Apply for the Spark Program
The Spark Program offers select undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about high impact educational experiences, campus resources, and fellowship opportunities, while providing them with the tools to develop competitive fellowship applications. It is modeled after the program developed at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to recommend students and specify in the comments that the recommendation is for Spark.
About the Program
- A joint initiative between the University Fellowships Office and Penn State University Libraries
- A series of workshops held in the spring for first-year students and in the fall for second-year students
- Participants are expected to meet individually with the University Fellowships Office and Penn State University Libraries
- Students must submit an interest statement (see below) to be considered for the program
- Selected students should have a GPA of 3.3 or higher and have already made a positive impression on faculty and staff
- Participants must commit to attending at least six of the workshops
The opportunities that are discussed do not cover the expenses of medical, dental, law, or pharmacy school. Therefore, the Spark Program is not the best fit for students who plan on pursuing these career paths.
In the first-year program, participants are introduced to such topics as navigating obstacles, student engagement, undergraduate research, and making the most of their undergraduate careers at Penn State. 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.
The will meet Tuesday evenings, February 11th - March 31st, from 5:30 - 7 PM in Mann Assembly Room, Paterno Library. (We will not meet over March break.) Dinner is provided. Participants are expected to attend at least six of the seven workshops.
Application and Decision Timeline
- December 1 – Application Opens
- January 24 – Application Deadline
- January 31 – Decision Notification
In the second-year program, participants are introduced to such topics as developing a personal mission statement, preparing typical application materials, requesting strong letters of recommendation, and making the most of their undergraduate careers at Penn State. The program is designed to give participants the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and technical writing, and envision their future. Throughout the program, participants work on the application materials for one of four opportunities (Fulbright U.K. Summer Institutes, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Student Engagement Network Grant, Erickson Discovery grant) OR a pre-approved research experience or internship (application materials must include a personal narrative of some kind).
The program meets Tuesday evenings throughout October and November. Dinner is provided. Participants are expected to attend at least six of the seven workshops.
Application and Decision Timeline
- June – Application Opens
- September 13 – Application Deadline
- September 20 – Decision Notification
The application is currently closed. Check back in August to submit your interest statement!