Engineering staff member receives Undergraduate Research Leadership Award

July 21, 2022

By Mariah Chuprinski

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Erin Hostetler, director of student research and graduate equity in the Penn State College of Engineering’s Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion, was recently honored with the Undergraduate Research Leadership Award from the Engineering Division Councilors of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Awards are granted twice a year to CUR members who have influenced undergraduate research at university campuses through mentorship and leadership efforts, according to CUR. 

Nominees for the leadership award regularly spearhead efforts to institutionalize undergraduate research on their campus and across the nation; secure support for student research activities; initiate or operate faculty mentoring programs to support undergraduate student research; and recognize and utilize undergraduate research to promote diversity and inclusion in the academic community, according to CUR's nomination criteria. 

During her seven years with the College of Engineering, Hostetler has served in several leadership capacities, including as a manager of student research and engagement, where she spearheaded the Multi-Campus Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), according to her nominators. Hostetler also established the Equity REU program, which supplies undergraduates with research funding. Recently, Hostetler helped establish the Rainbow Engineering Network, modeled after the Eberly College of Science’s Rainbow Science Network, which allows students to identify faculty and researchers who have completed training courses on issues facing LBGTQ+ students. 

“Hostetler is an exemplary leader and ambassador for undergraduate research in the College of Engineering,” said nominator Cindy Reed, assistant director of student research and graduate equity in the college’s Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion. “She has created a culture for student success at Penn State through her sustained advocacy for undergraduate research and commitment to exposing as many different engineering students as possible to research.”  

In addition to Reed, three other Penn State affiliates wrote letters in support of Hostetler’s nomination for the award: Rungun Nathan, professor and program chair of mechanical engineering at Penn State Berks; Kriston Ramdass, a Penn State alumnus with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering; and Tonya Peeples, Penn State Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion and professor of chemical engineering. 



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