Office of Research

Sharp Guidelines

Guidelines for the COPH Student Honorary Awards for Research and Practice (‘SHARP’) Award: 2019-2020 Academic Year


The purpose of the Student Honorary Awards for Research and Practice (‘SHARP’) award is to provide financial assistance to University of South Florida College of Public Health (COPH) graduate and undergraduate (BSPH Major) students who are traveling to present their research or practice at a local, state, regional, national, or international professional meeting/conference.

  • Student Honorary Awards for Research and Practice

    2019-2020 Academic Year


    There is a rolling deadline for applications this year (no specific day/time). However, applications should be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the conference that you would like to attend.  *There may be exceptions made for those wanting to attend APHA this year.

    Award Frequency

    Students may receive one full SHARP award per year to assist with travel expenses associated with participation (poster or oral abstract presentation) in a professional meeting/conference. The 2019-2020 fiscal year is from July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020.


    Depending upon the availability of funds, doctoral-level students may be awarded up to $1,500 for domestic or international conferences, and master’s level and undergraduate (BSPH degree seeking) students may be awarded up to $750 domestic conferences or international conferences.

    Allowable Expenses

    Domestic travel (within the United States) and Foreign travel:

    • Airfare and ground transportation to/from airport
    • Mileage
    • Lodging
    • Meals are an allowable cost, however, meals will not be reimbursed if the meeting/ conference provides them
    • Conference Registration Fee(s)
    • Incidentals (e.g. tolls and parking)

    Local travel (defined as within 50 miles of the University of South Florida):

    • Conference Registration Fee(s)
    • Mileage

    Not allowable costs for local travel:

    • Lodging is NOT an allowable cost for local travel (unless justified).
    • Meals included in the conference registration fees are not an allowable cost.
    • There is currently no meal reimbursement for one-day travel not involving an overnight stay

    Administration of Award

    The COPH SHARP award is a competitive internal award within the COPH and students receive funding through the University Travel Reimbursement Process. Students applying for the COPH SHARP award are advised to prepare a well-written and complete application according to the guidelines in this email and use the downloadable application form. Students may contact Lisa Sleek ( if they have specific questions regarding the SHARP application. In order to be eligible for the SHARP award, COPH students must meet the following criteria.

    The student applicant must:

    • Be a fully-admitted undergraduate (BSPH Major), master’s or doctoral level COPH student.
    • Have conducted research that is relevant to public health, as part of his/her academic program and training while enrolled as a student at the COPH (e.g., graduate assistantship, class project, field experience, special project, thesis, dissertation, etc.)
    • Be in good academic standing and currently enrolled for at least 2 COPH credit hours at the time the SHARP Award application is submitted AND at the time of the conference presentation.
    • Provide proof of (a) acceptance of an abstract for presentation at a professional meeting/ conference or (b) have received a formal invitation to prepare for/participate in a “case” analysis and/or competition at a professional meeting/conference.
    • Plan to present at the meeting.
  • Student Honorary Awards for Research and Practice

    Application Submission Process

    Students should submit a completed and signed application along with all supporting documentation as one PDF to

  • Student Honorary Awards for Research and Practice

    Awards Process and Administration

    Step 1: CHECKLIST for submitting a complete application

    • Application cover sheet (pages 1 and 2 of application form)  with student’s contact information and endorsement signatures of student, graduate faculty mentor OR BSPH student advisor.
    • A printout (hard copy) of the abstract (which is often available at the conclusion of the electronic submission process on the conference website) that includes all authors and affiliations listed.
    • A description of the project in layperson’s terms.
    • Key information describing the professional meeting.
    • A clear explanation of how the presentation is relevant to the student’s course of study.
    • Proof of invitation to present/participate in the conference/meeting.
    • Conference brochure, web page or other materials pertaining to the conference.
    • Supporting documentation regarding ALL projected/anticipated costs associated with attending the conference, including print copies of: airline fare quotes; estimated taxi fares; hotel room quotes; conference registration fees; and meals. This supporting documentation is a very important component of the application.
    • Students should also provide documentation of other awards/scholarships that they have applied for and/or will be receiving which will cover a portion of the expenses associated with the conference. NOTE: Failure to provide complete and accurate information about other sources of funding may result in loss of the SHARP award.
    • The total amount of awards can not exceed the total costs of the conference.

    Step 2:   Notification of award status

    • Students who are approved for funding through the SHARP award will receive a detailed congratulatory email from Lisa Sleek with details pertaining to pre- and post- travel requirements.  Students who are not approved for funding will also be notified by email. 

    Step 3: BEFORE Travel – Submission of Travel Authorization Request

    • If an application has been approved, the SHARP award recipient must work with college support staff (contact information will be provided in the award email) to submit a travel request.  In order to receive reimbursement for allowable travel expenses associated with the conference, the TR must be approved in Archivum PRIOR TO travel to the conference.

    Step 4: AFTER Travel: SHARP award recipients are required to complete the following activities within 10 days after returning from the conference

    1. Submit Travel Expense Report (TER) to their COPH support staff as noted in the congratulatory e-mail:  As part of the university travel reimbursement process, SHARP recipients must submit documentation of all travel expenses.   COPH support staff will aid the student in the completion of the Travel Expense Report (TER) via Archivum and any additional required forms.  Failure to supporting documentation as required within 10 days may result in loss of funding.

    2. Prepare and submit final typed report:  The report should include:

      • The program schedule citing your presentation (NOTE: If the final abstract is different from the abstract submitted with the SHARP application, the final version of the abstract must be provided in the final report);
      • Verification that the you attended the conference and presented your research/practice (e.g. an email from a COPH faculty member who attended the conference; a certificate of attendance; a speaker's ribbon; a photograph of yourself at the poster/oral presentation; etc.)
      • A paragraph describing your impressions of the conference and how attendance at the conference will be beneficial to your course of study/career.
      • A PDF of the poster that was presented at the conference.

      Please submit this report to

    3. Create a narrated presentation (Podcast): Students are also expected to create a narrated presentation (audio only) about their conference experience. With assistance from the COPH's Office of Educational Technology and Assessment, this presentation will be posted on the USF COPH Student Research site. Students will not be videotaped as part of this requirement. Contact information to fulfill this requirement will be provided in the congratulatory email. 

      Prior to their audio taping session, students are encouraged to review the following guidelines for creating a podcast:

      • Prepare a short overview of your conference presentation; this overview should be no more than 10 PowerPoint slides. Slides should include:
        • Your name, program of study and concentration
        • Conference Name, location and date
        • Format of Presentation (oral or poster)
        • Presentation objectives
        • Description of your research findings
        • Your Impressions of the Conference and your Presentation

      How attending this conference will be beneficial to your studies and/or career

      • Acknowledgement that this presentation was supported by the SHARP award. If additional sponsors/funders exist, please list them here as well.
      • As part of each slide, type in the narrative that goes with each slide. You can type this in as part of the slide's notes.
      Once you complete the narration, your job is done!  ETA personnel will compress the audio files into a web-based flash presentation and post the file onto USF COPH Student Research site.
    If you would like to see examples of completed presentation narratives, please visit this website   You will be provided with a URL to access your individual presentation and are encouraged to include this link in your personal resume/CV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes!  But no more than one award per fiscal year!  Students may receive one full SHARP award per year to assist with travel expenses associated with participation (poster or oral abstract presentation) in a professional meeting/conference. The 2019-2020 fiscal year is from July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020.

No. Presentation at a conference must occur while the student is enrolled in the same graduate program. For example, a student may be scheduled to graduate from the COPH MPH program in early August (summer semester), with plans to begin a COPH doctoral program in late August (Fall Semester). If the student’s abstract has been accepted for presentation at a conference in November, the student should apply for the SHARP award in September.

YES, COPH students who receive SHARP awards to present their research at conferences can have their posters printed free of charge at the Pro Copy store on  Fowler Ave.  Information how to proceed with printing will be provided in the congratulatory email.

Please note: If students are co-presenting the same abstract, or case study, then SHARP award funding will be divided between the two students. If the students are presenting separate abstracts, each student may apply for and be awarded separate SHARP awards.

Yes, if the outside funds are less than the costs of the conference, you may possibly receive some SHARP funds as a supplement. You must document the amount of your outside funds so that the committee can determine the most appropriate amount of funds for you to be allocated through the SHARP award.

No –  Please be aware that according to the Student Government Conference Presentation Grant Program (CPGP) guidelines under section Limitations 5.2: Students shall not be awarded a Conference Presentation Grant if they are funded by another USF University Entity. Therefore, a COPH student may APPLY for both the SHARP award and the CPGP, but may ACCEPT only one of these two awards.

No – You cannot simply ‘switch’ the current SHARP award to another conference, as you would need to reapply for a new SHARP award to present at the new conference. Please also be aware that as per step 2 above in the SHARP guidelines, when you receive email notification about your SHARP award from Lisa Sleek, the administrator for your department and the Dean’s Office finance officers will also be copied into this email, and they work on your behalf to submit the USF Travel Authorization (TR) form in Archivum. If for any reason you will NOT be able to travel to the conference, please contact your travel support staff (noted in the congratulatory email) immediately so that they can begin the process to cancel your TR.

Possibly – If you can carefully document how your attendance at this conference clearly relates to your course of study at the COPH.  You will need to explain how your presentation at this conference is related to your current and future COPH course work or research.  It is also important that you include the COPH as your affiliation (or one of your affiliations) on the abstract and poster/presentation.

If students still have additional questions after carefully reviewing these guidelines and the downloadable application form, they are welcome to contact Lisa Sleek at or 813/974-2149