VIPER Introduces New Course -- VIPR-1300: VIPER Undergraduate Energy Research and Leadership Development

This year, VIPER took an exciting next step in its mission to prepare the next generation of leaders in energy research. VIPER recently launched its new course -- VIPR-1300: VIPER Undergraduate Energy Research and Leadership Development. In this asynchronous course, VIPER students are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities that are critical to their development as energy research leaders and reflect on how these experiences impact their personal and professional growth.

This course is designed to recognize VIPER students’ on-going commitment to research and support their growth as energy research leaders. Each semester, students select 4 modules to complete which allows them to focus their efforts on areas that match their current on-campus involvement and upcoming plans. For example, students can complete modules about their experiences conducting research, engaging in energy-relevant activities across campus, presenting their energy research to the Penn community, being active in the VIPER community, and engaging with program alumni.

Majd Ayyad (VIPER '25) conducting research in the laboratory of Professor Mark Yim.      

VIPR-1300 also offers a central platform to streamline requirements, deadlines, and communications by the program, and it has boosted engagement amongst students significantly.

“Students have told me that VIPR-1300 has made them more attuned to different opportunities on-campus – for example, if they needed to complete the module about Involvement in Energy Activities, they were more actively looking for and aware of different energy events this semester. We’ve also seen a lot more students coming out to VIPER events, and we believe VIPR-1300 has played a major role in bringing everyone together,” said Dr. Michelle Hutchings, VIPER Managing Director.

This structure is designed to support sophomore, junior, and senior students throughout their undergraduate career. VIPER students now earn 0.5 credits every semester -- fall, spring, and summer (if the student is conducting VIPER research) after their first year for a total of 3.5-4.5 credits over the course of their undergraduate career.

By fostering consistent participation and reflection across multiple semesters, this course not only empowers VIPER students but also unlocks exciting new avenues for them to actively shape and elevate their leadership journey!