Professor and student working on research project

IUP students participate in cutting-edge research, scholarship, and creative discovery this summer through the Undergraduate Summer Opportunities for Applying Research (U-SOAR) program.

The U-SOAR program runs from June to August. The U-SOAR program is open to IUP undergraduate students in all disciplines who are engaged in original inquiry-based research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. In-person and hybrid options are available this year. U-SOAR is one of only a few university summer research programs with participants from across colleges and majors! We encourage students from diverse backgrounds to participate and learn about similarities in creative processes across disciplines. Students must have an overall GPA above 2.0 to participate.

Benefits of U-SOAR

  • Work directly with your faculty mentor on original scholarship

  • Receive a competitive summer stipend to support your research

  • Gain experience in your discipline through hands-on research

  • Participate in a structured research-oriented environment to guide creative discovery

  • Engage in networking and professional development opportunities

  • Increase your confidence presenting in a research symposium

  • Learn data analysis and effective presentations skills

  • Improve your chances of applying to graduate school or for employment

  • Create a well-rounded résumé

  • Review the Program Event Information.

Complete the U-SOAR program application by the April deadline to participate in the summer program.

For more information on the U-SOAR program, contact:

Director of Undergraduate Research
210 South Tenth Street
Stright Hall 103 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why participate in U-SOAR?

The U-SOAR program affords IUP undergraduate students a competitive edge by providing a summer research program modeled after the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates programs (NSF REU). Nationally, REU programs are one of the most valuable summer experiences students can participate in, yet the acceptance rate for most REU programs is only around 3 percent. Through U-SOAR , all IUP undergraduate students have a chance to participate in an enriching and empowering experience that links knowledge and skills learned in coursework to real-work research and societal problems.

Participation in IUP's 10-week U-SOAR program will give you a competitive advantage whether you are looking to gain experience doing research in your field, add to your résumé for a future job, improve your chances of getting into graduate school, and/or increase your confidence in relating information. Events of the program will focus on research experiences, communication, and professional development and networking. Students who have participated in past years have presented their research both nationally and internationally and have published with their research advisor in journals and books.

Do I need to participate for all 10 weeks?

We understand that students have commitments outside of summer research. The program is traditionally 10 weeks and spans both summer sessions, including an introductory session, several scheduled workshops/check-in events, and a final research symposium. Students must participate in the first session, the final research symposium, and half of the workshops. Events will be in-person on campus, but remote options are available.

How can I find a research mentor?

This is your chance to work one-on-one with those faculty members whose classes or research interests you. Don't know what faculty in your field do? Check out their faculty websites, or schedule a meeting to discuss possible research projects. You will find that IUP faculty have many areas of interest and are looking for dedicated students to help contribute to their field of study. You can also contact the Office of Undergraduate Research to get started finding a mentor!

Is funding available?

U-SOAR offers participants a competitive summer stipend. Housing options are available, too.  Let us know if you are interested!  Students must have a completed FAFSA on file.

Should I wait to apply until I know my summer plans?

Apply before the deadline. If you are awarded funding and choose not to participate, your funding will be offered to another well-deserving student! There are no penalties for declining to participate—we encourage students to apply to national programs and other relevant opportunities.

Summer 2024 Schedule

Date and Time

Topics and Activities

June 5, 10:00 a.m.–noon

  • Introduction to U-SOAR
  • Meet and greet participants and faculty mentors over snacks and refreshments
  • Discover, Learn, Succeed: The Dynamic Benefits of Undergraduate Research presented by Kelly Heider, acting assistant vice provost for University Libraries and U-SOAR 2024 coordinator
  • Professional headshots at the Career and Professional Development Center

June 12, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

  • AI Tools for Researchers presented by Chris Clouser, faculty chair of University Libraries & associate professor/collections librarian

June 19

  • No scheduled meeting

June 26, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

  • Introduction to Data Analysis presented by Paul Hawkins, director and executive research assistant of IUP's Applied Research Lab

July 3

  • No scheduled meeting

July 10, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

  • Introduction to STEAMSHOP presented by Sharon Massey, STEAMSHOP design and technology specialist & associate professor of Art & Design

July 17, 10:00–11:30 a.m.

  • Research Panel Discussion

July 24, 11:00 a.m.-noon

  • Poster Presentation Workshop presented by Dana Driscoll, director of the Jones White Writing Center and professor of English. 

July 31, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

  • Résumé Writing Workshop presented by Kelsey Thompson, associate director of IUP's Career and Professional Development Center

August 7, 10:00 a.m.-noon

  • Voluntary presentation practice session and troubleshooting

August 14

  • No scheduled meeting – Finalize your presentations and submit your posters to the IUP Print Center! 

August 16, 10:00 a.m.-noon

  • U-SOAR Research Symposium, Sutton Hall, Blue Room (breakfast will be provided)