Summer Research On Campus: One Student’s Experience in the SURF Program

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to get involved in research here on campus. Participants receive a $1,500 stipend to conduct their research. There are two tracks to choose from that cater to students in different stages of the research process. Track 1 serves students who are early in their research. It offers students research and professionalization skills and helps them develop a poster by the end of the summer. Through Track 2, the editors of The Pegasus Review: UCF Undergraduate Research Journal guide researchers who are ready to publish original research through preparing a manuscript to submit to an academic journal. This research program serves students across all disciplines and allows students to conduct research over the summer at UCF.

Gabriela Flores-Cruz, a Psychology student, told us about her experience with SURF last summer. Gabriela transferred from Seminole State College, and looked to “get hands-on research experience for the short amount of time” that she will be at UCF. She started undergraduate research in spring 2018 with her Honors in the Major project and then took advantage of the SURF program to obtain funding and resources to build on her work. Through SURF, Gabriela was also able to “further explore [her] area of interest in research and enhance [her] career choice.”

Gabriela gained a lot from the SURF workshops, including how to make a poster presentation and ways to strengthen your resume or curriculum vitae. These workshops, combined with presenting her research at the Summer Research Showcase, helped Gabriela “develop the skills that are necessary for managing [her] research project.” She spent the summer establishing the methodology and statistical analyses she used in her Honors in the Major thesis, which she is defending this semester. The summer fellowship is a great program to help you get involved in research or compliment the research you are already doing. This is especially true for transfer students like Gabriela who are more pressed for time and are looking to jumpstart their research experience.

Gabriela’s advice to students who are applying to SURF is that “research is an ongoing process. Even if you are just starting your own independent research project, being a part of SURF will give you a better insight into the skills that you will need for planning and conducting your research project.” With the application deadline for SURF approaching on March 1, talk to your Faculty Mentor about applying for this l research opportunity and make the most out of you summer at UCF. Attend Undergraduate Research’s “Write a Strong Proposal for our Summer Fellowships and Research Grants” workshop to help prepare a competitive application.