Current News

SURF’s Up at Randolph-Macon College

Jun 12, 2018


smiling studentAt a kick-off luncheon on June 11, 2018 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. Now in its 22nd year, SURF has hosted nearly 670 students.

"SURF is so special because it emphasizes our college's passion for research and scholarship; for the connection that happens between students and their professors when they work together on unique intellectual challenges; and for the importance of really good ideas," said Lindgren.

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. The 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. SURF students receive a stipend and room and board, and results of their research are presented at the annual SURF Symposium and on Research Day. Many SURF participants have presented their research throughout the United States and internationally, and some have published their work.

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

Tanner McClelland '19 (English major; education and psychology minor), under the mentorship of English Professor Amy Goodwin, will research Aristotelian Friendship and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Ellis Mumford '20 (environmental studies and biology major; education and Spanish minor), under the guidance of Biology Professor Nicholas Ruppel, will research Assessment of Native Plant Pollination and Development of Community Engagement in an Urban Native Plant Garden in Ashland, Virginia; and Ashley Sneed '19 (archaeology and theatre major; classics minor), under the mentorship of Theatre Professor Janet Hayatshahi, will research Closet Land: Combining Theatre and Film for a Psychological Thrill.

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 highlight students who are diving into research, soaking up new information in a variety of subjects, and making groundbreaking discoveries.