students working together on a project

Student Research

Student Research provides opportunities for undergraduate students to become involved in research or academically focused enrichment programs. The experience empowers students to better conceptualize course material in the classroom and determine areas of interest and to explore career paths. Students work with a faculty member and their team to understand and solve real-world problems.

Staff with student research will help you get started. Connecting to a research project can seem overwhelming, so student research staff can help you find out what topics are currently being researched in your area and offer guidance on how to best navigate the world of research. You can connect with them by attending an informational session or by emailing the office directly.

Academic Year Opportunities

Micro-credentials for Undergraduate Research

The Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion supports students and mentors involved in research. The Micro-credentials for Undergraduate Research are a series of digital badges that students can earn while they engage in a faculty-led research experience. The badges allow students and mentors to have a connected and engaged research experience that utilizes best practices for undergraduate research, facilitates effective conversations, and adds value to the student and mentor experience. In addition, the badges formally document the professional development experience of different levels of research engagement and outcomes that students can reference for future opportunities.

To enroll in this program, students should complete this online form.

Equity Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (Equity REU)

The Equity Research Initiative aims to broaden the undergraduate student research experience and provide opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop skills in mentoring. The research and mentoring experiences gained through Equity REU will be transformative for faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and undergraduate students alike.

Undergraduate students dedicate 10 hours per week to a research project with a Penn State faculty member and that faculty member’s associated research group. Undergraduate students and their graduate student mentors also engage in monthly professional development sessions to complement their personal and professional portfolios.

While open to all students in the college, the program actively recruits students who fit the following criteria: students in first two years of study, female students, underrepresented racial minorities, change of campus students, and equity allies.

Upon completion of the program, students present their research at a poster symposium.

Additional Academic Year Opportunities

Many students start their research journey by starting in an REU program, but there are many other opportunities to connect with research such as faculty funding, research for credit or independent study, or funding through a private source like donor funding.

There are also additional research resources, including:

Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)

Programs for Students Internal and External to Penn State:

  • Drawdown Scholars Program: The Drawdown mission seeks to clarify a positive solutions-oriented path ahead for action on climate change. Drawdown Scholars work closely with Penn State faculty mentors and their respective graduate students to conduct laboratory, field, and/or modeling research to advance Drawdown strategies for reversing global warming.
  • Summer Research Opportunities Program: The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) is an eight-week research program designed to interest talented undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in academic careers and to enhance their preparation for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors. In addition to the research experience, the program includes professional development workshops, seminars, field trips, and social activities.

Additional Programs for Penn State Students to Explore:

Programs for Penn State Students with Other Home Campus Affiliations:

  • Multi-Campus Research Experience for Undergraduates: Students in the 8-week program are supported by two faculty members: one from the student’s home campus and one from University Park.
  • KAUST Gifted Students Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (KGSP REU): Designed to serve rising sophomores enrolled in Penn State through the KAUST gifted students’ program, the KGSP REU is a 6-week experience where students work with a faculty member and their research team to expose students to various aspects of research for science inquiry.

Additional research opportunities for undergraduate students:

Contact Information

  • Erin Hostetler
    Director of Student Research and Graduate Equity
  • Cindy Reed
    Assistant Director of Student Research and Graduate Equity

Additional REU Opportunities



Founded to serve students from groups underrepresented in engineering, the Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion assists College of Engineering students, faculty, and staff with equity and inclusion engagement. The center leads the implementation of evidence-based best practices to support student belonging and degree attainment, while also encouraging involvement with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion programs and organizations. All are welcome!

Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion

College of Engineering

112 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-4287