Spark Program

The Spark Program offers select undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about fellowship opportunities, high-impact educational experiences, and University resources, while providing them with the tools to develop into competitive fellowship applicants.

The Spark Program at Penn State is a joint initiative between Penn State University Libraries and Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring (URFM). Originally developed by the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, the Spark Program was launched at University Park spring 2018.

The Spark Program brings together select first- and second-year undergraduates and introduces them to nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships, as well as University resources. Participants are expected to meet individually with representatives of URFM during the program.

Interested students must submit a statement (see Participate in the Spark Program) to be considered for the program. Participants must commit to attending at least eight of the workshops.

Few of the fellowship opportunities introduced cover the expenses of medical, dental, law, or pharmacy school. Therefore, the Spark Program may not as relevant for students who plan on pursuing these career paths.

Participants of the Spark Program are introduced to such topics as participating in undergraduate research and making the most of their undergraduate careers at Penn State, writing a personal statement, and applying for national and international fellowships. The program is designed to give participants the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and technical writing, envision their future, and create a plan to help them along their envisioned path, ultimately helping participants develop into competitive candidates for major fellowship opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Tentative Program Schedule

Week 1: Welcome to the Spark Program and an overview of fellowships.

Week 2: Student panel with Spark alumni, fellowship recipients, and Undergraduate Research Ambassadors.

Week 3: "What are your strengths?" workshop with Career Services.

Week 4: Choose your own adventure: Community and civic engagement.

Week 5: Oh the places you can go! Globalizing your undergraduate experience.

Week 6: Research roundtable with research mentors.

Week 7: Telling your story through application materials.

For Fall 2022, an in-person program will be conducted Tuesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 PM Eastern at University Park. A remote program will be offered Wednesdays from 5:30 – 7:00 PM Eastern over Zoom. Both programs will begin the week of October 3 and run through the week of November 14. Applications are welcome from all campuses. Participants are expected to attend at least seven of the eight workshops.

Application and Decision Timeline

Late July – Application Opens
Late August – Application Deadline
Mid-September – Decision Notification

The application is currently closed. Please check back later!

SPRING 2021

Sarah Alexander
Ahmad Alrefai
Julia Briselli
Caroline Conroy
Gabrielle Davis
Christina DeAngelo
Peyton Harris
Shana Hartwick
Jamie Kantorczyk
Sanika Kinare
Sonia Kumar
Muggs Leone
Yuan Li
Michael Licata
Alexandra Loomis
Caroline Most
Meghan Nguyen
John Park
Graham Pease
Meghan Quaid
Hedaya Sharbaji
Sabrina Smith
Shixing Yuan
Alexandria Ziegler
Luke Zwicker

FALL 2020

Hamza Al-Aufi
Alex Benedict
Amelia Dodoo
Ernesto Estremera Jr.
Rachel Foster
Jessica Garcia
Katelyn  Lopez
Catlin Lowes
Erica Mi
Shruti Natal
Abhinav Pandey
Harshika Thard
Sharon Wu
Jianan Ye
Casey Zanowic

SPRING 2020

Olivia Cordano
Janiyah Davis
Nicholas Evans
Mya Haynes
Charlize Kenyatta
Abby Mikalauskas
Aubrey Miller
Colleen Nersten
Carley Anne Palkon
Cassidy Pitts
Kyra Pond
Nicholas Ryan
Michael Saylor
Allan Smith
Caeden Smith
Jada Spady
Ian Stahley
Julia West
Katerina Wood
Jarod Yu
Katon Zhang

FALL 2019

Ishaan Anavkar
Katie Kohlman
Sam Kupp
Daniela Lopez Melean
Kelly Matuszewski
Katie McRury
Julia Montevechi
Julen Omaechevarria
Oliva Piechocinski
Carita Reid
Jay Sim
Renee Sollenberger
Ava Sullivan
Harry Weidner

SPRING 2019

Nathan Bickus
Leah Bilker
George Gines
Gabrielle Henrichs
Travis Jalowiec
Yiming Jiang
Victoria LaRow
Emma LeMay
Ethan Liebross
Xavier Mack
Vanshika Madaan
Javier Montaner
Bram Nealon
Hudson Pepper
Scott Pike
Clarissa Pun
Oliver Rose
Renee Sollenberger
Victor Suhendra
Olivia Tancredi
Ashley Wagner
Xinrui Zhou

FALL 2018

Danielle Bradley
Erin Brown
Sofia Capece
Jessica Fantasia
Gabrielle Herman
Jacob Iwinski
Phoebe McClincy
Uchenna Nwodim
Katie Pighini
Steven Schneible
Skyler Sites
Abigail Slate
Nina Trach

SPRING 2018

Bianca Borda
Amanda Byrd
Cali Carper
Natalie Cummings
Alexa DeLuzio
Garrett Drum
Josh Forrest
Luke Guyer
David Kennedy
Sam Landmesser
Lauren Lipson
Chris Long
Aubrey McElrath
Michael Miller
Haley Myer
Kaleigh Quinnan
Charles Ryan
Lucy Spicher
Anastasia Wagner
Kelly Wallert
Owen Wing