Applications sought for new Undergraduate Research Ambassadors program

August 07, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring (URFM) is seeking applications for ambassadors for a new program that promotes undergraduate research, beginning in fall 2020. Applicants are welcome from all academic disciplines and Penn State campuses.

The Undergraduate Research Ambassadors program is a volunteer opportunity for undergraduates who are passionate about promoting research at Penn State and helping others find their path. Ambassadors will participate in panel discussions and events, visit classes and student organizations, and meet individually with other undergraduates to help them get involved with research at their home campus. The program is a great way for students to gain mentorship experience if they’ve not previously had the chance to do so, as well as develop their communication and presentation skills.

Interested students should submit the following materials to URFM at a cover letter; a current resume or CV; an unofficial transcript; and one letter of recommendation from a research mentor that speaks to the student’s experience as a researcher and student leader. Mentors can directly email URFM with their letter. The first round of interviews is underway for the program but applications will still be accepted on a rolling basis.

Due to the program being new this year and with COVID-19 uncertainties, there are no weekly schedule and time commitments for the first year, and the program will be flexible for the ambassadors. All meetings and events will be conducted remotely.

The program is a joint effort between URFM and Autumn Deitrick, a civil engineering major and Schreyer Scholar at Penn State. Deitrick worked with URFM previously on applications for the Erickson Discovery Grant and the Goldwater Scholarship, both of which she ended up earning.

“Realizing how instrumental the University Research and Fellowships Mentoring (URFM) Office has been in my growth as a researcher, I thought that a peer mentorship program would coincide greatly with their mission and vision,” Deitrick said.

Autumn Deitrick poses with research poster

Autumn Deitrick, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

IMAGE: Submitted

“During my junior year, I dedicated my time to applying for research opportunities and scholarships/fellowships to help fund my research,” she added. “Many of the essays associated with these pursuits required reflection on my research experience as an undergraduate. Thinking back on the steps that I took to become involved in research and apply for awards to support this effort, I realized just how much time I had spent building my knowledge base.”

URFM Director Caitlin Ting said Deitrick was instrumental in getting the program started.

“In conversations with Autumn, we have discussed the tremendous impact undergraduate research has had on her college experience and personal growth,” Ting said. “Still, it remains elusive to many students. I hear often from students that they are interested in getting involved in research, but they aren't actually sure of what steps to take.”

“I am grateful to have Autumn as a partner in launching this endeavor,” she said. “She offers critical insight on what Penn State needs and will be able to provide unique encouragement and support to her peers. I am excited to see what we accomplish together in the coming year.”

Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring is part of the Penn State Office of 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 August 07, 2020