Program Overview

Program Overview

Student applications for the 2021 program are available now!
Click on the prospective students tab to start your application (deadline is November 1st, 2020)


The PA Space Grant Research Internship Program is an exciting annual research focused program for students attending Penn State – University Park supported by the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium. The program offers first-year students a two-semester (spring and fall semesters of one calendar year) faculty mentored internship in a research laboratory at Penn State-UP. During the internship experience, students have the opportunity to collaborate with a research team, learn the language of research, and conduct experiments. Mentored by a faculty member, students are engaged in research activities that may include attending lab meetings, collecting and analyzing data, and working on high-tech instrumentation and software. Student interns also often work closely with graduate students and lab managers to collect data for their project and present their results at the annual WMF research symposium.

Each year, research groups/labs at Penn State-UP from various colleges post projects available for student interns. Colleges that participate in WMF include Earth and Mineral Sciences, Education, Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Health and Human Development, Liberal Arts, Information Sciences and Technology, and the Eberly College of Science. We carefully match student applicants with faculty mentors based on research interests, application information, and faculty preferences.

The PA Space Grant Research Internship Program has three ‘pathways‘ to apply: WISER, MURE, and FURP. Although they are named differently, all three pathways feed into one central internship program, and a student must qualify for at least one (or more) of the pathways described below to be eligible. We often refer to the internship program as WISER|MURE|FURP (or WMF for short).

WISER: Women in Science and Engineering Research.

Open to all first-year students but focuses on supporting outstanding women interested in pursuing research on campus.

MURE: Minority Undergraduate Research Experience

Supporting underrepresented minority students interested in pursuing research on campus that are in their first-year, sophomore, or junior years. Minority students are defined as African-American, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Islander. Students of Asian descent are not considered minority students by NASA.

FURP: First-year Undergraduate Research Program

Open to all first-year students interested in research; those with economic hardship are encouraged to apply.

In summary, the internship is available to first-year students who are U.S. citizens planning to pursue a degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related field. Minority students (as defined above) may also apply in their sophomore and junior years. Women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities or hardship are encouraged to apply.

Program Timeline

  • October 1st, 2020 – WMF applications are available
  • November 1st, 2020 – WMF applications are due
  • November, 2020 – Review of applications/interviews
  • November TBD, 2020WMF Research Symposium (for the 2020 student intern cohort)
  • late December, 2020 – Students/faculty are notified of student placements
  • Selected students begin their internship in January, 2021: two semesters spring 2021 and fall 2021 semesters (the internship does not extend into the summer)


Please direct questions related to laboratory selection or general questions related to WISER/MURE/FURP to Dr. Erin DiMaggio at: