New undergraduate research program available to Commonwealth Campus students

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Credit: Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Beginning in Fall 2023, Penn State's Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses (OVPCC) is launching the OVPCC Undergraduate Student Research Fund. This new initiative is a commitment to support and grow undergraduate student research opportunities on the Commonwealth Campuses.  

The OVPCC grants are modeled on the Erickson Discovery Grant Program and provide up to $2,500 toward project costs and living expenses. Students can gain practical experience in research, scholarship, or artistic efforts through the program, designing their own research problems, preparing study proposals and presenting their findings. 

Students are eligible for awards of up to $2,500, and are required to be enrolled in undergraduate courses at one of Penn State’s 20 Commonwealth Campuses, along with having a faculty research mentor. Projects should primarily be the student’s own work, but they can be related to the supervising faculty member’s research or scholarly interests. While some students travel for their experience, many choose to stay at their home campus to conduct their work.

"Involving undergraduate students in research is a hallmark of Penn State’s Commonwealth Campus faculty profiles," said University College Interim Dean Rick Brazier. "As faculty, I witnessed undergraduate research students transform into thriving successful students who have gone on to amazing career opportunities. These funds will give more opportunities to engage curious students and propel their aspirations forward in ways they may not have even considered." 

Students are required to be enrolled in undergraduate courses, have a faculty research mentor at Penn State, are limited to 15 credit hours per week outside of the proposed project with it being the student’s primary focus, and to not have previously received an Erickson Discovery Grant. 

Students and faculty interested in the OVPCC Undergraduate Student Research Fund should contact Judith Bowman at [email protected] for information.  

Applications for academic year 2023-24 are due by Friday, Oct. 27, 2023. If you are interested in applying, click the following link: OVPCC Undergraduate Student Research Fund Application.