At Penn, undergraduates do research too! In support of these efforts and other fellowships, College Houses & Academic Services and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) coordinates one of the only interdiscplinary support programs on campus. Each College House selects a Research Fellow (RF) who is given academic and monetary support to pursue an 18-month research project of their own design. In conjunction with House faculty and staff, the Research Fellows also present informal research events in their Houses and apply to present their findings at Penn’s Annual Undergraduate Research Conference during Quaker Days.
Goals of the Program
• To involve more undergraduates in research at all levels and in all disciplines
• To provide instruction on how to put together a fellowship or research proposal
• To increase student contact with faculty inside and outside of the College Houses
• To build intellectual community within and across the Houses
• To give students tools for success that they can use inside and outside of the classroom (not only writing and research, but also public presentation/speaking, interacting with peer researchers, and event planning)
Role of the College House Research Fellow
Every College House RF will serve as a resource to other undergraduates, particularly residents of the House that selected him or her. They will have the responsibility for planning and organizing one or two informal research events for College House residents. In addition, the RF will contribute to the Quaker Days Research Conference (as either a planner or presenter).
Each individual College House may further define the role of their particular research fellow, who may be asked, for instance, to present their research to other residents, or to help mentor the candidates preparing to apply for the following year's RF position.
Sometime after they are selected, the RFs will receive a short list of dates to hold the following spring semester for dinners and meetings with other College House RFs, as well a the date for the Quaker Days Research Conference.
All RFs will work directly with faculty and staff in College Houses as well as the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF).
Through the College House Research Fellowship, I was provided the education and resources to start my own research project on the politics of British New Wave cinema. This project analyzed the political motives and environment these politically liberal films had in the larger frame of British politics in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Not only did this relate directly to my political science major, but additionally the research simply required me to sit down and study the films and plays I enjoy reading. Thanks to my study of British politics, I now wish to enter electoral politics after law school. The research project has also paid dividends in other parts of my education. It has helped me obtain a research position with the particle physics group at Penn and gave me the opportunity to give back to the College House system. As a House manager in Gregory College House, I invite professors from across the University to come speak about their research. These small colloquial talks in the College House are great opportunities to learn about research and connect with professors outside the lecture hall. We have had the opportunity to host professors from the graduate School of Engineering to the Department of Economics. With the College House Research Fellowship, I have been afforded the opportunity to build my research within my dormitory and throughout Penn.
— RICHIE DIURBA, C’18
Gregory College House Research Fellow 2015-16