Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) 2018

Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) 2018


(cheerful music) – The SURF program has been great, because when you’re
applying to graduate schools they want to see undergraduate
research experience, and you can’t get that at every college. So here at Randolph-Macon
it’s a wonderful opportunity, and because of the generosity
of the Schapiro family we’ve been able to make this happen. And so it helps students
get into graduate school and reach careers they
might not have been able to. – I think the SURF
program is very beneficial to RMC students because
it allows them to sort of take a hands-on approach in
a subject of their interest and sorta dive deep into
it, and learn more about something that they’re
truly passionate about. – You can’t really go
super specific in a class, but you can in SURF.
And when you’re doing it you also have one-on-one mentorship, so you can really explore
it and see all the nuances of whatever topic or research
project you’re investigating, and that’s something
that’s incredibly helpful when you go into the workforce. – The point of SURF and a lot of projects is to find and delve into new information that has not yet been published on, or to contribute some new
perspective or knowledge to the field that might
not be previously known. And so SURF is really
great to do over the summer because it gives you that experience as something that you might be
doing in your field later on. – I applied to the SURF
program because I want to go to grad school, and the
SURF program is going to set me up perfectly for my
applications. I want to use my SURF paper to apply to grad school. And it’s really preparing
me for the academic world that I want to be a part
of after I graduate. – The SURF project has allowed
me to be more confident in my research skills, and
really give me the fundamental abilities that I would need to
conduct upper-level research in the future. It has given
me clarity in my future, and has given me some
assurance on being a professor in the future. – We can discover topics
that are important and interesting to us,
and it helps us feel like we’re making an impact on
the world, and that what we have learned in the
classroom, and what we have decided to do for
our futures is important. – The mentorship aspect is crucial. The advisors here at
Randolph-Macon have been awesome, and they continue to help you out. Any questions that you have, anything you want to learn
more about, they’re always open to that. – Students are able to benefit
from the faculty mentorship because not only do you get to
work with somebody one-on-one who kind of guides you
throughout the research process, but you really get to pick
the brains of somebody who is specialized in their field. They have a Ph.D. and
they’re there for you to hone your research
skills and your ability to ask questions, your ability to seek out the right resources. But
they’re also there as a mentor, they’re there for you to
figure out what exactly you want to do with the research and how it’s basically your research. – My advisor is Doctor Schreiner,
and he’s been incredible. During the school year you
don’t have as much time to get as much one-on-one
mentorship as you do during SURF. He’s always available for
me to ask him a question or how to do a new technique,
or a new type of experiment. So I’m really able to access
that knowledge a lot faster and a lot more in depth. – I originally had thought my
project was going to go one way, and Professor Goodwin had kept telling me, “Keep reading, keep reading.
See if this is really what you want to talk
about.” And the whole time I was thinking, “Yeah, this
is definitely what I want to talk about. This is what I want to say.” Until I had actually kept
reading and got to a point where it just clicked, and
I was thinking to myself, I was like, “Whoa, I should
be going in this direction!” Exactly the direction that
Professor Goodwin was telling me from the beginning. And
I didn’t really see it until that last piece finally clicked in. – The most rewarding
moment of research is when it all fits together.
You find the one line in a 10-page article that
you needed. The one word in a seven-page Latin
text that you just needed to make your research come together. And I think that’s so satisfying. – I’ve learned that research is very much overcoming obstacles and being persistent and persevering through
whatever comes your way. You have to be able to
be flexible and know that if things don’t work out, you
can always try something else, and maybe you didn’t find
what you were looking for, but there are other
discoveries to be made. – The SURF program has
allowed me to experience what it is like to live in grad school. I’ve been able to work
every day doing math and I’ve truly found that
I’m actually very passionate about it, so it’s been great reassurance. – SURF has allowed me not
only to grow as a researcher, but also as a student. I
think when you jump into the research process it
can be really demanding, so you kind of learn to become
more confident in the areas that you’re interested in, and
what you’re learning about. – SURF is just an overall
enjoyable experience in all aspects because
of the self-direction and because of exploring
things that you already want to explore. It’s a very
rewarding experience in the end. – As someone who maybe has
graduate school aspirations, I highly recommend SURF
because these are the kinds of projects that are
going to essentially be a gateway into that
thesis you need to write, or that dissertation
you’re going to be writing several years later from now. – I would definitely
recommend SURF to anyone who is at Randolph-Macon
or considering doing it for the summer. It is an
invaluable experience, and you really get to put
yourself in field work and be hands-on. I think
that it’s important for us to utilize every opportunity
that is given to us and SURF definitely is one of those.

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