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For Accepted Students:

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Contact SUNFEST:

Mailing Address:
203 Moore Building
University of Pennsylvania
200 S. 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6314


Program Activities and Requirements for Enrolled Students

For a complete view of the dates and times of the activities below, see the SUNFEST calendar.

1. Start-up meeting
Starts at 10:30am. For the room please check the Sunfest Calendar. Slides of the start up meeting: (Download Slides)

2. Research involvement
Your main responsibility is doing research under the supervision of a faculty member and his/her graduate student(s) on a project of your choice. Regular hours are 9 to 5pm; however, in many cases you may want to spend more time in the lab, depending on the nature of your experiments. Discuss this with your research supervisor. In addition, the program offers a variety of enhancement activities that will help you in doing your research, communicating the results (both oral and written), finding the latest information in the scientific literature, and reflecting on the ethical issues and implications of research. We are also asking you to help us evaluate the program through a couple of questionnaires and meetings with our assessment person.

3. Seminar on "Conducting Research"
This will help you to develop good research methods, and to understand what is involved in doing research, finding information, keeping notes, etc. This seminar is presented early on in the program.

4. Seminars on Ethical Issues of Engineering Research
There will be three seminars during which you'll learn and discuss issues related to ethics in research and your profession. The seminars will emphasize student involvement. The workshops will be giving by Professors Katherine Kuchenbecker and Max Mintz.

5. Workshops on Writing and Information Searching & Evaluation
These workshops are intended to provide you with information about and practice in skills needed for writing your final report, including finding up to date research articles.

Workshop 1: Writing

  • For date consult the Sunfest Calendar
  • Before the workshop: Writing Assignment One: Write a short proposal outlining your project for the summer. (Guidelines for Writing Assignment One are here)
  • During the workshop you’ll receive feedback on your writing and will practice revising your work to meet academic and professional standards. In addition, the workshop will review the characteristics of the Background/Introduction sections of published research papers, the importance of using and citing published literature on the research subject, and how to acknowledge these sources in your writing.
  • Assignment (for due date see Calendar): Writing/Information Assignment Two: the Background, Introduction and References sections of your paper. The handout for the assignment is available by clicking here.

Workshop 2: Information searching and evaluation of sources

  • For date consult the Sunfest Calendar
  • Before the workshop:
    1. Test that your PennKey user name and password are recognized by the library's proxy server by visiting this URL now. Without your PennKey, you will not be able to search the databases. Contact Doug McGee if there is a problem.
    2. Obtain from your advisor at least one citation for a scholarly article on your topic. Bring the citation(s) and your PennKey information to the workshop.
  • During the workshop (workshop instructor: Doug McGee, you will be introduced to important scientific databases and effective search techniques to help you find the most up-to-date and reliable technical information related to your project. In addition, the workshop will review criteria for critically evaluating information sources. You will also learn how to build a personal biographical database using RefWorks. The workshop is held in a computer lab so each participant can gather information for their project.
  • Sunfest Library Resource Website

Workshop 3: Writing/Information search refinements

  • Jessica Leon will facilitate this workshop.
  • Before the workshop: Submit Writing Assignment Two: the Background, Introduction and Reference sections of your final research paper. Email this to (for due date see Calendar). The assignment is available by clicking here.
  • During the workshop, any remaining issues related to searching, or related to writing or use of sources in the intro and background sections will be addressed. The workshop will also focus on norms of writing and use of sources in other sections of a published paper. The final task of the workshop will be to draft the Abstract for your paper (note: the abstract should list at the top: the title, your name, and also the advisor's name). The Abstract will be printed in the Symposium Program, which is why it is needed before the Final Report.
  • Assignment: Submit Abstract to Writing Assignment Three.

6. Final Reports

Final and edited reports (3,000 - 4,000 words) describing the background of your project, approach taken, methods used, results and discussion are due by the end of SUNFEST in electronic form (MS Word).  We have created a template for you to use.  That template, which includes instructions for writing the report, can be found here.  Drafts of the report are due one week before the end of the program to your advisor (for technical feedback). For exact due date see Calendar.

7. Lunch club meetings (12-1:30)
Throughout the summer we will organize informal luncheon meetings during which faculty members or graduate students talk about their work. This will give you the opportunity to learn what is going on in the School and also learn how to present research. These brown-bag luncheons are usually on Thursdays or Fridays.

8. Workshop on "Giving Good Presentations"
The goal is to help you give clear and effective presentations. The instructor will review the different aspects in giving presentations, dealing with the visuals as well as with oral presentation skills. During the workshop you will be able to practise and get feedback on your presentation style.

8. Seminar on How to Apply to Graduate School
Most of you consider going on to graduate school. This seminar will review briefly how to apply to graduate school, the key criteria applied by the schools during the admission process, and what to pay attention to when applying to graduate school.

10. Research Symposiums
There will be a final research symposium where you will present to your peers and to the advisors what you have accomplished during the summer. The symposium consists of a 2 minutes presentation followed by a poster session. The presentation intends to give a brief overview of the project. The poster will give a more detailed discusson.. The presentation will be include visuals in MS Powerpoint format, which must be turned in along with the final report for publication on the SUNFEST website.

11. Program Feedback and Assessment
An important aspect of the program is your feedback so that we can continue to improve the program. We are working with an assessment specialist who will help us evaluate the program. In order to help with the evaluation, you are asked to complete two questionnaires and also to meet once or twice with the assessment person who will conduct interviews and follow-up surveys. Your comments and feedback are always very much appreciated. Entry Questionnaire | Exit Questionnaire

12. Lab Notebook
Recording what you have been doing (summary of readings, experimental procedures and results, observations, etc) is key for every successful research project. Your findings need to be carefully and clearly written down in a lab notebook. A well-kept notebook will help you in preparing your presentations and final report.

13. Miscellaneous
Penn email account: Once you get your PennID, you will need to create a SEAS account.  Use the link below; click on Create Your SEAS Account and follow the prompts.  You will be taken step by step through the process. However, if you do not have your PennID with a PennKey, you will not have access.