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Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program
FACULTY PROJECT SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, January 31, 2016
STUDENT APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, February 22, 2016, 12noon
Each year Penn supports undergraduate involvement in faculty research through the Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program (PURM), which provides students completing their first or second undergraduate year the opportunity to spend a summer as a research assistant for a Penn faculty member. Since its inception in 2007, PURM has funded over 400 Penn faculty members to provide more than 500 undergraduates with cutting-edge research experiences.
INFORMATION FOR FACULTY
Faculty members in any discipline from any of Penn’s twelve schools are encouraged to apply. Applications from faculty from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome.
Because PURM is a matching program rather than a funding vehicle, faculty members need not have identified interested students prior to submitting an application.
Faculty members may describe up to three research projects on which undergraduates could assist them for ten weeks during the summer. Given the importance of student interest in determining faculty recipients, faculty should be sure to include the academic and professional skills, experiences, and benefits a student would derive from working on their project in the 250-word project description. We encourage faculty to invite students they encounter to apply for their PURM projects.
Projects may also include curricular development. Research projects can be carried out on Penn’s campus, on other campuses, or at collections, archives, field sites, or other locations throughout the world. PURM’s goal is to expose students to the reality of academic scholarship early in their undergraduate years, so students should be included as much as feasible in all phases of the project, although they are not required to play a leading or independent role.
Current funding levels do not allow CURF to fund all faculty who submit PURM projects. Historically, ~35-40% of faculty who apply have received a PURM award.
Faculty can choose to participate in one of two ways:
- One student research assistant will be funded entirely by PURM (the student will receive a $3,500 stipend funded by PURM and administered through the faculty mentor’s department), and the faculty member will receive an additional $1,500 to support their research project, or
- Faculty may engage two PURM students by forgoing their PURM research fund to engage a second student. If faculty choose this option, each of the two students will receive a $3,500 stipend paid entirely by the Provost's Office. Requests to work with two students are strongly encouraged, but dependent upon available funds
- The $1,500 research award is paid into the faculty member’s research account and cannot be taken as salary
NOTE: Faculty whose research affiliation is at CHOP may participate in PURM, but they are not eligible to receive PURM research funding. If sufficient funding is available, these faculty may engage one or two PURM students (with no research funds).
Faculty Eligibility and Selection
Current Standing Faculty receive priority in funding
- Current Standing Faculty receive priority in funding, with preference given to faculty who have not previously received PURM funding
- Student interest is a major factor in selection, as determined by the number and quality of students with a GPA above 3.0 who apply to work on any of a faculty member’s listed projects
- Diversity of projects and faculty are also weighted heavily, since each year PURM seeks to support faculty from as many different Penn schools and departments as possible
- Faculty occasionally receive PURM funding in consecutive years, but never three years in a row
- Because PURM is a matching program, faculty selected to receive PURM funding are strongly encouraged to engage students with whom they are not yet working (rather than funding students they already mentor)
- Faculty selected for PURM are encouraged to consider students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in their disciplines.
Information for Students
PURM students participate in cutting-edge research in a variety of fields, gain an understanding of the research process, and develop a one-on-one relationship with a Penn faculty member. Past participants have noted that participating in PURM allowed them to experience the triumphs and challenges of advanced research, while honing their analytical skills and providing them with deeper knowledge of research in their field.
Students must be available to work on their PURM project full-time for ten full weeks during the summer. In many cases, PURM research relationships continue during the academic year through informal collaborations, independent study, or departmental or university-funded research grants.
Since students will be engaged full-time during their PURM experience, PURM participants may not be involved in any other paid employment or internship at the University of Pennsylvania during the ten weeks of the PURM experience. Subject to their PURM Faculty Mentor’s approval, students may be able to enroll in one course per summer half-term, provided it does not interfere with the needs of the project. Based on past student experiences, enrollment in summer courses is strongly discouraged. The exact dates that students will work on their project will be determined in conjunction with their PURM Faculty Mentor.
All full-time undergraduates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from Penn’s four undergraduate schools who are completing their first- or second-year of college are eligible to apply. Students currently engaged in programs that provide funded research opportunities such as University Scholars, Engineering’s Rachleff Scholars and the Vagelos family of programs are not eligible for PURM funding.
PURM Application and Selection Process Overview
Faculty submit one to three research projects that would benefit from student research assistance via the Faculty project submission form.
Students apply for up to three projects via the Application Form, indicating their first, second, and third choices. To maximize the chances of moving forward, students should apply for projects submitted by 3 different faculty mentors. Please take note of the project titles so that you do not apply to the wrong project. If selected for an interview, students will be considered for any of that faculty member’s projects.
Faculty projects will be selected for funding based on criteria outlined above under "Faculty Eligibility and Selection." Because there are always more faculty projects than funding available, not all faculty submitting projects will receive funding through PURM.
After faculty projects have been selected for funding, all eligible student applications will be forwarded to the PURM faculty members. Faculty members will be are strongly encouraged to interview students prior to making mentee selections.
- Sunday, January 31, 2016– Faculty applications due electronically to CURF
- Monday, February 22, 12:00 noon EST – Student Application Form due electronically to CURF
- TBD – All faculty and students will be notified of decisions
Dr. Ann Vernon-Grey