Kayla Velloso

Kayla Velloso is an emerging filmmaker with a passion for documentary films. In 2015, she participated in Chapman University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, where she conducted research for a feature length documentary film project entitled Hillbilly.

The SURF program offers undergraduate students a unique opportunity to pursue research and creative activity with the guidance of a full-time faculty mentor. The program is open to undergraduate students in all disciplines and provides up to $3,000 in fellowship funding.

As a SURF fellow, Velloso conducted research in a variety of ways. On some days, for example, she dug through archival film media, screenplays, and articles. On other days, she contacted actors about their roles in the media industry today. The program has had a lasting impact on Kayla Velloso’s life and career. After graduating in 2016, Kayla moved abroad to Brazil and continues to work as an associate producer for the documentary feature film Hillbilly. “Today,” Velloso said, “I […] continue to assist on the production by utilizing research methods that I honed during my time as a fellow in the SURF program, such as organization and presentation of materials that I [found] during research.”


Hillbilly co-director Ashley York, Kayla Velloso, and faculty mentor, Hillbilly co-director Sally Rubin.

Moreover, her time as a fellow provided her with the opportunity to meet a wide variety of students and faculty from myriad scholarly disciplines. Velloso said this was especially rewarding because she “had the chance to discuss [her] work with a wide range of people.” Through this experience she “learned how to synthesize information and explain the significance of the film to people who may not know much about media criticism or think about the social influencing power of film and television.”

Want to apply for Chapman University’s SURF program? Visit OURCA’s website for more information about the SURF program and other creative and scholarly activities and opportunities on campus.