Transformation Challenge

Compete for a chance to win grant funding.
For the first time ever, the Student Engagement Network is offering Penn State undergraduate students an opportunity to compete for money to support engagement experiences. Students who enter the competition will be challenged to submit a video that showcases the impact of their summer 2018 engagement experience and demonstrates a transformation in two or more growth areas. Video submissions will be reviewed and voted on by a panel of judges. The winners will receive awards ranging from $500- $2,000 each.

Registration is currently postponed. Please check back later.


  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate student at Penn State
  • Be enrolled in summer courses or registered for fall 2018
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the University
  • Submitted an unfunded grant application for the summer 2018 and/or not have previously participated in a funded summer program (i.e. you haven’t received funding from the Office of Global Programs, University Fellowships Office, or other external grant agency)
  • Participate in an engagement experience during summer 2018

Note: The contestant can be an individual or a team.

Engagement Experience Types
Type Examples
Undergraduate research Program theses, capstone projects, independent research
Professional experiences Internships, co-ops, clinical and field experiences, client-based projects
Travel-related experiences Study abroad, study away, embedded travel courses
Community-based learning Service learning, supervised field experiences, community development, tech transfer
Creative accomplishments Public performance, community and creative arts programs, design consultations
Courses with out-of-class component Courses that require interaction with an external entity (ex. industry, government, sponsor, community organization, audience)
Organizational experiences Active participation in a professional organization, leadership role in a student organization, membership on a community board
Peer mentoring Resident assistants, orientation leadership, learning assistants
Self-directed student engagement Activities that enable students to apply their learning in special circumstances (ex. student assists a local business over the summer to help improve its business practices)
Volunteerism Campus and/or community involvement opportunities, civic engagement, philanthropic service


  • Complete registration/pre-experience survey
  • Complete post-experience survey
  • Create a 2-4 minute video that captures the impact of work and transformation in two growth areas
  • Be a registered user on YouTube or other online video sharing site (this will be necessary to submit video)
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from a supervisor that describes an observable transformation, learning outcome, or shift in thought, attitude, assumptions, and/or perspective
  • Attend Student Engagement Expo (the top five videos will be featured)
Growth Areas
Area Definition
Multicultural awareness

The knowledge and cognitive skills that support effective and appropriate interaction in a multitude of cultural contexts

Civic responsibility

The duty to make a difference in the life of our communities and the development of necessary knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make a difference

Ethical reasoning

The assessment of one’s ethical values and the social context of problems and the ability to recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings

Systems thinking

The cognitive process to understand how a system’s constituent parts influence each other and how they behave over time within the context of larger systems

Professional development

The ability to clarify career goals while demonstrating the skills     necessary to meet professional expectations


Videos will be judged more on the change in students as learners and/or by the impact they achieved, and less on their production skills as a videographer. While a creative and clear message is encouraged, students are asked to demonstrate the following:


  • Sincerity and credibility of transformation and learning and/or impact
  • Level of motivation and messaging
  • Clear and compelling expression of impact
  • Visual appeal / creativity / clarity
  • Vocal expression (narrative) / storytelling
  • Inspiration to others and wow factor


  • TBD – Registration opens
  • TBD – Registration closes
  • TBD – Deadline to complete post-experience survey, submit video, and submit letter of recommendation
  • TBD – Attend Student Engagement Expo
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