The Student Undergraduate Research Fellows (S.U.R.F.) program is an opportunity for student fellows to experience scholarship, research or creative process in collaboration and as modeled by faculty scholars. The funding consists of a $3,000 stipend and free housing during a 10-week May-to-August summer program. The grant will be contingent upon the successful completion of the spring semester and registration for the subsequent fall semester. Student fellows may submit one S.U.R.F. grant per year.

To be eligible for the summer grant program, student fellows must:

  • have completed at least 30 credit hours prior to the beginning of the summer program
  • have a GPA of 3.0 at the fall semester prior to application or permission from faculty scholar
  • be registered for the following fall semester


How to become a S.U.R.F.

Student fellows will:

Work with a faculty scholar during the summer
  • The work should be mostly done between May and August.
  • Each application should clearly identify the expected distribution of work in amount of weeks and hours per week (in the proposal timeline) based on the characteristics/demands of the project
Attend required events during the summer
  • Welcome meeting/meal
  • Regular meetings/consultations with faculty scholar as determined in proposal timeline, to discuss both the project as well as career development.
  • Recommended - at least once a week while working on the project:
    • Scheduled workshops every Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. during June with other Summer Fellows and Faculty Scholars to discuss issues related to research and professional development.
    • Scheduled brown bag meetings every Thursday
    • Capstone meeting & presentation of work accomplished to date, and meal.

In case of a schedule conflict, inform a faculty scholar and program coordinator as soon as possible.

Live On Campus

Living on campus will help fellows develop a cohort.

Prepare two written reports to the faculty scholar

The reports should reflect on experiences at the midpoint and end of the program.

Give formal presentations to the Alvernia community at future events
  • Fall: Trustee and donor meetings
  • Spring: Honors Convocation, and HECBC (Undergraduate Research Conference).

Student fellows are also encouraged to share their research with the academic community outside of the university via submission to conferences and/or professional journals.


Application & Submission Information

  • To apply, students must complete the S.U.R.F. application with support from their chosen faculty scholar. 
  • Applications are submitted to the Office of the Provost by the first Thursday of February by 4 p.m.
  • The Development and Research Committee will evaluate applications based on the student’s academic record (GPA or faculty scholar recommendation), the significance of the project, the appropriateness and feasibility of its plan and timeline, and its anticipated results. 
  • The provost will inform applicants of a decision by March 15.


S.U.R.F. Program Coordinator

Dr. Erin Way
Psychology & Counseling
Upland Center 125
Phone: 610-685-3257

Student Life

8 students complete S.U.R.F. program
The students presented their research across various fields.

Learn More About the Program

  • Promote and reward undergraduate Student Fellow & Faculty Scholar collaborative scholarship and creative work.
  • Support Student Fellow opportunities to experience scholarship, research or creative projects as a rigorous process of professional development modeled by a Faculty Scholar.
  • Provide career development opportunities for Student Fellows through workshops.
  • Support opportunities for Student Fellows to experience real world learning.
  • The program supports undergraduate students’ scholarly and creative projects.
  • Projects will be pursued during the summer (May/Aug): recommended 10 weeks, for approximately 20 hours a week
  • Maximum of ten Student Fellows per summer. 
  • One grant per Student Fellows per summer.
  • Maximum of two Student Fellows per Faculty Scholars each summer. 
  • Each Student Fellow will receive an award of $3,000 and free housing (room with kitchen).
  • Priority will be given to applications for projects that are result oriented (publication, presentation, or creative project). Result can be significant progress on an ongoing Faculty Scholar led project or new student project (i.e. development and/or implementation of novel data collection, tests, assays, and analysis, data collection at X sites that are part of a larger research project; review and summary of X primary sources housed at X library).
  • Student Fellows are expected to present their work. Presentation may focus on findings/summary of work, how work relates to larger scope of existing research, and discussion of the challenges/ issues the student dealt with in the process of generating the work.  
  • All Student Fellows will present their summer work at the end of the summer program, fall (meeting with Trustees and donors) and spring (Honors Convocation and HECBC Undergraduate Research Conference)
  • Separate project expenses funding will be available for the execution and presentation of the project.

Student fellows and faculty scholars will fill out two progress reports, during and at the end of the summer program.

  • Hour/week commitment: Student Fellows will follow a timeline determined by the faculty scholar, as appropriate for the project, as proposed and approved in the application process.
  • In case the student fellow is not making adequate progress at any point of the program, as evaluated by the faculty scholar and/or program coordinator, the grant may be suspended/canceled and the student will vacate the room provided by the university.
  • In case the student fellow does not participate in program meetings/workshops/capstone as determined in the schedule, the grant may be suspended/canceled and the student will vacate the room provided by the university. 
  • If the student fellow must miss a workshop: contact the faculty scholar and program coordinator. The workshops should be taped and made available to the students. To make up for a missed meeting, the student fellow will prepare a brief report of the work assigned at the missed event. Workshop assignments may consist of one hour of work outside the meeting time.  
  • Students who receive a successful progress report at the end of the summer program and present at future events will receive a certificate to be awarded during Honors Convocation. 
  • Student fellows and faculty scholars will be recognized in the Honors Convocation bulletin.
  • Successful completion of the summer program will result in faculty recognition for scholarly mentorship. Co-authorship or other formal scholarly accomplishments must be consistent with peer-reviewed presentations or publications considered under faculty criteria for scholarship.
Application Form Guidelines

The faculty scholar/student fellow team should submit a joint proposal that includes the following components, in the order described below:

  • Application Form: The application form should be the cover page of the proposal.
  • Description of Project: The description should cover intended scope and goal of project. Include a brief review of relevant research of the area of interest as well as a description of the activities that will be undertaken to accomplish the student research.
  • Plan and Timeline: Provide a plan of activities with clear timeline for the summer program. The timeline should also include required meetings, reports, and presentations - see Schedule - and indicate any conflict. It is recommended that the timeline covers 10 weeks, 20 hours per week. Consider a potential backup plan for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Assessment: When the project is complete, how will you and the Faculty Scholar evaluate the experience, especially the achievement of the project objective?
  • Bibliography/References: Bibliography/reference of literature used to develop the research proposal.
  • Faculty Scholar Applicant Role: The Faculty Scholar should address the goal of the student project, criteria for project evaluation, and describe his/her role in the project. Indicate how much the project is based on the student’s work/thinking and how much is derived from faculty work (i.e. is this an original student project or part of an ongoing faculty project).
  • Faculty Scholar Recommendation of Project: The Faculty Scholar should recommend the project for application based on direct experience the faculty has had with the student, and the student’s ability to perform and complete the proposed research.
  • Project location, materials and procedures: Identify location where the student will carry out project. What will the student need to do work (phone, special equipment, materials)? When will materials be ordered? Where will materials and products (data collected, samples, media) be stored? What security or special conditions must be met (private room to interview participants, locked file cabinets, refrigerator, vacuum, access to media suite) to effectively store these materials/products? How will student have access to the research materials and products if the faculty member is unavailable? Are these issues resolved at the time of the application or will the faculty-student team need help to obtain these products/create procedures?
  • Other Approvals: It is the responsibility of the Faculty Scholar to inform the Student Fellow of any additional training or approval necessary to conduct the student project. It is the responsibility of the Student Fellow to ensure (a) that this training/approval is documented (what is needed, when it will be started and completed) and submitted as part of the student research application form, (b) that these requirements are met prior to the beginning of the Summer program. Examples of training/approval are laboratory safety, Institutional Review Board (March approval is recommended), use of animal subjects, etc. Additional training/approvals may be necessary.
  • Submission of Proposal: Submit (a) the original in hard copy and (b) an electronic copy (in Word document or PDF) via email, to the Office of Provost. Proposals received after the deadline (first Thursday in February by 4:00 PM) will not be reviewed.
Project Expenses

Besides the $3,000 award, student fellows may apply for up to an additional $800 to cover expenses associated with the summer research project or future presentations. A separate application form is available for budget requests. Covered expenses might include: 

  • Travel to sites
  • Poster
  • Other expenses directly related to project (supplies/ materials/ equipment)
  • Conference presentation (including registration and travel)

The project expense application may be submitted with the S.U.R.F. application.

  • Only approved expenses will be reimbursed. 
  • If Student Fellows identify financial needs during the summer program, they should submit the appropriate project expense application form, and a budget with a rationale for the request to the Office of the Provost.