Sheffer Fund for Roman Catholic Studies

During the 2022-2023 academic year, Venture Grants will be eligible for travel that are able to follow the Colorado College Student Travel Policies. Testing upon return of an approved trip will continue under the college's testing protocols. Colorado College will examine approval for travel under both the Department of State and CDC travel advisories. Due to entry requirements and quarantine restrictions for unvaccinated travelers, we can only approve Venture Grant petitions that acknowledge vaccination requirements. If the state of the world changes, Venture Grants awarded may be cancelled due to continued safety diligence and concerns.

Testing upon return to campus should continue under CC’s current testing protocol for vaccinated and unvaccinated students. All students must follow CDC guidance for travel. 

 *Please note that all students awarded a Sheffer Grant will be responsible for all applicable taxes and international taxes will be deducted before dispersal.


The Paul Frederick Sheffer Fund for Roman Catholic Studies awards grants to students and faculty for travel/study and social justice projects, provides library materials, funds internships with Roman Catholic agencies of community service, and supports visiting lecturers and block visitors. The fund is administered by the Dean's Office with the help of the Sheffer Fund Advisory Committee.

The committee has representatives from the Religion Department, staff on campus, faculty outside of the Religion Department, the student body, the Colorado Springs Diocese, and the Chaplain of the College. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to work with members of the committee in developing a proposal. 

*Prof. Mike Siddoway (Paul F. Sheffer Committee chair)

*Prof. Tim Fuller

*Prof. David Gardiner

*Kate Holbrook (CC Chaplain)

*Fr. Kyle Ingels (Diocese of Colorado Springs)

*Prof. Miro Kummel

*Prof. Pamela Reaves

*Nick Cleveland-Stout (Student Representative)

Prof. Joe Derdzinski

Lisa Schwartz (Staff Representative)


History of the Sheffer Fund

Paul Sheffer was a Colorado College student who lost his life in an airplane crash in March 1978. The tragedy was compounded by the death of Andrew Reich, a classmate, who was also a passenger in the plane piloted by Paul's uncle. Mary Wynne Sheffer chose to honor her son's life with a gift that will continue to benefit future generations of students. Having earlier donated to the college ministry of the Archdiocese of Denver, she established the Paul Sheffer Memorial Endowment in Paul's memory in 1983, shortly before her own death from cancer.

The initial endowment, wisely managed by Joseph Pickle, Professor of Religion emeritus, and Kenneth Burton, Dean of Shove Chapel emeritus, with the support of the Colorado Springs Diocese, has grown to a fund capable of supporting ambitious research projects and library acquisitions. The Sheffer Fund has funded courses such as Sainthood in Catholic Tradition, Spiritual Quests in Literature, Latin American Philosophy and Literature, and Sacramental Imagination.

Who can apply? What can the grant support?

  1. The Sheffer grant can support student projects and internships relevant to Roman Catholic Studies. It has also occasionally supported well-planned proposals for pilgrimages. If you are considering applying for a pilgrimage, please view this YouTube video to learn about the concept and planning.
  2. Applicants for Sheffer grants do not have to be members of the Catholic Church to apply, but each project must contribute to understanding Roman Catholicism.
  3. There are no restrictions regarding the primary academic discipline. We have awarded grants to projects in anthropology, art, history, literature, philosophy, politics, sociology, and religion.
  4. Student proposals must be sponsored by a Colorado College faculty member. Internships must be supported by the internship site supervisor and have clear relevance to the study of Roman Catholicism.
  5. Results from the activities sponsored by the Sheffer Fund must be presented to the wider community in a public forum.

Faculty and staff interested in applying to the grant to support teaching, scholarship, and college events and programming should submit their proposal for grant support directly to Prof. Mike Siddoway.

Proposals are considered seven times for the 2021-2022 academic year. Deadlines are the first Wednesday of Blocks 4, J, 5, 6, and 7 at 5 p.m. All proposals sent back to applicants for revision must be resubmitted by the third Friday of Block 7.

Application process:

  1. Applications are accepted via the Summit Sheffer Grant Application Form.
  2. If the grant application has multiple authors, one primary applicant will submit the project narrative, budget, and initiate IACUC/IRB review.The primary applicant should indicate in the form ALL the faculty and/or staff references for the project. The primary applicant will upload their own transcript and student account printout in the main application form.
    Each co-applicant (i.e., not the person who is uploading the proposal and the budget) should go to the Summit Sheffer Grant Co-Applicant Application Form to upload their personal confidential documents (transcript, student account printout).
  3. The application will ask for:
    • A clear description of the project, indicating its direct relation to Roman Catholic Studies and its relevance to the applicant's educational program and personal development.
    • The applicant's relevant academic preparation for the proposed project.
    • A bibliography of research materials used for preparing the proposal.
    • Detailed budget, listing all costs and an explanation of the costs, all other sources of funding sought and/or received. There is an excel budget template in the Summit application that student applicants can download and use.
    • Recommender name and email. The recommender will get an email from Summit to submit their recommendation.
      • If you are submitting a proposal for a student project, you will need to enter the name and email of a Colorado College faculty member who will write your letter of support. The faculty member must be knowledgeable about your proposed project because they have worked with you as you developed your proposal. If the faculty only knows you enough to say "so and so was a student in my classes and had been a great student" and know little about your proposal, it would be considered a weak letter of support.
      • If you are submitting a proposal for an internship, you will need to enter the name and email of your internship supervisor.
    • How you plan to share the results of the project to the campus community.
    • If your project involves research with human participants or vertebrate animals, you will need to review IRB and/or IACUC approval prior to submission .
    • If your project involves international travel, questions regarding safety are imbedded within the application for review from Global Education. If you have questions prior to submission, please reach out to their office. 
  4. For students interested in proposals related to pilgrimages, you must work with a member of the committee and review resources before submitting a proposal. There are specific questions designed to help you plan an intentional and reflective pilgrimage, and for the committee to review the seriousness of the proposed pilgrimage. Please see the Summit application for pilgrimage application questions.

All funded student projects must be completed (including the presentation to the campus community) according to the timeline presented in the proposal.

After the Sheffer Advisory Committee reviews proposals, they may be returned with suggestions for clarification or refinement. The proposal may be resubmitted after revision. Proposals will be judged on the value of the project as a contribution to Roman Catholic studies, the design of the research or internship, the preparation of the applicant, and the quality of writing.

Recent student projects supported by the Paul Sheffer Fund include:

  • Giving Back: The Catholic Church's Social Activism in the Philippines
  • The 2018 Eigth Ammendment Referendum and the Political Sway of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland
  • Catholicism vs. The State
  • The Localization of Catholicism in Yunnan and Guizhou, China
  • The effect of Catholicism on Hungarian ethnic communities in Slovakia in retaining their national identity as Hungarians after the Treaty of Trianon in 1921 to the present day
  • Religion and National Identity: How Race and Nationality Influence Catholic Activism
  • A New World, a New Vision: Studying the Life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the Papacy of Pope Francis in Argentina
  • Saints and Martyrs of East Africa: How They are Celebrated
  • The life and work of artist Corita Kent
  • The Catholic Church’s Involvement in the Immigration Struggle in France
  • Religious syncretism of pagan and Christian beliefs in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christmas celebrations in Poland
  • The Catholic Church’s Involvement in the Immigration Struggle in France
  • A Visual Exploration of the Resilience of Catholicism in Havana, Cuba during and after the Castro Regime
  • An investigation into the Catholic Church in Modern Cuba
  • The Life and work of Oscar Wilde: Examining the Relationship Between Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church
  • Irish monasticism in Ireland
  • Antoni Gaudí: Redefining Catholicism through Architecture
  • Interaction of Jews and the Catholic Church from the Reformation through Vatican II
  • Gays in the Catholic Church in England
  • Christians, Vikings, and Trolls: A Brief History of Roman Catholicism in Norway
  • Comparing 21st Century Pilgrimages in the Buddhist and Catholic Traditions
  • Veneration of Saints in Italian Villages: Following the Festivals
  • Research at Sacre Coeur Hospital in Beirut on service during the Lebanese Civil War
  • Reinventing the Catholic Faith: Investigating Ecclesial Base Communities in Post-revolution Nicaragua
  • Volunteer work in St. Mary's Mission Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Photographic Essay on Catholic Community and Ancient Churches in Azerbaijan
  • Volunteer work with No More Deaths Campaign on U.S.-Mexican Border
  • La Saleth Festival in South India: A Study of Hindu-Catholic Syncretism
  • Research on Catherine of Siena in Italy
  • Archives Preservation for Sister of Perpetual Adoration at Mount Saint Francis
  • Ethnobotanical Investigation of Catholic-Bwiti Crossroads: Bantu Ritual Use of Hallucinogens
  • Faculty-Student retreat at Benedictine monastery in North Dakota
  • St. John's Bible Exhibition, with featured speakers and workshops (with Benet Hill Monastery)
  • Roman Catholic Patronage in Baroque Ceiling Paintings (Farnese Gallery in Rome)
  • Catholic Values in the Peacebuilding Process (Sanski Most, Bosnia-Herzegovina)
  • Archival study of Los Hermanos Penitentes in New Mexico and Colorado in the late 1600s
  • Roman Catholic Epistolary Tradition in France and Spain
  • In the Wake of the Water Wars: Catholicism and Socialism in Cochabamba
  • Colorado College Symposium on "Religion and Public Life"
Report an issue - Last updated: 06/28/2022