MindCORE Summer Fellowship Program

June 7 – August 13, 2021


MindCORE at the University of Pennsylvania offers a paid, ten-week summer research program for undergraduate students from Penn (Lila R. Gleitman Summer Fellowships) as well as for select students from other institutions. We seek a cohort of students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the mind and brain. Our Program includes one week of workshop-style sessions with faculty as well as a short course in programming, followed by nine weeks of research experience in a MindCORE-affiliated faculty member’s lab. Participating faculty include researchers from Biology, Computer and Information Science, Linguistics, Neurology, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, and Psychology.



The Summer Fellowship Program provides a research experience to a diverse set of students that deepens their engagement with research in cognitive science, offers a preview of graduate school, teaches laboratory skills, and connects students to faculty labs working at the forefront of research in mind and brain studies.

The 2021 program dates are June 7 – August 13. We provide a salary stipend of $4500 to each student, and our curriculum includes training in research basics, exposure to different approaches in cognitive science, communication training and other professional development skills, and personalized advising within a vibrant research community in a major U.S. city. We offer a housing and meal allowance for non-Penn students, as well as for Penn students who demonstrate financial need.

In addition to an introductory boot camp week, Summer Fellows work full-time for nine weeks in a lab matching their interests. The Program culminates in a research symposium at which each Summer Fellow presents their research to their peers, labs, and faculty mentor. Fellows end the summer with firsthand experience at a top-tier university, an understanding of the breadth of research related to the cognitive sciences, and good connections that will position them for future graduate studies.

MindCORE faculty take diverse approaches to the study of the mind, and their research ranges from basic questions in cognitive science concerning human mental abilities in perception, memory, language, reasoning, and decision making; to questions in cognitive neuroscience concerning how the brain gives rise to these mental abilities; to questions in the social sciences concerning how human cognition and behavior shapes our society.

Undergraduate Summer Fellows are matched to faculty based on their research interests and mentor preferences. Faculty are selected based on their specific interests, and their past success in mentoring students.


Academic & Professional Development

Outside the lab, we offer a curriculum focused on exposure to a variety of approaches to studying cognition, professional development talks including scientific communication and graduate school preparation, and individual advising. Students gain skills essential to entering and succeeding in PhD or other research programs and advanced study.

Our Summer Fellows comprise a cohort of 12-14 student researchers with common interests and goals. In addition to the formal curriculum, we offer social events to our cohort to foster personal networks.

Introductory Boot Camp Week will include a campus tour, team building exercises, programming tutorials, key safety and core concepts presentations, and lectures on the conceptual framework of cognitive science from MindCORE faculty. 

Weeks 2-10 are an immersive, 9-week lab experience working on a focused research activity to include:

    • 35 hours of work in Penn research lab
    • Weekly lunchtime research talks from a MindCORE faculty member on their research
    • Biweekly professional development sessions on topics such as: Science Outreach, Presenting Your Work: Posters and Pitches, Applying to Grad School, and Financing Grad School
    • Weekly check-ins with a graduate student mentor

Week 10 will close with a final Student Research Symposium, at which Summer Fellows present their work to the MindCORE community, peers, labs, and faculty mentors, followed by a closing reception and celebration.


Benefits for Participants

    • Independent research with exceptional faculty
    • $4500 stipend for ten weeks
    • Allowance to cover local housing, meals, and incidental expenses (for non-Penn students, and Penn students who demonstrate financial need)
    • Individual advising and mentoring
    • Support to improve research and communication skills for competitive edge in graduate admissions
    • Networking opportunities with Penn faculty and cognitive science research community

Requirements for Participants:

    • Attend the program for its entire duration: June 7 – August 13, 2021
    • Commit to full-time research (35 hours per week)
    • Immerse in the lab by participating in group meetings and other lab activities
    • Attend all fellowship program events
    • Give an oral presentation of research during the final Student Research Symposium on August 13
    • Complete a program evaluation


Applicants should have completed their sophomore or junior years, with consideration also given to exceptionally well-qualified freshmen. Graduating seniors are not eligible for the summer fellowship.



A complete application requires:

    • CV/Resume
    • official/unofficial transcript (PDF) from any post-secondary institutions attended
    • two letters of recommendation for non-Penn student applicants, one of which must be from a faculty member at the applicant’s current institution. We do NOT require reference letters for Penn student applicants. NOTE: Non-Penn applicants do NOT need to submit letters with their application. We will contact those applicants selected for a second round of reviews for recommendation letters at that time.

 Students must apply through our online application form.


 Application deadline: January 31, 2021

 Acceptance notifications: mid-April 2021


Additional Information for non-Penn Students ONLY

The program for non-Penn students runs in conjunction with the Penn Summer Fellowship program but includes the following additional notes:

    • We encourage applications from women, underrepresented students (Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Pacific Islander), students with disabilities, first-generation college students, and applicants from academic institutions with limited research experiences available in mind and brain.
    • Transportation and a living allowance is provided to non-Penn students who do not live in Philadelphia.
    • The program for non-Penn students is restricted to US citizens and permanent residents.
    • Non-Penn students are required to submit two recommendation letters in addition to the other application materials listed.
    • This is a new MindCORE program at Penn. This first year, we will likely only accept 2 non-Penn students.

The Summer Fellowship Program is sponsored by MindCORE, Penn’s hub for the integrative study of the mind. The program for Penn students is funded through a generous donor gift, and is named the Lila R. Gleitman Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program. We are actively seeking funding to expand our program for non-Penn students.


Click here to go back to the Summer Fellowship Program main page.