Graduate Research Experience and Transitioning to Grad School (GREaT GradS) Program

The GREaT GradS program aims to bridge the summer gap between undergraduate and graduate studies at Penn State through 6-weeks of professional development, graduate-level research, resource awareness, and mentoring. The shift to graduate school can be difficult for all students, and the program activities address a known need for unique support of underrepresented minority students during this critical transition period in their academic careers. The long-term goal of the program is to increase retention and improve success of graduate students in STEM fields. Participants are paired with student mentors from previous cohorts to build community and a network of support in addition to being placed in a lab where they are expected to conduct roughly 35 hours of research per week.  Program curriculum included career panels/seminars, networking, science communication, practical skill building (e.g., financial literacy, how to read a journal article, CV/Resume/LinkedIn), and exposure to university resources (e.g., Writing Center, Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Counseling and Psychological Services, Libraries).


MRSEC staff work with admissions teams in Chemistry, Materials Science & Engineering, and Physics to select students to invite to participate in the GREaT GradS program. Offers are sent out in collaboration with graduate admissions offers. Cohorts are typically 6-8 students/summer.


The program runs for 5 weeks (2024 dates: July 1 - August 2). Participants are paid a competitive stipend of $6,000, with one way travel to Penn State covered, and subsidized housing on campus is available for the duration of the program if desired.