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Rackham Recruiting Bootcamp Grant (ReBoot)

The Rackham Recruiting Bootcamp Grant (ReBoot) is an initiative to support Rackham graduate programs in their efforts to boost the diversity of their student population. Specifically, programs can leverage ReBoot to increase the size of their pool of diverse applicants with strong qualifications for admissions. ReBoot contributes funding and other support for the organization of a yearly bootcamp, hosted by the graduate program for prospective graduate students.

Rackham will share best practices and provide consultations to interested faculty on how to organize each bootcamp most efficiently in terms of cost and human resources. Rackham is strongly committed to supporting programs in organizing bootcamps that best fit their needs, and will engage with and provide guidelines to those preparing ReBoot applications. Rackham is also available to consult on bootcamp evaluations and assessments to be carried out by the hosting graduate program.

This funding opportunity augments and complements the Rackham Recruitment Grants program, thus graduate programs can apply to both grants, as long as the proposed activities differ.

For the 2020-2021 year of the ReBoot, Rackham will accept proposals from graduate programs in the School of Information, School of Environment and Sustainability, and programs affiliated, wholly or partially, with the College of Engineering. The submission deadline has been extended to March 31, 2020.

“I feel like I have a solid understanding of ECE programs where before my understanding was kind of hazy”
ECE ReBoot Participant

“Thanks for putting this on, it was a lot of help in figuring out what I want to do”
ECE ReBoot Participant

“Thank you so much for hosting us! This workshop changed my outlook for the future and will change the trajectory of my career. #GoBlue”
IOE ReBoot Participant

“I really enjoyed the lab tours as it gave us a good idea of the different forms of research being done at the University of Michigan.”
NERS ReBoot Participant

“…everyone had the ability to talk in small groups to the professors, as well as one-on-one. All of the NERS professors and students … all seemed to genuinely enjoy their time at UMich.”
NERS ReBoot Participant

“I liked the variety of perspectives presented through the panels and research presentations.”
Computer Science and Engineering ReBoot Participant

“The people were genuinely interested in helping us.”
Computer Science and Engineering ReBoot participant

Upcoming ReBoot Events

Due to COVID-19, fall 2020 bootcamps are being offered through the College of Engineering virtual recruitment event on October 8 and 9, 2020. Information about winter and spring 2021 ReBoot programs is forthcoming.

Past ReBoot Events

Chemical Engineering

April 12, 2019

Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering

April 4, 2019

Computer Science and Engineering

October 12, 2019
September 29, 2018

Electrical and Computer Engineering

September 20 and 21, 2019

Industrial Operations and Engineering

September 21, 2019
October 20, 2018

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences

October 18 and 19, 2019
October 26, 2018

ReBoot Description

Key Features

Program-Owned Events

Individual or pairs of programs should organize a bootcamp including: setting the agenda, setting up a website with an application form, inviting applications, selecting attendees. Programs are also responsible for administering travel scholarships for the attendees and managing reimbursements. Rackham will provide guidelines to the faculty leading the organization of the bootcamp, and support them in organizing all the activities surrounding the bootcamp. Moreover, it will provide best practices for an efficient administrative execution of the bootcamp.


Programs should track the success of their bootcamp through post-event surveys and by tracking yield from the bootcamp into their graduate programs. At a minimum, participants should be surveyed following the bootcamp, and soon after the U-M graduate studies accept/decline deadline (usually April 15).

DEI Focus

This effort is grounded in the university’s and Rackham’s DEI mission. Thus, bootcamp participants should represent a diverse group of domestic students, based on RMF criteria. The selection process should have a strong focus on assembling a participant cohort that has strong admission prospect for the graduate program, and presents a highly diverse profile. Similarly, bootcamp activities should include faculty and student speakers who represent a wide range of diverse members of the program’s community.


We estimate that the cost of a bootcamp, including event and student expenses, will range from $12,000 to $17,000. Graduate programs may apply for one ReBoot per year, for up to $8,000. Applicants should secure cost-share from their school or college and from their graduate program. The cost-share contributions should amount to at least 50% of the proposed budget. For approved proposals, Rackham will disburse grant awards at the conclusion of the bootcamp and after receipt of the ReBoot annual report. ReBoot recipients must notify Rackham of the date(s) of the bootcamp at least two months before it takes place. They should also provide a list of confirmed bootcamp participants, along with their university affiliation, academic status (junior, senior, super-senior) and GPA, and lastly, whether they are RMF qualified. Rackham funds should not be used to cover the cost of attendance for international students. If a program chooses to host international students among the ReBoot cohort, those should not represent more than 5% of overall workshop attendees. In addition, no more than 10% of the domestic participants should be undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor—as the workshop seeks to target participants who are not already familiar with the campus culture, the faculty, or the graduate program. Programs which have identified U-M undergraduate students as a promising pool of applicants to their graduate program are encouraged to host a separate workshop event specifically for those individuals.

Rackham programs can re-apply for ReBoot annually. We encourage programs to leverage this multi-year pilot period to explore innovative structures in their bootcamp programming and activities to fit their program’s need.

Programs applying for this grant are encouraged to request that their school or college provide fee waivers to domestic students participating in the program when they apply to their graduate program.


For the 2020-2021 year of the ReBoot pilot, faculty from any graduate program in the School of Information, School of Environment and Sustainability, or the College of Engineering can submit an application. Each graduate program may receive only one ReBoot award; so, in the instance that several faculty from the same program are interested in submitting a proposal, we encourage them to join together to coordinate their efforts. The PI of the proposal, if awarded, should be appointed “External Recruitment Chair” by their graduate program.

Proposal Criteria and Submission Process

Bootcamp Criteria


A bootcamp should take place between September 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021, preferably in the early part of the fall term. Bootcamps should take place over one to two days and include workshop-like activities, hosted by the graduate program applying for ReBoot. Bootcamp participants shall be undergraduate students, visiting from other institutions. The bootcamp should be organized so that participants can: 1) visit their graduate program of interest, 2) engage with the graduate program’s faculty and graduate students, 3) better understand the breadth of research in their field of interest, and 4) receive training aimed at improving their graduate school application. Bootcamps are meant to be organized by an individual graduate program, or by two programs in related disciplinary domains.


Students attending a bootcamp shall be domestic undergraduate students with junior or senior standing visiting from other domestic institutions. Domestic participants enrolled as undergraduates at the University of Michigan are also welcome, as long as they do not constitute more than 10% of the workshop attendees. Programs should place a strong focus on inviting a cohort of diverse students with strong qualifications for admission into the hosting program. To this end, we encourage programs to invite past participants of the Summer Research Opportunity Program or Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering. Moreover, we request that at least 40% of the bootcamp participants fulfill at least one of the Rackham Merit Fellowship (RMF) criteria.

Structure and Organization

Bootcamps should provide the opportunity for junior and senior undergraduate students to explore the breadth of research opportunities at U-M in their graduate program of interest. Additionally, bootcamp activities should inform the attendees of the structure and milestones of graduate degrees offered, and provide insight on climate among the current students in the program. A cornerstone of ReBoot is that each funded proposal should include one activity to support the attendees in making progress towards the preparation of a strong graduate school application (examples include a mini-workshop on how to write a personal statement or a statement of purpose, or how to select, contact, and provide information to recommendation letter writers).

Evaluation Criteria

  • The depth of bootcamp planning, organization, and timeline.
  • The planned approach in securing a strong set of diverse applicants to the bootcamp.
  • Demonstrated commitment of the faculty, program, and department leadership to the proposal, including willingness to share costs and to support the initiative administratively.

Proposal Submission Instructions

Proposals are due on March 31, 2020, and must be submitted as a single PDF to The proposal document should include the following sections:

  • Faculty proposer(s) name and program affiliation
  • Date(s) planned for the bootcamp
  • Location planned for the bootcamp (this can be tentative)
  • Bootcamp agenda (this can be a draft agenda)
  • Narrative (no more than four pages):
    • Summary of the current status of incoming graduate student diversity within the degree program, including strengths and weaknesses. Statistics can be found on our Program Statistics page.
    • Timeline of activities leading to and after the event
    • Approach to recruiting bootcamp participants
    • Plan for bootcamp assessment and students’ evaluations
    • Evidence of faculty and program commitment for bootcamp organization, participation, and support
    • Provisions for administrative support of the proposed activities
  • Budget (one page) should detail expenses to support and execute the organization of the bootcamp and include committed contributions of financial support by all sources. The budget page should include the total budget amount, in addition to the amount being requested from Rackham (maximum $8,000).
  • Letter of support (one page) from the department chair or program director.

Graduate programs that have participated in Reboot workshops during prior years are encouraged to submit. Those programs can choose to submit a prior year proposal, with the addition of a new letter of support by the department chair or graduate program director and one to two paragraphs reporting if and how the proposed workshop organization will differ from the prior offering.

In addition, Rackham is available for the sharing best practices, event agendas, and logistics templates with interested applicants.

Award notifications

March/April 2020


For more information about ReBoot, please contact Zana Kwaiser at