The Spark Program provides an opportunity to learn about high-impact educational experiences and prestigious scholarship and fellowship opportunities, as well as campus resources and the tools necessary to develop competitive applications.
About the Spark Program
- Originally developed at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
- Launched at Penn State University Park in spring 2018 and Penn State Behrend in fall 2019.
- A joint initiative between the Learning Resource Center and the Lilley Library as an extension of the program offered by the Undergraduate Fellowships office and 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 Learning Resource Center and Lilley Library.
- 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 pursuing these career paths.
Apply for the Spark Program
- Students must submit an online application to be considered for the program, as a limited number of spaces are available. Details about eligibility and the application process will be posted in September 2021.
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to recommend students. The recommendation form will be posted at this location by October 1, 2021.
Participants are introduced to such topics as navigating obstacles, student engagement, undergraduate research, and making the most of their undergraduate careers. The program provides the opportunity to develop critical thinking and technical writing skills. Students envision their future, create a plan to navigate their envisioned path, and develop into competitive candidates for major fellowship opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The program runs evenings over the course of seven weeks during the spring semester, excluding March break. Dinner is provided.
Application and Decision Timeline
- Mid-November: Application Opens
- Mid-January: Application Deadline
- Late January: Decision Notification
The application for first-year students is currently closed. Check back in November to apply!
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. The program gives 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 a pre-approved scholarship, research experience, or internship (application materials must include a personal narrative of some kind).
Application and Decision Timeline—To be announced.