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SURF Symposium Showcases Research (VIDEO)

Aug 09, 2017


student presenting at SURF symposiumRandolph-Macon College held its 20th annual SURF (Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship) Symposium August 4, 2017. SURF offers students the opportunity to conduct nine weeks of summer research under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

At the Symposium, held in Copley Science Center and Brock Commons, students analyzed their research methodology and their final conclusions in oral and poster presentations. Dean of Academic Affairs Lauren Bell welcomed students, parents, faculty, and President Robert R. Lindgren was in attendance throughout the day.

Engaging Presentations
Students researched a wide variety of topics across the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

A history and music major, Tori Santiago Troutman '18, under the guidance of Music Professor James Doering, researched George Clinton and the Social Commentary of P-Funk in the 1970s, and articulated the contributions of George Clinton to the rise of funk music in the United States in the context of Pan-Africanism and the Civil Rights debates.

Lauren Estell '19, a biology major and sociology minor, researched The Case of Odysseus and Beyond: Healing through Storytelling under the mentorship of Adjunct Professor Rosanna Lauriola. Estell's research focused on the potential of using the experiences of Odysseus on his return from Troy to treat post-traumatic disorders among veterans.

Sean Gordon '19, a political science major and ethics minor, researched American Gotham: A Policy Analysis of Crime Reduction Strategies under the direction of Political Science Professor Lauren Bell. Gordon analyzed crime rate statistics in large urban centers and the means that authorities have employed to control crime.

SURF Directors
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.

"SURF is an excellent opportunity for students and professors," says Schreiner. "Students have an enriching, hands-on learning experience, and professors can fine-tune their research and scholarship skills as they work alongside students. The one-on-one interaction is invaluable, and faculty and students, unencumbered by other classes, can focus completely on the research. Many students continue their research well beyond the nine weeks of SURF, a testimony to the program."

Generous Support
The Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program 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 Peggy.

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 stipend of $3,500, 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. Results of the research are presented at the annual SURF Symposium and on Research Day in the spring of the following year in a celebration of the previous summer's activities.