Ting appointed interim director of University Fellowships Office

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  — Dr. Caitlin Ting has been named the interim director of the University Fellowships Office (UFO), effective May 8.

Ting said her academic journey at Penn State has followed a common thread: aiding undergraduate students.

While pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and psychology, she worked as a tutor. Between earning a doctorate degree in psychology and language science and beginning as interim director, Ting took on a different relationship with students — as a lecturer.

“I’m really excited to work with undergraduates in this new capacity at the University Fellowship Office,” Ting said. “It just makes sense as the next step, as I can combine my experience applying for grants and writing papers with my interest in working with undergraduates.”

Ting is passionate about outreach and ensuring Penn State students are informed about the breadth of opportunities available to them.

She succeeds Tanya Furman, who spearheaded the UFO since December 2015.

“Dr. Ting brings tremendous experience, energy and capable creativity to the position, and is already deeply engaged in continued improvements to our website and the databases used for communication and student tracking,” Furman said.

Ting said fellowships and scholarships are accessible to students from all academic backgrounds at the University. The UFO can guide prospective applicants in finding the program best suited to their interests.

“The Fellowships Office is a great resource for students to discover opportunities that will help them translate what they’ve learned in the classroom to the outside world,” Ting said.

The UFO is expected to host “Fellowships 101” sessions throughout the year, introducing undergraduates to fellowship opportunities and their application and nomination processes. Theme weeks — including STEM Week, United Kingdom Fellowships Week, and Students from Nontraditional and Diverse Backgrounds Week — will continue as regular program offerings, as well.

“There are opportunities for every student and for every individual,” Ting said. “A GPA should not discourage anybody from applying. It is more about your story and how you fit the program.”

Intake forms are available on the UFO’s website to start the fellowships process. Though the bulk of applications are due during junior and senior years, Ting recommends exploring options and sharpening leadership skills as early as possible.

Among its recent efforts, the UFO has spotlighted the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Fulbright Program, with Penn State being named a top producer for the past five years.

Yet, Ting said she’s hoping to boost the number of recipients. “While I will place further emphasis on the Rhodes Scholarship, Mitchell Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship, I also want to grow the number of applicants from diverse fields. For example, we have never had a student from psychology apply for Goldwater and that would be terrific to see.” 

It’s a matter of raising awareness of the UFO, Ting said, and connecting program alumni with current students. Ting said she’s also committed to fostering relationships with the advising offices in every academic college, creating another pathway for fellowship recruitment.

A former Schreyer Scholar and recipient of the Erickson Discovery Grant, Ting said she took advantage of what Penn State had to offer.

“I keep finding that there are more and more opportunities available. I want to make sure that undergraduates know about them, too” Ting said.

The University Fellowships Office is a unit within Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.

Last Updated May 11, 2017