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Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Attention Pitt Undergrads!

Get paid over the summer to do research in sustainability. If you are interested in going beyond classroom curriculum, developing your own ideas, and working independently on hands-on research all while getting paid…this program is for you!

summer undergraduate research participant showing equipment during lecture  Summer Research student participant showing research tool

undergrad summer research program student giving lecture  Summer Research student audience watching classmate presentations

Application and Program Information

Congratulations to the 27 students selected for our Summer 2024 Undergraduate Research Program! Review the list of summer research scholars, their projects, and their advisors here.

Review the complete list of 2024 projects and advisors.

Program Policies

  • The URP is only open to Pitt undergraduate students.
  • Students are required to work 40 hours a week on their project.
  • Students are allowed to take only 1 course over the summer with program approval.
  • No vacations will be permitted during the 12 week program.
  • Students will be awarded a $5,000 stipend.

Additional funding opportunities for undergraduate summer projects are available through the Brackenridge Fellowship, which the Mascaro Center has partnered with to enhance awards given to students who are conducting research in areas related to sustainability. View Brackenridge Sustainability Scholars.

2023 Program Highlights

Congratulations to the 26 students accepted to our Summer 2023 Undergraduate Research Program! The program ran from May 8 to July 28. 

2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Program participants

Visit the Pitt Sustainability YouTube page Summer 2023 Undergraduate Research Symposium to view recent project videos.

Click to view 2023 videos

Past Projects and Highlights

Attendees of the annual Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium vote for the best presentations based on clarity, creativity, quality of research, and connection to sustainability.

Videos of select projects from can be viewed on YouTube, or featured project videos can be viewed below. 

2023 Featured Projects

Ekaterini Papazekos
Silicon Solar Module Recycling
Advisor: Paul Leu, Industrial Engineering

Paloma DiBella
Urban Permaculture
Advisors: Kevin Bell, Bioengineering, and Corey Flynn, School of Medicine 

2022 Featured Projects

Rebecca Hotton 
Increasing the Energy Efficiency of 3D Binder Jet Printed Metal Filters 
Advisor: Markus Chmielus, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Molly Draper
Sustainable Forestry within the Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome: Is Salvage Logging Compatible with Healthy Forest Regeneration Following a Major Windstorm?
Advisors: Dr. Walter Carson, Biological Sciences, and  
Hannah Assour, Biological Sciences 

2021 Featured Projects

Sydney DuBose
Environmental Justice Teaching
Advisor: Cassie Quigley, School of Education

Heather Phillips
Microbial Fuel Cells for BMG Electrodes
Advisor: Dr. David Sanchez, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Natalie Britton
Assessing Environmental (In)justices in U.S. Public Housing Siting Decisions
Advisors: Michael Blackhurst, University Center for Social and Urban Research, and
Randy Walsh, Economics 

2020 Featured Projects

Frankie Fattori
Energy-efficient processors, sensors, and systems for space-based sensing and computing
Advisor: Alan George, electrical and computer engineering

Ali Carroll
Biodiversity collapse at the urban-rural interface: Consequences for the sustainability and economic viability of small, privately owned forests in PA
Advisor: Walter Carson, Biological Sciences 

Max Smith
Simulations of First Solar Cells
Advisor: Paul Leu, Industrial Engineering

Sridhar Reddy
Hardware acceleration of artificial neural network for neuromorphic computing
Advisor: Feng Xiong, Electrical and Computer Engineering