By Branden Hopper
While many students returned home for the summer, many stayed on campus and took advantage of a program that you might not have known about. The Summer Surf program pays student researchers a stipend to assist faculty members in research. Often times, students are not afforded the opportunity to conduct research as undergraduates and must wait until graduate school.
“When I went to college in the mid 80s there was no such thing as undergraduate student research,” said political science chair Sean Kelly. “It’s a transformative kind of experience for a lot of our undergraduate students.”
Kelly noticed that main reason students left campus for the break was often to work summer jobs and wanted to develop a program that allowed students to earn money while also having a unique opportunity to conduct research. Kelly noted the importance of being involved on campus and the practical advantages of the work students do over the summer.
“Whatever they’re doing is this is going to be a line on that resume,” sad Kelly. “That is what’s going to distinguish an average student from one who is going to be really successful.”
Students are encouraged to talk with their faculty members about what type of research they might be conducting and whether or not they are willing to work with students. Students in any major may participate in the Summer Surf Program and there are many research opportunities across all disciplines and not only in the fields where it might be more obvious, like STEM.
“It takes faculty who are willing to engage with their students,” said Kelly. “Some fields tend to be more amenable, like STEM fields. The humanities are a little bit tougher sell, but were making some inroads there.”
Student Research will be hosting their annual Fall Research Showcase on Friday in Broome Plaza from 11:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Many students who participated in the Summer Surf Program will be presenting their research and also competing in a thesis competition. Students will have the opportunity to speak with other students and faculty about the research they conducted over the summer. A CI event wouldn’t be a CI event without food so students will also be served free pizza.
Kelly hopes that the Research Showcase will attract students interested in a variety of disciplines who might not have known about the undergraduate research opportunities on campus, and believes people are beginning to notice the impact and benefit of the research being conducted.
“I’ve been working on this for ten years,” said Kelly. “Were finally beginning to make some progress. People are realizing this is considered a high impact teaching practice.”