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SURF’s Up at Randolph-Macon College

Jun 06, 2017


SURF students 2017At a kick-off luncheon on June 5, 2017 in the Trustees Room in Estes Dining Hall, Randolph-Macon College President Robert R. Lindgren welcomed Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) students and their mentors. SURF offers students the opportunity to conduct 10 weeks of full-time, original research during the summer months, under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

"This special program, now in its 21st remarkable year, has hosted over 630 students," said Lindgren. "The 36 of you who are participating this year will add distinction and excellence to what is truly one of the flagship programs here at Randolph-Macon College. It is truly exciting that this summer, you and your faculty mentor will have the opportunity to harvest those good ideas through research and rigorous learning. We look forward to seeing where your research takes you and the discoveries you make!"

Generous Support, Innovative Research
The SURF program was established in 1995 through a generous endowment made by Ben '64 and Peggy Schapiro. The Schapiros continue to support this program, which promotes scholarly undergraduate research by students in all disciplines. Ben Schapiro has been a long-standing member of the R-MC Board of Trustees and has served the college on a number of other board committees, including the Society of Alumni. He is currently a member of the Presidents Society and the Heritage Society.

The SURF program is co-directed by Art History Professor Evie Terrono and Serge Schreiner, the Dudley P. and Patricia C. Jackson Professor of Chemistry.

In order to participate in the program, students write proposals and apply for grant money to fund their research. Students receive a stipend and room and board, and results of the research are presented at the annual SURF Symposium and on Research Day. Many past SURF participants have presented their research throughout the United States and internationally, and some have had great success in publishing their work.

Summer SURFers
This year’s SURF projects focus on a variety of disciplines, including chemistry, biology, political science, and history. A sampling of projects includes:

Elizabeth Forstall '18 (English major; education minor), under the mentorship of English Professor Jen Cadwallader, will research Death and the Objectification of Women in Victorian Literature; Zach Mayo '19 (history major; education minor), under the guidance of History Professor Leslie Waters, will research Population Exchange and Migration in the Hungarian-Slovak Borderland; and Nicholas Ravida '18 (environmental studies and religious studies major; biology minor), under the mentorship of Biology Professor Nicholas Ruppel, will research The effects of meristem size on the leaf patterns of the temperature-sensitive mutant GGPSI-1 in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Throughout the summer, R-MC will post web stories about individual SURF participants. Visit  and "surf" R-MC's social media pages often as we follow students who are diving into research, soaking up new information in across-the-board subjects, and making groundbreaking discoveries