Be a SURF Pathways Scholar!

Participate in a paid summer research internship - virtually, from wherever you are! 

Do you want to learn the many Pathways that a Graduate Degree in engineering might take you? Come learn about how a graduate degree can prepare you for different career pathways, including being a faculty, working in a government setting/National Laboratory, Industry, and more! The Pathways program is looking for underrepresented students interested in PhD study. Selected students participate in Purdue’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program and receive additional mentoring, networking, and professional opportunities.

Application will open in mid-December. Read further details below!

Benefits include:

  • Be matched with an Engineering faculty member at Purdue University to work on a research project of mutual interest. Participate in 10 weeks of mentored research during the summer in conjunction with Purdue’s SURF program.
  • Attend weekly professional development seminars; learn skills necessary for success in graduate school and your future career.
  • Become part of a growing support network. Receive additional mentoring throughout your undergraduate education and while applying for graduate schools and fellowships.
  • Get one-on-one feedback on your Resume/CV, statement of purpose, and/or any fellowship applications.
  • Receive a stipend of $5,100 for the summer.


  • US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Freshman, Sophomore or Junior (priority given to students who are 1-2 years from graduation.)
  • Pursuing an engineering or closely related degree at a U.S. institution.
  • Member of an underrepresented minority group in engineering (including Hispanic, Black or African American, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, women, and people with disabilities.)
  • Interested in pursuing a Ph.D.
  • Meet all eligibility requirements for the SURF Program.

To Apply:

  • Priority deadline is January 15, 2021. Applications received after this date will only be considered until program is filled. Apply early! The application will open in mid-December.
  • Complete an application for the SURF program.
  • In your application essay:
    1. State your interest in being a SURF Pathways Scholar.
    2. Indicate how a PhD will help you accomplish your career goals.
    3. Briefly, explain your eligibility.
  • Send a brief email to Dr. Jackie McDermott notifying us once you have submitted your application. This helps us track the status of your application.

Please note that there is a high possibility that the Summer 2021 Pathways Scholars program will be a remote research experience due to COVID-19. The Summer 2020 cohort was also in a remote setting, and students received all the benefits described above. We plan to ensure that students selected as 2021 Pathways Scholars have a meaningful and safe research experience at Purdue University.

Previous Pathways Scholar Videos: