Fall 2021 Student Engagement Network grant applications open Aug. 16

August 15, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Student Engagement Network (SEN) will open applications on Aug. 16 for a new round of grants that will support undergraduate engagement experiences during fall 2021 and winter break. Engagement experiences can take many forms and grants can help students cover many kinds of costs.

The deadline to apply for a SEN grant is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5. The application and additional information can be found here. Award decision notifications will be sent during the week of Sept. 13, and all engagement experiences during this grant cycle should be completed by Jan. 7, 2022.

Undergraduate students from all Penn State campuses are invited to apply. Students who are granted funding will receive $1,000 or $2,000 to complete their experience during the fall 2021 semester and are required to participate in the SEN Online Canvas course (no tuition cost, noncredit bearing), centered on the student engagement journey. Each student also will be assigned an engagement coach to help them complete their engagement experience. A total of $90,000 in grants will be awarded for fall 2021.

Projects must comply with federal, state, local and University policies related to COVID-19 safety.

Below are examples of the types of engagement experiences SEN will consider for funding. Students and faculty are encouraged to reach out to SEN staff if they have questions about engagement grants.

  • Undergraduate research.
  • Professional experiences.
  • Community-based learning.
  • Creative accomplishments.
  • Courses with an out-of-class component.
  • Organizational experiences.
  • Peer mentoring.
  • Self-directed student engagement.
  • Volunteerism.
  • Employment experiences.
  • Study away/study abroad experience.

During fall 2020, students worked through the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic to undertake many kinds of engagement experiences.

Chen-Yu Lo, a biology major in the Eberly College of Science, used his SEN grant to support his neuroscience thesis research during fall 2020 in the Kwapis Lab.

“My motivation for completing this experience has to do with my desire to explore more about the research environments and gain research experience as an undergrad,” Lo said in a video explaining his work.

He added that the experience gave him invaluable contact with professors and graduate students, who shared their academic and career paths.

“These are priceless experiences that I would never have gained without this journey,” Lo said.

Other engagement experiences include researching inequity for students in pre-health careers, using additive manufacturing to print smart ceramic, and interning with Suncoast Waterkeeper, a nonprofit organization that advocates for environmental protection.

To see more examples of previously funded projects, visit engage.psu.edu/stories.

The Student Engagement Network is a joint initiative between Undergraduate Education, Student Affairs, and Outreach and Online Education. The mission of the Student Engagement Network is to advance the power of participation by connecting students with experiences that empower them to make a positive impact as citizens and leaders of the world.

Last Updated August 20, 2021