Robert F. Guentter, Jr. Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award

The University Libraries partners with the Schreyer Honors College (SHC) to create an exciting opportunity for undergraduates: the annual competition for the Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis. This competition aims to find the best thesis submitted by an undergraduate that is grounded in quality research and employs accepted research practices and documentation. 


Through this award, the University Libraries and SHC seek to encourage excellence in the research process of locating, evaluating, and utilizing appropriate information resources.


The award is given to the student with the outstanding undergraduate thesis that is grounded in quality research, as determined by a jury of librarians and other Penn State faculty.  The Robert F. Guentter , Jr. first place is awarded $1,250, second place is awarded $750 and third place is awarded $500.


Students from all Penn State programs and campuses who must complete a thesis as part of their graduation requirement is eligible. The Spring 2025 award encompasses graduates from Summer and Fall 2024 and Spring 2025.

Public Oral Presentation

Three finalists will be required to present a 20-minute public oral presentation of his or her thesis. Please be aware that this presentation is on Thursday, May 8, 2025, at 3:00 p.m. in Foster Auditorium in the Paterno Library. This is scheduled as an in-person event with a virtual component. Note that this is during finals week, so if you have a conflict with your finals schedule, please indicate this on your application.


Submission timelines and instructions will be provided closer to the award cycle (typically early April of every year).

Application Criteria

Criteria for Judging Applications

Please read the following important information. Applications will be judged against the following criteria:

  1. The thesis must have been completed for the thesis requirement and involve work in a discipline.
  2. The student must apply online and have a statement of support from a Penn State faculty member. 
  3. The student must provide a 250 word (maximum) statement which demonstrates the use of library and information resources related to the thesis. The statement should describe the literature review process, what lessons were learned about information and the information gathering, as well as insights about the information sources used; observations about secondary and background research related to the thesis, and any legal or ethical issues related to the information gathering process.
  4. The thesis should show an awareness of current trends in the relevant discipline/disciplines.
  5. The students should give appropriate attribution to the primary and secondary sources that were consulted.
  6. The student must provide complete citations for works used in the thesis and these references must be in proper citation format.
  7. The thesis should show evidence that the student understands the ethical and legal use of information.

For more information, please contact Wendi Keeler,  814-863-5449 or, or Jeff Knapp, Committee Chair, 814-867-6051 or