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Open to US citizens and non US citizens
Deadline: 03/29/2025 (Tentative)

General Information

Interested in how the Earth works? The Department of Earth & Environmental Science (EES) provides several opportunities for you to undertake mentored research in a wide range of geoscience fields, including Dynamics and Structure of Earth Materials; Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate Sciences; Biogeochemistry and Global Environmental Change; Paleobiology/Geobiology. Students are encouraged to consult the EES departmental research webpage  and faculty profile pages.


The Hayden Scholars Program aims to be a community of undergraduate researchers in the Earth and environmental sciences at Penn through extra-curricular research experiences affiliated with the Earth Science (EASC) major and the Department of Earth and Environmental Science. The program will train students for success as future Earth scientists through mentoring and in doing so, encourage students to go on to pursue advanced degrees in Earth or environmental sciences; develop collegial relationships and interactions amongst students and faculty as well as other professionals; and cultivate scientific, data analysis, presentation, networking and other workforce skills, while strengthening the Earth and Environmental Sciences undergraduate programs.

Academic Year Program

Did you know you can leverage your work-study award into an Undergraduate Research Assistant position? The Hayden Scholars Academic Year Research Program aims to introduce potential ENVS and EASC majors to the research enterprise of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science. Supplemental funding is available for identified student work-study awardees for up to $15/hour and 20 hours per week to work under the direct supervision and mentorship of a faculty member.

Students in good standing with the University, holding a work-study award, enrolled in up to their fourth semester prior to, or in the process of, declaring a major are eligible to participate. Students cannot apply directly. Instead, the faculty member you will be working for will apply on your behalf.

Summer Programs

1. Hayden Summer Scholars

Funding: Hayden Scholars will receive an award of $5,500 for a minimum of 10-week summer internship. Additional weeks can be negotiated at $15/hr up to 30hrs/wk. Scholars can also apply separately for additional funds for research materials and expenses, research travel and/or travel to present research results at national or international conferences (e.g., AGU, GSA, etc.). Please note that any requests for travel will need to comply with all University guidance and regulations concerning COVID-19.

Eligibility: Preference is given to declared or prospective Earth Science (EASC) and Environmental Studies (ENVS) majors intending to do research with faculty associated with the Department of Earth and Environmental Science (EES). Non-majors working with EES faculty, or EASC and ENVS majors working with non-EES faculty will also be considered. Emphasis will be placed on independent research that is to be initiated, designed and executed by the student rather than the placement of students into existing faculty research programs. A committee consisting of the Undergraduate Chair and a faculty member of EES will review applications and select students each year.

Application: Students must apply to the Hayden Scholars Program through the Hayden Scholars Application Form. All applications must be received by March 26th.

  • Research Proposal: Describe the project you intend to undertake. With whom will you work? What is exciting, new, or valuable about your project? What scientific contribution will it make? What do you plan to do? How do you plan to do it? What are the project’s goals, and why is it important? How is it similar to different from your mentor’s ongoing research program? (max 500 words, excluding a list of references)
  • Personal Statement: Describe how this project fits with your academic, personal, or career plans for the future, and with your current academic, personal, and career interests and activities. (max 500 words)
  • Upload a copy of your unofficial transcript

In addition, you will need to request a letter of recommendation from your research mentor through the application process above. The letter should acknowledge their support and the relationship (if any) between the proposed work and the mentor’s ongoing research program.

Expected Outcomes: Hayden Summer Scholars are required to present their research at the CURF Fall Research Expo. Presentation of the research at a conference (e.g., GSA, AGU) or publication of the research in the peer-review literature is a goal, but not a requirement.

2. The Hayden Summer Research Community

Any ENVS or EASC major or non-major conducting research with EES faculty, whether funded through the Hayden Summer Scholars program or not, can join the Hayden Summer Research Community and meet regularly with a rotation of EES faculty and the other undergraduate research fellows over free lunches to discuss their research, provide peer review and support, learn best practices, and grow as scientists. Examples of summer informational sessions during weekly meetings emphasize “soft skills” and could include:

  • Getting started with… (Excel/R/SPSS/Python/Matlab, …)
  • Best practices in… (data management, record keeping, …)
  • Making a research poster
  • Designing a research talk
  • Publishing research in the scientific literature
  • Post-graduate opportunities (grad school, workforce networking, …)

All Hayden Summer Research Community members will be encouraged to participate in the CURF Fall Research Expo to present their work to a broader audience.

Funding Type


Research Offering Type

Independent Research



Undergraduate School

College, Engineering



Contact Information