Center for the Study of Sports in Society to sponsor undergraduate grant program

Alison Kuznitz
March 14, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society will sponsor a grant program this summer for undergraduate students interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary research experience.

The center — established in November — aims to evaluate the role of sports in past and present cultures, said Mark Dyreson, the director for programs and research. More than 45 faculty members representing various academic colleges are affiliated with the center.

Up to four exploration grants in the amount of $2,000 are available to Penn State students from all campuses, with applications due by April 15.

The funding can cover living expenses and project costs, including travel as outlined by the research methodology.

Dyreson emphasized the center defines “sports” in broad terms, providing applicants with flexibility in selecting a project within a given social context.

“They can look at the economics of a particular sport, or in business, they look at marketing strategies for attracting and retaining fans,” said Dyreson, who is also a sports historian and professor of kinesiology. “We have research on sport and health issues — concussions in a variety of sports. We have statisticians who are interested in big data in sports.”

Areas of anthropological research could include investigating the relationships between sports and gender, national identity or rural communities, Dyreson said.

Though grant recipients will work under the supervision of a faculty member, the projects should be largely student-initiated. “This is a job where they can exert some intellectual autonomy and creativity,” Dyreson said.  

Applicants must complete an online information form, alongside a two- to four-page project proposal explaining the research or question goal. A faculty supervisor must also submit a one-page recommendation.        

The faculty committee from the Center for the Study of Sports in Society will evaluate applications on the grounds of scholarly nature, significance, student engagement, faculty collaboration and faculty recommendation. Grant recipients will be notified by May 1.

“We want to see the quality of the project itself — its creativity and its potential for exposure in the broader world, altering the way people think about the connections between sports and society,” Dyreson said.

Students may choose to spend the summer at University Park or a Commonwealth campus, as well as at other relevant locations tied to their research inquiries.

Following the grant program, students will be expected to submit a report and present their research at scholarly forums during the academic year.

Click here to learn more about the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society 2017 Undergraduate Research Exploration Grant. 

Research Opportunities for Undergraduates are part of 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

Last Updated July 28, 2017