Undergraduate Research Opportunities Database

Our database is a great resource in helping students find exciting undergraduate research opportunities at Penn State.

To get the best results, we recommend that you select all of the research areas that interest you. We also recommend that you conduct multiple searches.

Campus – Select the campus(es) where you would be interested in participating in research. Depending on the time of year when you are using the database, consider whether your location changes. For example, do you spend your summers closer to a different campus than where you regularly attend school?

Research Area – Select the area(s) of research that interest you most, keeping in mind that research is often interdisciplinary so it might be appropriate to select more than one area. For example, if you are interested in health you might want to search for opportunities in the physical sciences, life sciences, and nursing and health sciences, because these research areas could all be relevant to your interest in health.

Position Type – Select the position type(s) that are most appealing to you. If you prefer whether you earn credit versus being paid, be sure to narrow down the search results using this field.

Note: You may not receive academic credit and be paid for the same research experience in a given semester.

  • “Work Study” is only available to students who have received a federal work-study (FWS) award. You can verify if you have an FWS award by visiting LionPATH and reviewing your "Financial Aid Summary.” If you do not have a federal work-study award, your mentor can also inquire with the Office of Student Aid - 814-865-6301 - to determine if you are eligible to be awarded one.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive database of all the research opportunities available at Penn State. Please visit our Finding an Opportunity at Penn State section for other ideas for finding a research opportunity!

Mentors interested in creating an account or posting an opportunity should visit the Posting Undergraduate Research Opportunities section.
 

Hold Ctrl key or Command to select multiple options.
Title Description Research Area(s) Position Type(s) Work Setting(s) Updated Date
Flow-induced crystallization of polymers

Semi-crystalline polymers are a very important class of engineering thermoplastic. When subjected to flow, the polymer chains get stretched and crystallize more readily. We try to understand this flow-induced crystallization using AFM, calorimetry, optical microscopy, rheology and X-ray scattering experiments. Ongoing polymer crystallization projects include polyethylene, polypropylene, poly(ethylene oxide), poly(ether ether ketone), and polyamides.

Engineering
Volunteer
On campus
November 13, 2023
Black Writers of Pennsylvania Website

Begun in 2003, Black Writers of PA is an ongoing project to build and maintain a biographical and bibliographical online resource featuring post-World War II African American literary artists of Pennsylvania. The site features Black writers who were born and raised in Pennsylvania, those currently residing or working in the state, those who lived in PA for a significant period of time in the past, and also those whose experiences in Pennsylvania, even if relatively brief, had a significant impact on their writing careers. The resource includes both well-known and emerging writers, from canonical authors to those who are just beginning to publish their work. The purpose of the project is to increase awareness and understanding about Pennsylvania's rich and living African...

Humanities
Credit, Volunteer
On campus, Hybrid
November 13, 2023
Polyelectrolyte Solution Rheology

Chemists who synthesize ion-containing polymers must grapple with a severe hindrance - that of accurately measuring the molecular weight of their products. The lack of generally effective methods for determining this fundamental quantity retards research on ionic polymers, which find uses in water purification, energy conversion and storage, massive industrial scale electrolysis and other molecular separations. We are developing four methods that utilize easily measured dynamic properties of semidilute unentangled solutions of ionic polymers to obtain the number-average molecular weight Mn. Each method relies on specific combinations of calibrated measurements so that each method directly determines the number density of chains in solution and thus Mn. These...

Engineering
Volunteer
On campus
November 3, 2023
Polyvinylalcohol Solution Rheology in collaboration with Proctor & Gamble

Proctor & Gamble uses poly(vinyl alcohol) for the casings of pods that hold laundry and dishwasher detergents. This polymer is good at hydrogen bonding and forms associating polymer solutions in water, which imparts interesting rheology (flow properties). Various other additives such as salts and surfactants can enhance the association effects in interesting ways. Adding hydrogen bond accepting molecules like dimethylsulfoxide or tetramethyl urea and lower the viscosity by preventing assoications. Our group studies aqueous poly(vinyl alcohol) solution rheology and the phase boundaries of these solutions. The best undergraduates involved get the opportunity to do summer or coop internships at Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati.

Engineering
Volunteer
On campus
November 3, 2023
Solutions of Native Cellulose in Ionic Liquids

Certain ionic liquids are good at breaking hydrogen bonds and can dissolve native cellulose and chitin, the two most abundant polymer natural resources on Earth. For many years humans have chemically modified cellulose to make it soluble for fiber spinning and coating. By dissolving native cellulose in ionic liquids, all the hydrogen bonding in wood allows higher modulus fibers and since the ionic liquids can be easily recovered, this new processing of native cellulose is very green and sustainable. Our group studies rheology (flow properties) of ionic liquid solutions of polysaccharides that currently include cellulose, chitin , pullulan and xanthan.

Physical Sciences
Volunteer
On campus
November 3, 2023
Computational Astrophysics

I mainly study massive star winds that are driven by radiation. However, it involves significant amount of numerical computation, visualization and analysis of large data sets. However, I am seeking student involvements in a wide range of other topics that require numerical computations/computer modeling. For example, supernovae, accretion disks, solar winds, planetary magnetospheres (like Jupiter) etc. I have experience with a number of different astrophysical numerical codes such as Zeus-MP, FLASH, PLUTO, AMRVAC. Most of them use Fortran, but PLUTO uses C programming language. These codes are very versatile and I will be happy to guide any interested student in learning and applying these tools. An ideal student will be familiar with Unix/Linux type of computer operating system, know...

Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Credit, Volunteer
On campus, Remote
November 3, 2023
Pennsylvania Gambling Survey

The Survey Research Center is collecting data for the Pennsylvania Interactive, Online Gaming Annual Study, a state-wide study to assess impacts of online gambling in Pennsylvania. The study is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. It has been designed to provide accurate, reliable, and representative data on Pennsylvanians' gambling. Residents across Pennsylvania (PA) have an equal chance of being selected to participate in this telephone survey that allows participants to share their experiences with online gambling. The project incorporates yearly data collection and includes an annual report of the findings. Since PA recently legalized online gaming, we are in a unique position to measure engagement and the impacts. This evidence will guide...

Any, Business, Communications and Journalism, Humanities, International Relations, Political Science, and Law, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Paid
On campus
November 2, 2023
Survey Research Center Part-Time Positions

The Survey Research Center (SRC) provides high-quality, cost-effective survey research services to faculty around the University. The SRC is part of the Penn State Social Science Research Institute and supports interdisciplinary research that addresses critical human and social problems at the local, national, and international levels. For 20 years, the SRC has played a central role in data collection efforts with Penn State faculty, research scientists, and graduate students. In any given year, the SRC supports over 50 projects from across the university and larger research community. Services range from developing, designing, conducting and evaluating scientific surveys of the general public, to targeting specific populations such as high school students, business managers, cancer...

Business, Communications and Journalism, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Credit, Paid
On campus
November 2, 2023
The Child Health Study

Study Purpose:

The primary purpose of this study is to learn more about the different ways in which the environment and biology can affect a person's health over their lifetime. Children beginning at the age of 8 along with one of their caregivers spends a day visiting The Center for Healthy Children at Penn State to help us learn about their different life experiences and environments and how these shapes human development. The information we gather during these visits will help us achieve our long-range goal of understanding more about children, adolescents, and their families to improve health outcomes.

Research Assistant Benefits:

  • Independent research credit
  • Valuable, cutting edge research experience
  • Opportunity for a senior honors thesis (...
Communications and Journalism, Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Credit, Variable, Volunteer, Work Study
On campus
November 2, 2023
Research Assistant Positions in the Dismantling Racial inEquities Around Mental health (DREAM) Lab

Description of Lab: The Dismantling Racial inEquities Around Mental Health (DREAM) Lab at Penn State is recruiting volunteer research assistants! The DREAM Lab is directed by Dr. Chardee Galan, an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Child Clinical Area (https://galanlab.org/). Our lab aims to: 1) advance research on the mental health effects of racism on youth and families of color, including work on racial trauma; 2) develop and test interventions that leverage cultural strengths to promote resilience and mitigate the detrimental effects of racism on youth and families of color; and 3) address key drivers of racial inequities in mental health, including the lack of culturally humble mental health providers and the perpetration of...

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Credit, Volunteer
On campus, Remote
November 2, 2023