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amy gutmann, president elect, speaks to the editorial board. ran01/29/2004 Credit: Rachel Meyer

Students interested in applying for the inaugural round of President’s Engagement Prizes have some extra time to bolster their project proposals.

Originally supposed to conclude during the fall semester, the application deadline has been extended to Jan. 16, 2015 — the first week of the spring semester.

“There was a very strong interested in the Prizes, which led me to extend the deadline to what I think is a more realistic deadline for Penn seniors,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said.

Originally announced by Gutmann late this summer, the Prizes will provide up to three recipients with up to $150,000 to devise and implement a local, national or global engagement project during the year following their graduation from Penn.

Applicants are required to submit proposals for projects through which they hope to develop and implement during the year after graduation.

As this will be the first time the Prizes will be awarded, applicants are forging new ground. The application guidelines leave great leeway for student creativity, requiring only that projects focus on engagement. “My biggest expectation is to be surprised by the range of projects,” Gutmann said.

“We know from experience that you don’t know how many candidates will ultimately apply until the application deadline,” Associate Director for Undergraduate Research at CURF Wallace Genser said.

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships provided a series of early information sessions to provide students with an overview of the nature and purpose of the prize, selection criteria and suggestions for project development. More recent informational sessions have focused on creating budgets for potential projects.

“We believe the extended deadline will accomplish its goal of providing seniors more time to reach out to potential resources, sharpen their proposals and polish their final submissions,” Genser said.

Once applications have been submitted, the Provost Vincent Price will bring together a committee to read the applications and recommend semifinalists to Gutmann, though she is admittedly eager to see Penn students’ promise.

“I may in fact read all of the applications,” Gutmann said.

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