future as a career. I still use some of the lessons I learned through the program to help me conduct my current research in my PhD program. I have so many positive comments! I cannot say enough good things about this opportunity! The program not only supported my work over the summer, but it supported my development as a researcher. The award helped me be a stronger applicant for graduate programs because it showed that I was involved in research and was able to complete my own research project. It also helped affirm my goals of pursuing research in a graduate program related to the work I completed during the summer experience. The undergraduate summer research experience was unique, exciting, and fulfilling. I believe the experience set me up for success in my future as a researcher and I am incredibly grateful that I was given the opportunity to participate!


Student working with Megan Gunnar

Receiving the fellowship in 2017 allowed me to have a unique research experience at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics. I would not have had the opportunity to spend the summer in New York City and have the experience of developing a research project in the context of a pediatric intervention and working with a team of developmental psychologists, pediatricians, and social workers. I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree in communication sciences and disorders. I am particularly interested in how the social context shapes dual language learners’ language development, home language maintenance, and identity development. The ICIS fellowship program gave me the opportunity to work with Dr. Weisleder, who is my current doctoral advisor, and to work with a unique dataset of daylong audio recordings of very young infants. Through this work, I further developed my interest in collecting naturalistic data and in investigating how the environment may influence dual language learners’ language development.


Student working with Dr. Adriana Weisleder