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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.

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.

5. Workshops on Writing and Information Searching & Evaluation

These workshops are intended to help you develop your research and writing skills. They include finding appropriate, current articles and offer the direction and practice needed to compile, write, and polish your final report.
During Writing Workshops, you will receive feedback on your writing, and will practice revising your work to meet academic and professional standards. In addition, the workshops will review the characteristics 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. The workshops will also focus on writing norms and clarity.

  1. Schedule: Check the official SUNFEST calendar throughout the semester for deadlines. Please note that the abstract will be printed in the Symposium program, which is why it is needed before the final paper is due.
  2. Submission Style: Please submit all deliverables as follows:
    1. Page one of all submissions but final report, which will have a cover page:
      1. Upper left:
        1. Your Name
        2. Your Mentor’s Name
        3. Your Advisor’s Name
      2. Title is centered on next line.
      3. Content begins on the following line.
    2. 1.5 lines spacing for all submissions but the final version of the report submitted to SUNFEST, which should be single-spaced.
    3. No paragraph indentation is required. Please add an extra space between paragraphs.
    4. Times New Roman 12pt
    5. SUNFEST and IEEE Citation Styles. Please see sample SUNFEST style.
    6. Save all files as Microsoft Word .docx
    7. Document naming convention: studentlastname_submissiontype.docx for example:
      1. Proposal: leon_prop.docx
      2. Abstract, Introduction, and Background: leon_AIBG.docx
      3. Final Report: leon_report.docx
  3. Due Before Workshop 1: Write a short proposal outlining your project for the summer. Please see detailed instructions.

SUNFEST Library Resource Website link:

Writing Workshops 1 & 3 Schedule

Proposal Cycle:

Students submit first draft to Advisor/Mentor

6/3/16 5:00 PM

Advisor/Mentor remarks due to Students

6/7/16 5:00 PM

Second draft due to Jessica Leon

6/9/16 5:00 PM

Workshop 1 (1.5 hours) Annotated proposals will be returned to students at seminar after introductions and objectives review.

6/13/16 4:00 PM

Abstract, Introduction, and Background Cycle:

Students submit first drafts to Advisor/Mentor

6/30/16 5:00 PM

Advisor/Mentor remarks due to Students

7/6/16 5:00 PM

Second drafts due to Jessica Leon

7/8/16 5:00 PM

Workshop 3 (1.5 hours) Annotated versions will be returned to students at beginning of seminar, to be workshopped after

7/12/16 4:00 PM

Final Report Cycle:

Students submit first draft to Advisor/Mentor

7/19/16 5:00 PM

Advisor/Mentor remarks due to Students

7/21/16 5:00 PM

Second draft due to Jessica Leon

7/25/16 5:00 PM

Annotated version due to Students

7/29/16 5:00 PM

Students submit final version of final report to SUNFEST

8/5/16 5:00 PM

Workshop 2: Information Searching and Evaluation of sources

  1. Facilitator: Doug McGee
  2. Structure: This workshop is held in a computer lab so that each participant can gather project-specific information.

During Workshop 2 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.

Before the workshop:

  1. Test that your PennKey username and password are recognized by the library's proxy server. Without your PennKey, you will not be able to search the databases. Contact Doug McGee for access problems.
  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.

SUNFEST Library Resource Website link:

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)
Each Wednesday at 12pm we will run an 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 are brown-bag lunches so please bring your own food.

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 practice 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 Symposium
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 discussion. The presentation will 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.