University Fellowships Office adopts new name, expanded mission

July 07, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University Fellowships Office (UFO) has changed its name and expanded its mission to include undergraduate research. The newly renamed Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring (URFM) office will support undergraduates at all Penn State campuses in finding and securing not only fellowships, but also opportunities for undergraduate research.

“By combining support for fellowships and undergraduate research in the same office, URFM will be well-positioned to highlight the connections between these two areas of endeavor,” said Caitlin Ting, director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring. “Our staff looks forward to supporting students in securing both fellowships and research opportunities that will enrich and transform their education.”

The transformation of the University Fellowships Office to include undergraduate research will, for the first time, provide Penn State undergraduates with a central University office expressly dedicated to helping them discover undergraduate research opportunities. Ting explained that conversations between UFO mentors and the students they support have long included discussion of undergraduate research, given that many fellowships require prior experience in research, and given many undergraduates’ interest in research.

“Research has become a really meaningful conversation point for students, especially students early in their Penn State careers who want to lay the groundwork for future fellowships,” said Ting. “Our office’s expanded mission in many ways reflects what we have already been doing, and hopefully it will encourage even more students to turn to our staff for undergraduate research support.”

Undergraduate Research and Fellowship Mentoring offers a range of resources to connect students with enriching fellowships and research opportunities, including workshops and information sessions, one-on-one counseling with program staff and support from peer mentors. URFM is available to help students:

  • find the fellowships and research opportunities that align with their interests and goals;
  • connect with other students who have participated in the same or similar opportunities;
  • build their resumes in order to make themselves as competitive as possible;
  • develop their application materials; and
  • reflect on their fellowships or undergraduate research experiences.

URFM also offers support for graduate students, faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and other members of the Penn State community who wish to include undergraduates in their research projects.

URFM is currently delivering all services remotely through Zoom, given the continued need for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The office has always offered remote options to accommodate students learning at a distance from University Park, and this option will continue to be available indefinitely.

URFM will soon have an official presence on social media and the web. In the meantime, students can learn about URFM programming by following the University Fellowships Office on Facebook,  Instagram , and Twitter or by visiting ufo.psu.edu.

Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring, formerly the University Fellowships Office, is 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 undergrad.psu.edu.

Last Updated July 21, 2020