Altoona students participate in the first cohort of the undergraduate research program


ALTOONA, PA – Nine students from Penn State Altoona’s four academic divisions participated in the first cohort of the Altoona Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship (ASURF) program.

The program supported each student with a stipend of $ 3,500 to engage in intensive research or creative work during the summer of 2021, allowing them to immerse themselves in their work with fewer distractions. Students also attended six weeks of professional development workshops on ethics, literature review, value of research, development of research presentations, graduate study applications and publication of research. Additionally, they had the opportunity to discuss their research with faculty members, who then shared their own journeys with undergraduate research.

Thanks to ASURF, the students and their mentors produced two manuscripts under review, one in progress, and a completed visual arts project. Several other works are in progress. Students will be exhibiting at the Altoona Exhibition and Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Fair to be held later in the academic year.

Information on ASURF applications for the summer 2022 cohort will be available in the coming months.

ASURF 2021 cohort

  • Philip Chamberlin, supervised by Ivy Ahiabu, assistant professor of physics
  • Kassie Evans, supervised by Edward Levri, professor of biology
  • Rae Griffin, mentored by Nathan Kruis, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, and Nicholas Rowland, Professor of Sociology
  • Kaleb Knowles, supervised by Sohail Anwar, professor of engineering
  • Yuanjun Pan, supervised by Yimin Zhu, associate professor of chemistry
  • Payton Perry, mentored by Nathan Kruis, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
  • Madisyn Simington, supervised by Sophie Brenneman, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts
  • Kristen Taylor, supervised by Yimin Zhu, associate professor of chemistry
  • Jessica Tomasko, supervised by Juan Gil, math teacher

In the summer of 2021, students at Penn State Altoona participated in the inaugural cohort of the Altoona Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (ASURF) program. Photographed on July 28, 2021, are (left to right) students Yuanjun Pan, Philip Chamberlin, Kaleb Knowles, Kristen Taylor, Kassie Evans, Madisyn Simington and Jessica Tomasko.

Image: Lara LaDage

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