RE-Who? REU! Research Experiences for Undergraduates

by Jamie Grant, C’98, GEd ’99

Considering research this summer, in the future, or for your career?

A research-based experience is one of the primary ways in which undergraduate students – even freshmen – can gain experience and knowledge beyond the classroom, most especially in the early years of their education.  While many opportunities exist throughout the year – on campus with faculty, in labs, as part of nearby facilities like HUP and CHOP, among many other places – a few special programs exist in the summer months to help students gain specialized research experience.

The most notable of these programs, in my opinion, is the National Science Foundation-sponsored “Research Experience for Undergraduates” programs – NSF-REUs for short.

NSF-REU experiences offer a multitude of benefits to participating students, including the opportunity to:

  • work in small, diverse yet focused groups with noted faculty on novel topics
  • complete guided and independent research in areas including:
    • economics
    • engineering (a variety of fields available including nanotech, clean energy, biomedical, chemical and others)
    • ethics and values studies
    • mathematics
    • physics
    • sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, and others)
    • social sciences (psychology, criminology, diversity and inclusion, social aspects of hurricanes, anthropology, sustainability, politics and political science, civil conflict management,
    • technology (cyberinfrastructure, Department of Defense, etc.)
    • and more!
  • be published in well-respected publications and return to school with impressive projects to add to your resume
  • receive a highly competitive salary (referred to as stipends, typically ranging from $3,000 – $5,000) and often also receive additional funding to cover housing and/or meals
  • participate in fun activities organized by the site host
  • and more (benefits vary by location)

Sites can be found right here in Philadelphia, at UPenn and Drexel, as well as across the country and around the world (there are even polar research sites in the Arctic!)

Click on the below link to see a list of topics and find your site within.  Most students apply to more than one program, and individual requirements and deadlines (which can vary) are included on each program’s page.

And, if you’d like to speak with a Penn student who has done an REU or any other type of research, be sure to use the Penn Internship Network to search:

Best of luck in your search for a research opportunity – it’s a surefire way to build a great resume and potentially launch a lifelong career!

Global Volunteering Fair: TODAY!

Global Volunteering Fair, Wednesday, February 3, from 5 pm to 8 pm, Houston Hall, Hall of Flags

Co-sponsored by and Career Services

At the Global Volunteering Fair, attendees will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with representatives of organizations that coordinate volunteer projects around the globe, including:

• Amigos de las Americas
• Cross-Cultural Solutions
• Earthwatch Institute
• Global Citizens Network
• Greenheart Travel
• MASA Israel Journey
• Peace Corps
• Projects Abroad
• SIT Graduate Institute
• Visions in Action
• WorldTeach

For more information, including a schedule for the day and an updated list of organizations who’ll be at the event, as well as to register (which is free), please visit Global Volunteering Fair Philly. Also, before attending the Global Volunteering Fair, please consider checking out the International Volunteerism Resource Center to learn more about strategies and options for serving abroad:

In addition, we will be offering two concurrent workshops:

Affordable Volunteering Abroad, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, Ben Franklin Room, Houston Hall
Between airfare, living expenses, and potential program fees, the cost of doing good abroad can really add up. Fortunately, there are lots of great options to fit what you can afford. This workshop will cover tips and ideas for budgeting, raising funds, and finding the right international volunteer opportunity for you – whether it’s with a global service organization that provides you with transportation and a stipend, paying for an all-inclusive volunteer abroad program, or going abroad on your own.

International Volunteerism 101, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Ben Franklin Room, Houston Hall
Who can I volunteer with? What kinds of projects are available? How do I choose the right opportunity for me? These topics and more will be discussed by a panel of representatives from volunteer-sending organizations with opportunities around the globe.