Research presentation during R-MC's annual SURF Symposium.
The 14th annual Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship
(SURF) Symposium was held on Thursday, August 4, 2011 at Randolph-Macon College.
The Symposium, a culmination of cutting-edge research conducted this summer, is
held so that students can formally present the results of their research to faculty,
staff and fellow students.
President Robert R. Lindgren welcomed students, parents, faculty and friends to
“What a pleasure it is to be with you students today to recognize your terrific
accomplishments this summer and to help you celebrate the fruits of your labors,”
said Lindgren. “You have explored new areas of knowledge, gained new insights, grown
as students, and as citizens, and left a clear research trail for others to follow.
The search for knowledge is eternal, and you are now active participants in that
Lindgren continued, “To you parents who could be with us today, my personal thanks
for supporting your sons and daughters in their important work this summer. And
thank you also for entrusting their education to us; through SURF and the many other
academic opportunities available, it is my hope that Randolph-Macon has exceeded
your expectations and proven worthy of your investment.”
In oral and poster presentations held in the Copley Science Building and McGraw-Page
Library, students described their research methodology and how they determined their
SURF to view a slideshow of photos from the Symposium.
This year’s keynote speaker, University of Virginia Psychology Professor Daniel
Willingham, presented “Why Knowledge Matters to Effective Thinking.” Willingham,
whose research focuses on the application of cognitive psychology to K-12 education,
stressed the importance of critical thinking and said that it requires practice
and prior knowledge.
Willingham writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator
magazine, and is an associate editor of Mind, Brain, and Education. He
has authored approximately 100 scientific articles and book chapters on topics related
to cognitive science and education. His teaching has been recognized with numerous
awards, including The Outstanding Professor Award in the UVA Department of Psychology
(1996, 2000) and the All-University Outstanding Teaching Award at UVA (1999, 2011).
He is the author of Why Don't Students Like School? (2009, Jossey-Bass),
and his most recent book endeavor is When Should You Believe The Experts?
The Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship was introduced in 1995 as an endowment
to support scholarly undergraduate research by R-MC students in all disciplines.
The initial gift for the program was made by Benjamin Schapiro ’64 and his wife
The Shapiros’ generosity provides students with the opportunity to conduct original
research under the guidance of a faculty member. The SURF program demands that students
experience a professional research environment. Students submit a research proposal
for funding to faculty reviewers, emulating a competitive external review process.
If funded, the student receives a modest summer stipend, and it is understood that
the research should result in presentation of the findings at professional meetings
and submission for publication where appropriate.
The college also provides free housing so students can engage in a number of activities
as a community. Among these activities are seminar presentations by faculty members
and visiting scholars. Results of the research are presented at the annual SURF
Symposium and on Research Day in the spring in a celebration of the summer’s activities.
The SURF program is co-directed by Kelly Lambert, the Macon and Joan Brock Professor
of Psychology, and Chemistry Professor Serge Schreiner.
A number of SURF students invited the public to follow their research this summer
by writing blogs about their experiences. Click on
SURF Blogs to read them.