Undergraduate Research Jumpstart Program

Program Overview

The UGRJ program is designed to provide the strategies and support students need to become a successful undergraduate researcher. The goal is to help students understand the nature of the research process and how to pursue undergraduate research at Penn State. In this program, students will explore resources and services that will help in identifying their research interests, while also gaining insight into the process of applying for undergraduate research opportunities.

By the completion of the program, students will have curated a toolkit personalized to their research interests!

Application and Decision Timeline

Applications will re-open in January 2024 for the spring semester.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many students get accepted into the program?

This is a competitive program that accepts about 15-20 students per cohort (30-40 students total for Fall 2023). Students are chosen for participation based on their application essay answers.

Am I guaranteed a position in an undergraduate research experience by the end of the program?

This program introduces students to the resources to help you locate research opportunities within Penn State and beyond- it does not guarantee you a position in an undergraduate research experience.

What if I cannot attend the meeting times? Can I still participate?

Unfortunately, participation in the weekly meetings is required to participate in the UGRJ program. Students must be able to attend at least 6 of the 7 scheduled meetings. You get from this program what you put into it!

Program Contact

Contact Danica E. White, Coordinator for Undergraduate Research & Engagement, dew5422@psu.edu with any questions you have about the program.


Week Session
Program Schedule
Wed. Sept. 20 (Virtual)
Thurs. Sept. 21 (In-person)

What is Research and Why Should I do It?

Week one will introduce students to the types of research they can participate in, and the benefits of getting involved, as an undergraduate student.

Wed. Sept. 27 (Virtual)
Thurs. Sept. 28 (In-person

Doing Research on Research

Week two will introduce students to "the scholarly conversation" and discuss methods for choosing a research topic and getting started on a literature review.


Wed. Oct. 4 (Virtual)
Thurs. Oct. 5 (In-person)

Research Within the Libraries & Beyond

During week three, students will be introduced to research resources with the University Libraries - Libraries databases, citation managers, finding subject librarians, Ask A Librarian (AAL), Search Bar, etc.

Wed. Oct. 11 (Virtual)
Thurs. Oct. 12 (In-person)

Nuts & Bolts of Finding Research Opportunities

During week four, Undergraduate Research & Fellowships Mentoring (URFM) will introduce students to the Penn State research database and how to find opportunities for research at Penn State.

Wed. Oct. 18 (Virtual)
Thurs. Oct. 19 (In-person)

Finding, and Communicating With, Faculty

A faculty research panel will join the week five meeting to answer student's questions about how to communicate with potential research mentors.

Wed. Nov. 1 (Virtual)
Thurs. Nov. 2 (In-person

Exploring Your Research Knowledge

Career Services will introduce students to the informational interview and how to make connections within the Penn State community for week six.

Wed. Nov. 8 (Virtual)
Thurs. Nov. 9 (In-person)

What's Next for Me?

For the last week of the program, students will discuss their goals going forward and complete a research goal plan.

Student Testimonials

“This program definitely helps discern the various aspects of undergraduate research that you have thought about and provides exposure to possibilities you didn't even know existed”. -Nandini M Natarajan

“The UGRJ Program played an essential role in building confidence about locating research opportunities and talking to faculty”. -Aiden Ochoa

“I now feel not only prepared but motivated to start my research journey.”- Kevin Mora

"I like the way that the program is set up and how it’s teaching us where to find research, how to write an application, etc. I think that the information provided to us in this program is more beneficial to us than what I thought the program was about.”

“Initially, I was confused about the application process. It was so much information all over the place. This program helped me organize all the resources. I am much [more] confident about the research process now.”

"This program made me feel so much more comfortable and confident in my ability to find and participate in undergraduate research!

“I think I was expecting to get help on how to make a good research application but have gotten a lot more than that. I think that I have learned a lot of useful skills on how to be a good applicant and not just write a good application.”

“I just thought we were going to fake research to learn about how to write papers. Now that we have done so much, I feel so much more informed. I feel really happy that I found so many resources and so much guidance.”