WCSU seeks student applicants for research fellowships in biology

2022 SURF participant Jocelyn Villacreses, of Danbury, uses quantitative PCR to measure gene expression of an osmotic stress transcription factor in the gills of Atlantic salmon. (Photo credit: WCSU/contributed photo)

DANBURY, CT – Undergraduate students interested in pursuing research in the field of biology are invited to submit applications to the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program to be offered in 2023 by the Department of Biology at Western Connecticut State University.

Applications are now being accepted from undergraduate students at any higher education institution who meet academic requirements for participation and are willing to fulfill research commitments averaging a minimum of 30 hours per week over an 8-10 week period during summer 2023. Applicants will compete for one of two SURF fellowships at WCSU, with each fellowship paying a stipend of $4,000 for fulfilment of research objectives.

Prior to submitting a SURF application, the student must contact a WCSU Department of Biology faculty member who can commit to assisting the applicant in developing a research project and in writing a proposal for submission to the SURF review committee. Applicants are advised to seek out mentors whose areas of research are most closely aligned with the students’ own research interests and career goals, and to do so as soon as possible.

Early action to confirm a mentoring arrangement is advised to allow sufficient time for the student to work with the faculty member in drafting a proposal. WCSU Biology faculty members willing to mentor SURF projects include Dr. Dorothy Christopher, Dr. Neeta Connally, Dr. Joshua Cordeira, Dr. Kristin Giamanco, Dr. Michelle Monette, Dr. Theodora Pinou, Dr. Hannah Reynolds, Dr. Carlos Santibanez-Lopez and Dr. Edwin Wong.

The deadline for submission of applications is Wednesday, March 15, 2023, and fellowship awards will be announced by April 15, 2023. Approved SURF projects will take place between May and August, with specific schedules to be determined by the mentor in consultation with the student.

Prospective applicants may obtain complete information about eligibility requirements, the application process, research obligations, and available faculty mentors and their areas of research specialization by accessing the department’s SURF home page at www.wcsu.edu/biology/surf/.

SURF programs offered at universities nationwide are designed to stimulate student interest in research opportunities and careers in the STEM disciplines. “The WCSU Biology SURF program gives undergraduate students an opportunity to experience and participate in hands-on research projects under the guidance of experienced mentors,” the university SURF web page said. “Students follow a project from beginning to end and present their results at a scientific forum.”

Dr. Theodora Pinou, Biology Department chair, said that the SURF program in biology at WCSU provides “an intensive research experience, offering a diversity of fields of research from which the student can choose. It’s a good way to determine if research is a field of activity that you wish to pursue in your career.”

To learn more about previous SURF research projects, visit https://news.wcsu.edu/wcsu-students-earn-surf-awards-to-pursue-research-with-faculty-mentors/.

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