Pathway to Ph.D. Program

Achievement date: 

The NSF-funded Internet of Things for Precision Agriculture (IoT4Ag) Engineering Research Center (ERC), headquartered at the University of Pennsylvania, hosted the inaugural Pathway to Ph.D. Program (PPP) virtually on September 25-26, 2021 with 15 undergraduate participants and 10 graduate mentors. Additionally, undergraduate students were matched with a mentor to review components of fellowship applications and graduate school materials.


At least one participant subsequently received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award and another student received an honorable mention. PPP mentees submitted graduate applications to a range of universities. Initial program feedback indicated that all participants thought that the PPP was useful. Planning and recruitment for the 2022 PPP was underway by the end of the 2021 program.


ThePPP was created to address the lack of awareness by underrepresented minority (URM) and first-generation low-income (FGLI) students about the graduate school admission process and funding opportunities. The PPP program serves as an avenue to recruit diverse students to IoT4Ag educational opportunities and the broader STEM community.