Sheffer Fund for Roman Catholic Studies


*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.

Committee Members

Prof. Amanda Minervini, Italian Program (Paul F. Sheffer Committee Chair)

Prof. Carol Neel, History

Prof. Pamela Reaves, Religion

Prof. Joseph Derdzinski, Political Science  

Kate Holbrook (CC Chaplain)

Fr. Kyle Ingels (Diocese of Colorado Springs)

Mila Naumovska (Student Representative)

Lisa Schwartz (Staff Representative)


Students can contact the committee with questions about the application process, but that it's best if they have already found a faculty sponsor to discuss the content of the project itself prior to contacting.


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 for the grant to support teaching, scholarship, and college events and programming should submit their proposal for grant support directly to Prof. Amanda Minervini.

Proposals are considered seven times for the 2022-2023 academic year. Deadlines are the first Monday of Blocks 4, 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.

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.

Application process

  1. Applications will be accepted first Monday at 5pm of Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7. All proposals sent back to applicants for revision must be resubmitted by third Friday of Block 7.
  2. Applications are accepted via the Summit Sheffer Grant Application Form.
  3. If the grant application has multiple authors, one primary applicant will submit the project narrative, and 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).
  4. 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, and 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 knows 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 do you plan to share the results of the project with 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 embedded within the application for review from Global Education. If you have questions prior to submission, please reach out to their office. 
  5. 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.

Examples of Recent Student Projects


  • Legacy of the Knights of Saint John on Rhodes Island (Greece)
  • Exploration of the history of Medieval Catholic pilgrimage and saint reliquaries in Conques, Figeac, and Rocamadour
  • Understanding Catholic Identity in the Current Political Ecosystem
  • The Intersecting History of Italian Catholicism and Fascism
  • Catholicism's Impact on Society in Germany - A Social, Religious, and Economic Exploration
  • Poetic Imagination
  • Puentes de Fe: Pope Francis' Bridge Between Argentina and the Catholic Church
  • Faith, Policy, and Health: The Crossroads of Catholicism and Healthcare in Peru
  • Catholicism Across Ireland's Coasts: Exploring the Preservation of Churches and Parishes
  • Exploring the Cultural and Anthropological Significance of Roman Catholic Churches of Southern Baja California
  • The Cusco School: Indigenous Iconography meets the Roman Catholic Church
  • Harmony in Symbolism: A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Martyrs and Saints in Religious Art
  • The Social Impact of Catholic Communities on the East Coast
  • The Renaissance landscape: How religious art reshaped our relationship to nature
  • Exploring Spain’s Camino de Santiago: Motivations and the Role of Tourism and Nonprofits in Modern-Day Pilgrimage
  • Deciphering the Resonance between Architecture and and Religion: The Ebb and Flow of Catholicism in the British Isle
  • Photographic Essay: Indigenous Identity within Catholicism
  • Understanding the Catechism's Social Teaching Through Slovakian Catholic Perceptions
  • Catholicism In The Caribbean: A Story of Decline and Rebirth
  • The Tradition of Roman Catholic Tattoos of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Mary's Shadows Throughout Europe
  • Urban Women and Activists in Slovakia: Perception of the Catholic Church and the “Gender Ideology” Campaign
  • Motivation, Ritual, and Spirituality on the Camino de Santiago
  • Giving Back: The Catholic Church's Social Activism in the Philippines
  • The 2018 Eighth Amendment 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 the 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 a 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)
  • An 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: 05/07/2024