The application process for the Ledford Scholarship was rigorous, involving a multi-page research proposal outlining research and roles, a statement of purpose, and a thorough selection process. When asked what inspired him to pursue LIF in analyzing fossils, Bryan College’s Buddy Smith said, “Another student had begun similar work on applying LIF to Bryan’s fossil collection. However, the Ledford Scholarship is only granted to graduates of Appalachian-area high schools, so he was unable to continue his work… I have picked it up to ensure this research comes to fruition….This scholarship will allow this research to actually happen. Without it, I would have not been able to pursue this project at all, but with it, I can work in this new field and not have to worry about things like summer jobs.”
Moving forward, Mr. Smith hopes to analyze as many fossils as possible in Bryan’s collection while also promoting LIF analysis as an innovative and viable method of archeological study.
“I think that I can also help spark interest in others around Bryan so they can continue the research and have their own opportunities,” said Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith also provided advice for students who might be seeking scholarships to fund their own research activities. “Research scholarships can be found anywhere- you just have to know where to look. Making a research project about something you’re passionate about is vital to make your proposal sing and stave away burnout in the long run. You have to make the selection boards interested in your project, and the easiest way to do that is to yourself be interested.”