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July 3, 2012
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Applications for summer research program soar

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— While most college students are spending their summer ditching the books for the beach, 11 students have traded their books for a microscope in the research laboratories of Upstate Medical University.

Upstate’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program, sponsored by Upstate’s College of Graduate Studies, immerses college juniors into the world of biomedical research, including the fields of genetics, genomics, neuroscience, biochemistry, cell biology, structural biology and molecular biology.

Spending a summer studying science seems to be growing in popularity. This year the SURF Program had almost double the number of applicants than in previous years: 222 applications were received this year for only 11 spaces. Students realize the value in spending a summer preparing for the future, says a SURF administrator. “Having research experience is critical. It is important to know if you will like something before you commit five plus years to it,” says Mark Schmitt, PhD, director of the SURF Program and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.

In this highly competitive 10-week program, which runs from June 11 until Aug. 17, undergraduates get the opportunity to partner with faculty in order to formulate a proposal, carry out supervised research, write a research paper, and ultimately gain the opportunity to see their work published. The students attend various research seminars, tour research facilities and interact with many SUNY Upstate faculty and graduate students.

“Students learn exactly what biomedical research is like, by being able to investigate a problem or question that has never been answered,” says Schmitt, “they learn both the thrill of finding that result and the agony when problems occur and your experiment goes wrong.”

Each fellow is provided a $3,000 stipend and housing in SUNY Upstate’s Clark Tower residence hall.

The SURF Program participants this year include: Sean Atkinson from SUNY Potsdam; David Carpenter, Syracuse University; Cathleen Green, College of St. Rose; Molly Kingsley, Nazareth College; Sanjana Mahapatra, University of Buffalo; Erin Marshall, LeMoyne College; Lisa Mash, Binghamton University; Julianne Shelton, LeMoyne College; Eline Verbon, University College Utrecht; Siyi Zhang, Binghamton University; Wandi Zhu, Stony Brook University.

For more information on the SURF Program, call 315 464-4538.

Caption: SURF Program participant Molly Kingsley, a junior at Nazareth College, makes her research presentation to the Journal Club.

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