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Faculty Directors

Dr. Marc Meredith
Faculty Director, Undergraduate Research

Marc Meredith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, where he has been a professor since 2009. He holds a BA in Economics and Mathematical Methods in the Social Science from Northwestern University, a MA in Economics from Northwestern University, a MA in Political Science from Stanford University, and a PhD in Political Economics from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  Prior to coming to the University of Pennsylvania, Marc was a visiting lecturer of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He also holds a secondary appointment in the Business Economics and Public Policy Department in the Wharton School.   

Marc’s research examines the political economy of American elections, with a particular focus on the application of causal inference methods. His substantive research interests include election administration, election law, political campaigns, and voter decision-making. Marc’s research appears in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, among other outlets. He teaches classes on American government, policy making, business and government, and statistical methods. His work can be found at


Dr. Alain Plante
Faculty Director, University Scholars

Alain Plante received his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Alberta, in Canada. His research interests lie in the field of terrestrial carbon biogeochemistry, soil science, ecosystem ecology, environmental science and global change. He teaches a large introductory course in environmental science, and courses in soil science, biogeochemistry, and the Anthropocene. As Faculty Director of the University Scholars, Prof. Plante seeks to foster an inclusive and passionate fellowship of undergraduates interested in conducting research in any filed spanning the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences in all of the undergraduate schools. He helps direct programming through the academic year, coordinates the applications process into the program, and the funding of summer research projects.


Dr. Heather Sharkey
Faculty Director, Fellowships

Heather J. Sharkey is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) at the University of Pennsylvania.  As Faculty Director of Fellowships, she works closely with colleagues in the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships (CURF) and across the university to prepare Penn students and alumni as they apply for major external fellowships such as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell.

Professor Sharkey received a BA from Yale in Anthropology (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa); an MPhil as a Marshall Scholar from the University of Durham in Middle Eastern Studies; and a PhD in History from Princeton, with a focus on the history of the Middle East, Africa, and Islamic world.  Her books include Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (University of California Press 2003); American Evangelicals in Egypt: Missionary Encounters in an Age of Empire (Princeton University Press 2008); and A History of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press 2017).  She has been a visiting professor in Paris sponsored by the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), and has lectured in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Egypt, the Netherlands, and Italy.  Aside from the Marshall, she has held Josephine de Karman, Whiting, Fulbright-Hays, and Carnegie fellowships.  Professor Sharkey previously taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Trinity College in Connecticut.   At Penn, she received the Charles Ludwig Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.  

Dr. Peter Struck
Faculty Director, Benjamin Franklin Scholars

Peter T. Struck is Professor and Chair of the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is director of the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program and founder of its Integrated Studies curriculum. He is cofounder (with Sarah Igo) of the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education, and has worked with foundations, media organizations, and scholarly societies to promote the liberal arts. He works on the intellectual history of Greek and Roman antiquity. His book Birth of the Symbol: Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts (Princeton 2004) won the C. J. Goodwin Award from the American Philological Association for best book in Classical Studies. His most recent book is Divination and Human Nature: A Cognitive History of Intuition in Antiquity, (Princeton 2016), for which he also won the Goodwin Award, becoming the first person to win the award twice. He edited Mantikê (with Sarah Iles Johnston, Brill 2006), the Cambridge Companion to Allegory (with Rita Copeland, Cambridge 2010), and is general editor (with Sophia Rosenfeld) of the six-volume Cultural History of Ideas forthcoming from Bloomsbury Academic in 2020. He is currently writing a popular book on mythology for Princeton University Press. He has given dozens of lectures at universities in the United States and Europe, and has held fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Whiting Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and the American Academy in Rome. He has won multiple teaching awards at Penn, including the Lindback Award, the university's top teaching prize.