UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tanya Furman, associate vice president and associate dean for Undergraduate Education and professor of geosciences, has been named interim director of the University Fellowships Office, effective Dec. 7, 2015.The University Fellowships Office, a unit of Undergraduate Education, supports students who apply for competitive national and international fellowships, in addition to managing the University’s nomination process for several prominent award opportunities. Penn State consistently ranks as a "Top Producing Institution" for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and has recently celebrated students awarded the Marshall and Gates-Cambridge Scholarships.Furman brings to the role extensive experience as a researcher and administrator, and was herself the recipient of one of the international fellowships she will now help students navigate.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work with Penn State students as they find innovative and highly visible ways to further their education," said Furman. "I held a Fulbright Fellowship to Iceland in 1982-83, and I know how influential that period was in my life. I hope to encourage Penn State students to apply wherever their research interests can be followed.”
Among the goals of her tenure, Furman hopes to increase communication between the fellowships office and Penn State faculty members, particularly those who conduct research with undergraduate students. “They know their students better than we ever will, and they can help ignite new passions for learning. We can then work with the students to help make their dreams a reality,” said Furman.
Furman and her staff will work closely with students to help them articulate their own learning and exploration goals, navigate the various nomination processes for their areas of interest, and prepare them for written applications and oral interviews.Attending Princeton University, Furman received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and went on to complete her doctoral degree in geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to her current faculty and administrative positions, she is the director of the Earth and Space Science Partnership, a project funded by the National Science Foundation that seeks to improve the quality of instruction and student learning in earth and space science for Pennsylvania’s middle schools.Furman replaces Ruth Mendum as director of the University Fellowships Office. Mendum recently accepted an appointment as the academic program director of the Penn State Rwanda Initiative within the College of Agricultural Sciences.To learn more about the University Fellowships Office and other scholarship, fellowship and grant opportunities available to students, visit ufo.psu.edu.The University Fellowships Office is part of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.