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Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program

Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program

Project Listings for 2014

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. PURM was created in 2007 to provide first-year undergraduates with a substantial entry-level summer research experience under the guidance and direction of a faculty mentor. Thanks to the generosity of President Amy Gutmann, in summer 2009 PURM was expanded to include second-year undergraduates. Since its inception PURM has funded over 200 Penn faculty members to provide more than 300 undergraduates with cutting-edge research experiences.

Faculty members in any discipline from any of Penn’s twelve schools are encouraged to apply. Faculty may describe up to three research projects on which undergraduates could assist them for ten weeks during the summer. 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.

Information for Faculty

All Penn faculty are encouraged to apply. Applications from faculty from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. Faculty applications were due no later than 4:00pm on Monday, February 10.

Current funding levels do not allow CURF to fund all faculty who submit PURM projects. Since 2008, each year 35-40% of faculty who apply for PURM funding 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 $3,000 stipend funded by PURM and administered through the faculty mentor’s department), and the faculty member will receive an additional $2,500 to support their research project, or
  • Faculty may engage two PURM students by using their PURM research fund to engage a second student (this requires a small contribution – approximately $791 – from the faculty member’s own research funds to fully fund the second student)
  • This $2,500 research award cannot be taken as faculty salary

NOTE: Faculty whose research affiliation is at CHOP may participate in PURM, but they are not eligible to receive PURM research funding. These faculty may engage one PURM student (with no research funds), or they may contact Dr. Wallace Genser at to arrange co-funding for a second PURM student.

Faculty Eligibility and Selection

  • Current Standing Faculty receive priority in funding
  • Preference is given to faculty who have not previously received PURM funding. Faculty occasionally receive PURM funding in consecutive years, but never three years in a row
  • Student interest is a 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 considered, since each year PURM seeks to support faculty from as many different Penn schools and departments as possible
  • If selected to receive PURM funding, faculty are strongly encouraged to engage students with whom they are not yet working (rather than students with whom they are already working)

Advice to Faculty on Writing your Project Description

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

Student Participation:

We encourage faculty to invite students they encounter to apply for their PURM projects. Only current first- and second-year undergraduates are eligible to participate in PURM.

Students currently engaged in programs that provide funded research opportunities or ongoing structured mentoring and opportunities such as University Scholars, Engineering’s Rachleff Scholars, the Huntsman program, and the Vagelos family of programs are not eligible for PURM funding.

Post-Award Information

Faculty selected for PURM are encouraged to consider students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in their disciplines

All full-time undergraduates from Penn’s four undergraduate schools who are completing their first- or second-year of college are eligible to apply.

Information for Students

Project Listings for 2014

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.

Student Eligibility

Only full-time undergraduates 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 or ongoing structured mentoring and opportunities such as University Scholars, Engineering’s Rachleff Scholars, the Huntsman program, and the Vagelos family of programs are not eligible for PURM funding.

Procedures

Project Listings for 2014.

Students must apply via the Application Form no later than 4:00pm on Sunday, March 9, 2014. Students may apply for up to three projects and and may indicate their first, second, and third choice mentors.

To maximize your chances of being selected for a PURM interview, apply for projects submitted by 3 different faculty mentors. If you are selected for an interview, you will be considered for any of that faculty member’s projects.

Faculty can submit one to three research projects that would benefit from student research assistance no later than Monday, February 10, 2014 via the Faculty project submission form. Applications from student finalists will be sent to PURM faculty, who are strongly encouraged to interview finalists. Because there are always more faculty projects than funding available, not all faculty submitting projects will receive funding through PURM.

Timeline

  • Monday, February 10 – Faculty applications due electronically to CURF
  • Sunday, March 9 – Student Application Form due electronically to CURF
  • Friday, March 21 – faculty applicants notified of status
  • Tuesday, March 25 – student applicants notified of status
  • Tuesday, April 15 – All faculty and students will be notified of decisions

Frequently Asked Questions

Previous year faculty-student pairings

Contact

Dr. Wallace Genser

Phone: 215-746-6488

© 2014 University of Pennsylvania

CURF, University of Pennsylvania
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