Schatz Undergraduate Research Awards support undergraduate student research projects in forest genetics conducted with scientists associated with the center.

Projects are conducted under the guidance of a faculty member or scientist in The Schatz Center for Tree Molecular Genetics and/or the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at the University Park or Mont Alto campus. However students from all relevant disciplines are eligible to apply for the awards. Awardees must register for independent study (FOR 496) during the semesters in which the research is conducted (2 or more credit hours).

The Schatz Undergraduate Research Awards in Tree Genetics are an important component of the Schatz Center. The awards enable students to conduct research projects in the Schatz Center or in affiliated labs. Research opportunities encompass a wide range of topics including genomics, tree improvement, forest health, conservation genetics, molecular ecology, gene expression, gene discovery, and tissue culture. Research on tree species is encouraged, but awards may be used for any topic relevant to forest resources.

Up to five Schatz Undergraduate Research Awards can be conferred each academic year. Awards can be renewed for subsequent years while the student is at Penn State. Awards typically provide $1,000 to cover the costs of research expenses and travel for field trips and for presentation of results at a conference. It is expected that the Schatz Undergraduate Research Scholars will participate in the College of Agricultural Sciences Annual Research Exhibition. Applications for the Schatz Awards may be submitted at any time to Dr. John Carlson . Applications must consist of a brief description (not to exceed 3 pages) of academic background, previous experience, and statement of research interests, along with a current transcript. It is advisable to confer with Dr. Carlson or another faculty member about the suitability of research topics prior to applying. Applications will be reviewed by Dr. Carlson and the director of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. Selections will be made on an ongoing basis, in the order received. For more information please contact Dr. Carlson

Past Schatz Undergraduate Research Scholars


  • Brittany Smith, Forest Science, Honors


  • Brandi Stoffregen, BMB, Honors
  • Tanya Breza, Biology, Honors


  • Tanya Breza, Biology, Honors
  • Rebecca Epting, Biology
  • Annie Gillis, Microbiology


  • Andrew Roach, Forest Biology, Honors

Contact Us

  • Associate Professor & Director, Schatz Center for Tree Molecular Genetics