SURF supports scholarly undergraduate research in all disciplines. Pictured above:
Amy Northrop '15
(l. to r.): Dr. Joseph P. McConnell, Professor Serge Schreiner, Professor Kelly
Lambert, President Robert R. Lindgren
Randolph-Macon College held its 15th annual SURF
(Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship) Symposium on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
The Symposium showcases students’ research and offers them the opportunity to formally
present the results of their research to faculty, staff and fellow students. In
oral and poster presentations, students described their research methodology and
how they determined their final conclusions.
Following a morning session of oral presentations in the Andrews Hall Multi-purpose
Room, President Robert R. Lindgren welcomed students, parents, faculty and friends
to the Symposium.
“You have worked long and hard over several weeks, guided by the steady hands of
your advisors,” said Lindgren to this year’s SURF participants. “This program allows
you to explore your passion for a personal interest, and nurtures research skills
that will serve you well in graduate school and in your future life. Today is one
of the highlights of the year for this great college, and I am delighted that you
are all here to celebrate student achievement at its best. It is very inspiring
This year’s keynote address was given by Dr. Joseph P. McConnell, laboratory director,
chief medical officer, and co-founder of Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) Inc.,
in Richmond Virginia. McConnell presented “From the Lab to the Boardroom.”
McConnell’s primary research interest is in the field of atherosclerosis, specifically
the use of novel risk factors to identify individuals at increased risk for developing
cardiovascular disease and events, with a focus on prevention. He has co-authored
more than 80 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific literature.
The SURF program is co-directed by Kelly Lambert, the Macon and Joan Brock Professor
of Psychology, and Serge Schreiner, the Dudley
P. and Patricia C. Jackson Professor of Chemistry.
“Each year I love watching the SURFers in my lab transform from tentative students
into serious researchers as they become driven by the research questions related
to mental health,” says Lambert. “Once they have that intrinsic motivation, there’s
no stopping them!”
Schreiner adds, “The most rewarding part of the SURF program is seeing students
get really excited about doing research to the point where they do it for two or
three years at R-MC and then go on to earn a Ph.D. It is great to see them years
later when they give presentations at conferences and meetings, and knowing that
it all started with SURF.”
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 Schapiros’ 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