Randolph-Macon College held its annual Research Day on May 12, 2017.
This campus-wide event represented the culmination of student research efforts, including senior and honors theses, as well as course projects. Hundreds of students participated in Research Day, and activities included poster sessions, presentations, seminars, video projects, drama presentations and more.
Some of the students involved in Research Day do so in conjunction with the college's unique Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. SURF was introduced in 1995 as an endowment to support scholarly undergraduate research by students in all disciplines. Students conduct 10 weeks of full-time, original research during the summer months, under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The initial gift for the program was made by Benjamin Schapiro '64 and his wife Peggy. The SURF program is co-directed by Serge Schreiner, the Dudley P. & Patricia C. Jackson Professor of Chemistry, and Art History Professor Evie Terrono.
Projects represented a broad range of academic disciplines. For example, Kevin Bachouros '17 (history major) presented Cold War Rivalries and the Rise of Ice Hockey and Soccer in the Soviet Union; Caroline Hollandsworth '17 (biology and environmental studies major) presented Monitoring Water Quality in the James River; and Katie Raymond '17 (communication studies major; journalism minor) presented Dishing Out Family Traditions: An Analysis of Family References on Food Network Shows.
An impressive array of topics in all disciplines reveals the commitment of both students and faculty to the SURF program, which provides an unparalleled opportunity to hone research and analytical reading, and writing skills that are transferable to other courses at the college, and the professions and graduate school beyond," says Terrono. "SURF allows for more in-depth engagement on a single topic, and the one-on-one mentorship that continues well beyond SURF fosters professional development opportunities. The incorporation of research projects on digital learning, on historically under-represented populations, on environmental concerns, and the many scientific projects that have direct applications reveal the ever-expanding research that is taking place at R-MC."
Says Schreiner, "The SURF experience usually gets carried forward to the academic year in that students continue to do research during the academic year, and often the SURF experience is the catalyst for a two-semester senior thesis project."