Be a SURF Pathways Scholar!

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 11 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 the senior year while applying for graduate schools and fellowships.
  • Receive free housing, a total of up to $500 for travel to and from Purdue, and a stipend of $4,500 for the summer.


  • US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Sophomore or Junior (1-2 years before 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, 2020. 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.

Previous Pathways Scholar Videos: