Every spring, the Center for Undergraduate Excellence (CUE) reviews applicants for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). SURF is a paid eight-week program focused on undergraduate research and creative projects. Fellows can either work with a faculty mentor to either continue the mentor’s current research or create a project of their own. 

Nikki Trippler, 2021 SURF Fellow

Given the rigorous nature of the program, fellows are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours per week, attend weekly cohort meetings, submit weekly reports, and present their research in the last week of the program. Albeit the long hours, many students are appreciative of the opportunity to advance their research. 

2021 SURF Fellow Harshitha Venkatesh says “I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity to be selected as one of the fellowship recipients of the SURF program and to pursue a project that I’m not only passionate about, but a project that will help make a difference.” 

The SURF program is not limited to any major; students of any disciplines are encouraged to apply. Each year, there is a wide variety of students who are pursuing different research interests. Nina Dours, a Psychology and Screenwriting major, is working on a project that “will be a secondary data analysis of a nationally-representative sample of US adults that will attempt to understand gender differences in consensual non-monogamy attitudes and behaviors using the theoretical framework of sexual script theory.” Nikki Trippler, a Strategic & Corporate Communication and Theatre Studies major, is researching “about college students’ interpersonal communication during the pandemic and how it affects their personal, relational, and academic outcomes.”

Nat Pendergraft, 2021 SURF Fellow

History, TV Writing, and Production major Nat Pendergraft is “planning an interactive museum exhibit focusing on medical history across time and region, and [they’re] so incredibly excited to see how it all turns out.”

The CUE is excited to announce the 2021 SURF Fellows: 

  • Aviv Zohman / Software Engineering
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jerry LaRue
    • Project: Designing and Characterizing an Improved Graphene Production Method for Graphene Based Composites
  • Chelsey Cortes / Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jerry LaRue
    • Project: Photocatalysis with Titanium Nitride and Ruthenium Nanoparticles
  • Chloe Sermet / Psychology
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cedric Owens
    • Eliminating undesired greening in sunflower seed derived ingredients by hydrolysis of chlorogenic acid using an engineered esterase
  • Cindy Ramirez / Software Engineering
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jan Osborn
    • Project: Gender Gap in Computer Science: An Invitational Rhetorical Analysis
  • Christina Uribe / Psychology
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Aaron Schurger
    • Project: Searching for the Subjective Threshold of Consciousness
  • Emma Krivoshein / Psychology
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Aaron Schurger
    • Project: The Relationship Between Norepinephrine Neuromodulation and Stability of Global Brain States
  • Harshitha Venkatesh / Psychology
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brooke Jenkins
    • Project: The Coronavirus Pandemic: Associations of Stress, Optimism, and Positive Emotions on the Outcomes of Health & Learning
  • Ishaan Shah / Chemistry
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jerry LaRue
    • Project: Investigation of the Effect of Ru-Au and TiN-Ru nanoparticle catalysts on CO Oxidation and Hydrogenation Reactions
  • Lauren Bramlett / Dance; English Literature, Rhetoric, and Cultural Studies
    • Faculty Mentor: Julianne O’Brien
    • Project: Embodied Rhetoric: Meaning-Making in Dance Protest Art
  • Liam Sullivan / Chemistry
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Allegra Liberman-Martin
    • Project: Ketone Hydrosilylation with a Novel Carbodiphosphorane Catalyst
  • Liora Mayats Alpay / Computer Science
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Yuxin Wen
    • Project: AI-enhanced COVID-19 detection using chest X-ray images
  • Michael Bertagna / Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    • Faculty Mentors: Dr. Maduka Ogba
  • Nat Pendergraft / History and TV Writing and Production
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alexander Bay
    • Project: The Doctor Will See You Now – An Interactive Exhibit
  • Nathan Reynoso / BFA Creative Writing, BA Theatre
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner
    • Project: Rebuilding Identities: British radio dramas in the late ‘40s and ‘50s
  • Nikki Trippler / Strategic & Corporate Communication and Theatre Studies
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sara LaBelle
    • Project: Long-Distance Peer-to-Peer Relationships Interpersonal Communication Methods
  • Nina Dours / Psychology and Screenwriting
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Amy Moors
    • Project: Traditional Sexual Script and Double Standard Adherence: Predictors of Heterosexually Identified Women’s and Men’s Interest in Consensual Non-Monogamy
  • Roksana Gorgolewski / Economics, Political Science, Peace Studies
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisa Leitz
    • Project: Female Political Participation Aided by Constitutional Provisions
  • Sophie Srivastava / Psychology
    • Faculty Mentor: Dr. Vincent Berardi
    • Project: Perceptions of Homelessness and Mental Illness

The CUE congratulates the 2021 SURF Fellows and is appreciative of all the applicants! 


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