Penn’s 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Group Grant Winners Announced

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania has announced the inaugural recipients of the Summer Undergraduate Research Group Grant

Alison Buttenheim and Mark Devlin have been selected by a committee comprised of faculty members representing all 12 of Penn’s schools. SURGG will provide grants of as much as $27,500 including $10,000 for research expenses with the rest to cover stipends for teams of as many as five undergraduates.

Buttenheim is an assistant professor of nursing and health policy in Penn’s School of Nursing. She will lead undergraduates in a study examining the role of financial incentives in smoking cessation programs during pregnancy.

“We already know that financial incentives work to change health behavior,” Buttenheim said. “In this study, we will advance the science of behavior change by figuring out how to design and target financial incentives based on individual ‘behavioral phenotypes.’ The opportunity to include undergraduates in this work is fantastic. They will get to work on every aspect of the study from survey instrument design to data analysis and publication.”

Mark Devlin is the Reese W. Flower Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences. He will direct undergraduates in ongoing work on the Experimental Cosmology Group’s Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope, scheduled to launch above Antarctica in December.

“The SURGG program comes at a fantastic time for our research,” Devlin said. “While we always want to have undergraduates involved in our projects, this summer is a particularly good time.  We will have the students help us integrate our high altitude balloon telescope at Penn, and hopefully at NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility. The students should have a great experience contributing to a major NASA program.”

More information about the SURGG program can be found at

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