University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Undergraduate Research & Fellowships

Opportunity to Engage: Fulbright Interviews
Did you know that UT is consistently named a Fulbright US Student Program Top Producer ? Join us as we grow the Fulbright Program at UT. We invite you to join URF's Faculty Fulbright Committee. The Fulbright US Student Program offers graduating seniors, graduate students, and young alumni the opportunity to spend eight-13 months abroad in one of 140+ countries conducting researching, earning a graduate degree, or teaching English.
From September 11-September 22, Faculty Fulbright Committee members will provide feedback on one-five student applications (the number is entirely up to you) and attend 30-minute interviews for each applicant. Interviews are designed to offer constructive feedback to our applicants as they complete the campus application process. Make a difference in the life of a UT student/alum, learn about the process so you can refer future applicants, and see some amazing projects. Please fill out this form to express your interest.
Staff Spotlight: Welcome Dr. Meredith Malburne-Wade
We proudly welcome Dr. Meredith Malburne-Wade as the new director of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships (URF).
With a distinguished career fostering inclusive excellence and student development, Dr. Malburne-Wade led initiatives at several universities before joining UT, most recently at James Madison University where she expanded the fellowships and research offices, facilitating student access to opportunities around the world. Her background as a first-generation college student and her previous experience as a faculty member focused on developing students’ critical thinking and writing abilities align well with URF's mission.
Faculty Spotlight: Welcome Dr. Sharon Jean-Philippe
Undergraduate Research & Fellowships is also excited to introduce Dr. Sharon Jean-Philippe as its new faculty director. With expertise in forest dynamics and engaging urban youth in agriculture, Dr. Jean-Philippe will lead URF's efforts to provide students with exceptional research opportunities, aligned with initiatives such as Vol EDGE.
Her impactful research record, including accolades from the Society of American Foresters and funding from organizations such as USDA and Tennessee Department of Agriculture, positions her well for advancing undergraduate research and student success at UT.
Thank You: Dr. Erin Darby
As Dr. Erin Darby bids farewell to Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (URF), we reflect on her outstanding contributions for the past two years. Serving as the inaugural faculty director, Dr. Darby's unwavering dedication to undergraduate research has left an indelible mark.
Her dedication to creating, enhancing, and expanding undergraduate research programming was transformative, and exemplified by the Departmental Research Assistant (DRA) program. As she departs, her legacy as the inaugural URF faculty director remains. She played a critical role in developing UT's research infrastructure and enriching the undergraduate experience. We extend heartfelt gratitude for her dedicated service, exceptional teaching, and unfailing commitment to our students' success.
Student Spotlight: Shelby Gleaves on Market Square
We're delighted to feature Shelby Gleaves, an outstanding undergraduate researcher. Shelby's project, initiated as a Summer Undergraduate Research Group Experience (SURGE) endeavor, has flourished with the help of an Advanced Undergraduate Research Activity (AURA) grant. Her focus on consumer habits at Knoxville Farmer’s Market provides insightful trends on shoppers spending habits that will be shared with the market’s organizers, Nourish Knoxville, to help them better understand their customer base. What's truly remarkable is how this research gives back – Shelby used some of her AURA grant funds to buy farmer’s market tokens as survey incentives, directly supporting local vendors while gathering data for her work. Graduating in December 2023 with a BS in agribusiness and a major in food and agricultural business, along with a French minor, Shelby envisions a future with a company that values continuous growth and cross training. Her diverse internships in communications, marketing, and business development at SiteOne Landscape Supply, Southern United States Trade Association, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture reflect her readiness for various roles within the agricultural and food industry. Shelby Gleaves exemplifies dedicated research contributing to both academia and the community.
Upcoming Event: Discovery Day
Discovery Day will take place on Tuesday, September 12, and we're excited to have your students join us. Discovery Day is one of UT’s premier exhibitions of undergraduate research hosted at the beginning of the fall semester to showcase spring and summer research projects and encourage new and returning students to engage in the research process themselves.
We're excited to announce the launch of our new interactive map, showcasing the remarkable achievements of our outstanding scholars. Thanks in large part to the expertise of Michael Camponovo from the GIS Outreach and Engagement Laboratory in the Department of Geography, this map brings our students' accomplishments to life in a spatial display. We invite you to explore the map and discover the accomplishments of your students and some of UT’s top scholars.
Faculty Research Assistants Funding (FRAF) Updates
In our pilot year for the academic year Faculty Research Assistants Funding (FRAF), Undergraduate Research & Fellowships was honored and amazed by the overwhelming number of applications received. Our numbers far exceeded both our expectations and our available funding. The demand exhausted the majority of our annual FRAF funding, and we will be unable to offer new fall 2023 or spring 2024 FRAF applications this year. However, we are excited to retain our summer 2024 FRAF program at the funding levels listed on the website, and those applications are expected to open in February/March. In the interim, we will be working to refine our application timelines, evaluation rubrics, and future offerings. Thank you for your ongoing support of undergraduate research at UT!
Want to be Featured (or Have a Student Featured) in an Upcoming Newsletter?
Working on a project you would like to see featured in our newsletter? Are you working with undergraduate researchers who could be highlighted? Email with a brief description of your possible story and a member of our team with reach for additional details.
Year-Round Workshop Series
Our research and fellowships workshops for students now span the entire year, covering everything from getting started with research to dynamic poster design and effective resume building. You have the flexibility to make attendance mandatory or offer extra credit to your students for attending. We also provide activity templates for easy integration into your curriculum. Reach out to Assistant Director Dr. Janna Caspersen at for access.


Sept 6: Undergraduate Research Student Association (URSA) Meeting, Melrose Hall Conference Room 4 p.m.-5 p.m.
Sep 12: Discovery Day, Hodges Library 1st and 2nd Floor, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sep 12: Getting Started Seminar (Session 1), 128 Hodges Library, 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
Sep 12: Getting Started Seminar (Session 2), Hodges Library, Mary Greer Room, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.


Oct 10: Fulbright Student Award Program, National Deadline
Sep 3: Gilman Information Session, 5 p.m.-6 p.m., Zoom, Register here
Sep 5: Gilman Information Session, 5 p.m.-6 p.m., 213 Hodges Library

Contact Us

Undergraduate Research & Fellowships
109 Melrose
1616 Melrose Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-8560

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