Penn Engineering Rachleff Scholars Program Fosters Research, Leadership, and Community Outreach

October, 2008

PHILADELPHIA –- The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania has established the Rachleff Scholars, a multi-faceted honors program offering undergraduates the opportunity to conduct research with University faculty, organize partnerships with regional industry and perform community outreach with students and peers who share a common interest in engineering research and scholarly inquiry.

Rachleff Scholars will include students with interest in every Penn Engineering department—bioengineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, computer and information science, electrical and systems engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering and applied mechanics, and will also offer students the possibility of pursuing interdisciplinary and personalized curricula.

"Our goal is to attract extraordinary students and infuse them with a passion for creative careers in engineering by pairing them as quickly as possible with the most inspiring faculty in the field," said Jan Van der Spiegel, director of the Rachleff Scholars program and a professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Penn. "The program will create a social and intellectual community that will empower the students and make them lifelong leaders in technological innovation."

The Rachleff Scholar program will include honors and graduate-level courses that teach students to design and carry out their own projects and research, to read and understand scientific material and technical papers, to evaluate technical contributions in critical ways, and to work alongside world-renowned faculty to co-author peer-reviewed articles.

Students in the program will participate in a 10 to 12-week paid summer research experience for academic credit, to be conducted under the supervision and mentorship of a standing Penn faculty member. Rachleff Scholars will be given opportunities to meet, interact and work with national leaders in the creation of technology.

In addition, Rachleff Scholars will have the opportunity to work with their peers outside the classroom and laboratory through community-building activities that will enable them to gain broader skills and knowledge.

The program is made possible by a gift from Debra and Andrew Rachleff. Andy is a Penn Trustee, Chair of the Board of Overseers of Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and partner and co-founder of Benchmark Capital. He is also a lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.