Student researchers present at the annual SURF Symposium. This photo is from the 2019 event held in Swenson Hall. Promethean File Photo by Jean Germano

Applications for the 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program for scholarly and creative projects are open for UW-Superior undergraduate students until March 15.

SURF projects in past years have involved a wide range of subjects, and research projects are all mentored by UWS faculty or staff members to support students with guidance over the summer. Applicants can specify whether they would like to complete a 100-hour development project or a 200-hour fellowship project. Monetary stipends are awarded to both students and mentors, depending on the size of the project.

Along with hosting from the Center for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, the SURF program is funded by the UW-Superior Foundation. Since 2012, the SURF program has been promoting cross-curricular research, spanning, but not limited to creative writing, arts, music, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, and technology. Past projects have included both global and locally focused research. Students also collaborate with their mentors in designing their project, documenting it, and presenting their project at an annual campus SURF Symposium.

Given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, SURF applicants must design their projects in accordance with health and safety protocols. Last year’s applicants saw this change firsthand, having to shift their previously in-person research activities to conform to an online format. Julie O’Leary, Director for the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, recounts the success the program had in spite of the pandemic.

“While many campuses saw reduced levels of participation in summer research, this was not the case at UW-Superior,” O’Leary says. “There was a high level of interest from students and we received proposals for projects that could proceed remotely, including some that relied on databases and other resources that could be accessed online.”

Pandemic aside, the SURF program prides itself on the creative outlets in which students draft their projects, allowing them the freedom and flexibility to research many thought-provoking topics. Student projects are often geared toward the exploratory, laying the groundwork for future research beyond what the 10-week period during the summer holds.

Students eligible for either of the SURF projects must be in strong academic standing and have completed at least 24 or more credits at UW-Superior by the end of the spring 2021 semester. For more information on filling out the application for the 2021 SURF Program, along with examples of past SURF projects, students should visit the Summer Research Program website.