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Undergraduate Programs

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships
(SURF)

Learn about our students and their SURF experiences

Overview

The BMB Department has funds available to support summer research thanks to generosity of PSU donors. Successful applicants will receive funds in the amount of $3000 to help cover living expenses while working in unpaid research experiences in a BMB 488 and 496 faculty lab.  Applications due no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, March 5, 2021 and students notified by early-April. 

 

Eligibility

Applicants must be in one of the three majors (BMB, MICRB, or BIOTC) offered by the BMB Department and the Faculty Mentors must be in the BMB Department, or a member of BMMB Graduate Faculty. The time commitment and dates for completing the research over the summer will ultimately be determined by faculty mentors, but it is expected that applicants will be able to participate in a significant research experience. 

 

Funds Used to Support Summer Undergraduate Research

Paul and Mildred Berg Summer Scholar Research Endowment:

The purpose of fund shall be to supplement departmental support for University Scholars in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Charles and Vicki Grier Undergraduate Research Fund in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology:

The purpose of this endowment shall be to enrich the Eberly College of Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University by providing monies in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for stipends for undergraduate students in otherwise unpaid summer research positions in the department who are conducting research projects in faculty laboratories.  

Edward B. Nelson Undergraduate Research Fund in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology:

The purpose of this endowment shall be to enrich the Eberly College of Sciences at Penn State, by providing monies in the Department of BMB for stipends for undergraduate students in otherwise unpaid summer research positions in the department who are conducting research projects in faculty laboratories. 

Jacqueline Hemming Whitfield Undergraduate Summer Research Endowment:

The purpose of this endowment shall be to provide support to a female undergraduate student enrolled in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Eberly College of Science at Penn State in the summer following her sophomore or junior year, by providing monies in an otherwise unpaid research position related to her major.  Interested students should complete the application available from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  

John and Paige Lapinski Undergraduate Fellowship

The purpose of this fund shall be to enhance the Eberly College of Science at The Pennsylvania State University by providing monies for stipends for undergraduate students in unpaid summer research positions in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Biology.

S.U.R.F. Award Application Information

Award applicants must be in one of the majors offered by the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB, MICRB, BIOTC).  The time commitment and dates for completing the research over the summer will ultimately be determined by faculty mentors, but it is expected that applicants will be able to participate in a significant research experience.  While the intent is for the research to be performed in-person on campus, due to the uncertain conditions related to the pandemic, this year applications require a section from the student that describes whether or not the student and mentor have agreed on a back-up plan for conducting the research remotely.  In addition, faculty advisers are asked to indicate in their letter of recommendation whether they support in-person projects only, or alternate remote projects. 

If a student is selected for both a BMB SURF awards, as well as another award that provides less than $4,000 (i.e. SEN Grant, or Discovery Grant) then students are encouraged to accept the alternate award.  BMB will then supplement the alternate award with up to $3,000 for a maximum total award of $4,000.  Previous winners of a BMB Summer Research Award are NOT eligible.

Deadline: Friday, March 5, 2021

Apply Here

Please provide a letter of recommendation from your 488 or 496 Research Advisor. The letter should address:

  • creativity
  • initiative
  • technical skills
  • ability to work independently

Faculty advisers are asked to indicate in their letter or recommendation whether they support in-person projects only, or alternate remote projects.

Your application is not complete until the letter of recommendation from your 496 Research Advisor has been received.  Recommendation letters can be emailed to Lindsey Sampsell by 5:00 pm, Friday, March 5, 2021.

Complete the online information form.

Upload two-page project proposal written by the student in collaboration with your Principal Investigator.  Principal Investigator's function is to review and provide feedback only.  Include the following:

  • Hypothesis
  • Rationale
  • Approach and how student plans to interpret data
  • Possible Outcomes
  • Section that describes whether or not the student and mentor (PI) have agreed on a back-up plan for conducting the research remotely.

Proposal format should be two pages, single or double spaced, 12" font, 1" margins and reference page should be a separate page.

Applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee. Review criteria include:

  1. Quality of the description of the hypothesis to be tested
  2. Recommendation of the adviser in terms of research aptitude and potential for success
  3. Impact of the research experience on the future goals of the student
  4. GPA

Applicants will be notified by early April regarding funding decisions.  Questions may be directed to the Undergraduate Coordinator, Lindsey Sampsell.