Ten St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellows gathered in Glendening Annex on July 7, 2016, to present their research to peers and professors. Under the guidance of faculty mentors, the students have explored multiple topics in a wide variety of subjects, both in the sciences and humanities. Topics ranged from Marilyn Steyert’s ‘18 project which involved the synthesization of novel fluorescent dyes to act as molecular sensors, to Salah Khanjari’s project which involved researching and conducting case studies on the effects of laïcité on French immigrants, specifically Maghrebians.
SMURF is an annual eight-week summer program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and was made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as by multiple internal sources, including the Office of the President and the Office of Academic Affairs. The program, which is celebrating its fourth annual year, is co-directed by Ruth Feingold and Liz Leininger. Sam Eliot from the Biology Department founded the program in 2011. The program’s goal is to provide students and faculty with opportunities to work together closely, and to ultimately come together as a group to share their findings on their interdisciplinary studies.
The Office asked some of the S(m)URF fellows about their experiences in the program, as well as any advice they’d like to share:
How do you feel your time as a S(m)URF fellow has helped you grow as a student?
“As a student especially looking at grad school and a job in chemistry, I was really appreciative that S(m)URF gave me the chance to see what a full-time job in the lab would be like. Because I didn’t have any other classes, this is what I was focusing on, spending eight hours in lab every day of the week. It just gave me an interesting perspective on what a career in chemistry would be like.”
— Leah Dignan ’17, S(m)URF Fellow.
What do you plan on taking from your experience as a researcher and a fellow?
“This is a lead-in to my SMP…hopefully I’ll be publishing [the S(m)URF research]… It’s a really helpful way to get started and to get my feet wet. It’s really nice to have a concentrated time to devote your entire day to [research].”
– Catherine Dye ’17, S(m)URF Fellow.
Do you have any insights into the program for future fellows?
I would say because S(m)URF is a program that is really all-intensive and allows you to put all hours of your day, all forty hours of your week, into your project. [It’s also important] to not be afraid to pick a project that you are interested in and to pick something that maybe other research fellowships or experiences wouldn’t necessarily let you do.”
– Dionna Bucci ’17, S(m)URF Fellow
This year the S(m)URF fellows are:
- Leah Dignan ’17
- Salah Khanjari ’18
- Catherine Dye ’17
- Dionna Bucci ’17
- Tommie Day ‘17
- Kathleen La ‘17
- Erica Leyder ‘18
- Marilyn Steyert ’18
- Joey Haavik ’17
- Mickey Simmons ’17
For more information on the S(m)URF program please visit: https://www.smcm.edu/