• Announcing the Health Research Program

The Office of Undergraduate Research announces the launch of a new undergraduate research program, the Health Research Program. The Health Research Program offers a new pathway into undergraduate research for students with interests in health and/or the biomedical sciences. This program, sparked by President Herbst’s interest in facilitating connections between UConn Health researchers and UConn undergraduates, aims to involve more students in research at UConn Health. The Health Research Program is supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of the Provost, and coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

For students interested in participating in this program for Spring 2017, here are key details to consider:

  • Spring 2017 opportunities are now posted on the Health Research Program website. There are 18 opportunities that range from psychiatry to science policy, biomaterials to neuroscience, genetics to molecular medicine. The application deadline for these opportunities is Friday, January 6, 2017.
  • To be eligible for these spring opportunities, students must plan to graduate no sooner than December 2017. This is because these research placements are not intended to be for spring alone – they will extend into summer and/or next academic year, assuming satisfactory research progress is made in spring and both the student and faculty mentor are interested in continuing the placement.

Further details and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the Health Research Program website. Students are encouraged to peruse the posted opportunities and begin preparing application materials for any placements of interest. We also urge students to take care to consider the time commitment and schedule options involved in a given opportunity to ensure that they can accommodate these demands in their spring schedule.

Please contact Caroline McGuire, OUR Director, at caroline.mcguire@uconn.edu with any questions.

• SURF 2017: Program Updates

surf3As we prepare for the SURF 2017 application to go live on December 1st, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight some updates and changes to this year’s SURF program. SURF continues to offer students from across the academic disciplines the opportunity to focus full-time on a research or creative project for 9-10 weeks over the summer.

Updates for 2017

  • Stabilized funding. Over the past few years, SURF funding has contracted significantly due to university-wide budget cuts. We are very pleased to announce that the program is on firm financial footing for 2017 due to a generous pledge of support from the Office of the Provost, as well as a multi-year funding commitment from the Office of the Vice President for Research. SURF funding will continue to come from a number of sources – including contributions from donors to the university, from the Deans of many Schools and Colleges, and from OUR’s budget – and we anticipate being able to make approximately 60 awards for 2017, consistent with pre-cut funding levels.
  • Application changes. See the full application outline here.
    • Data collection and data analysis. Reviewers sought greater specificity from applicants regarding their data collection and data analysis plans. The project proposal prompt now includes the following items:
      • For projects involving the collection of data, provide details about your data collection strategy and the types of data you will collect.
      • For projects involving the analysis of data, provide details about your planned analytic procedures and show how your analysis will answer your research question(s).
    • Upload of data collection tools. Reviewers requested that students using survey or interview methods be required to upload their data collection tool(s) (e.g., survey, assessment instrument, interview protocol) so that reviewers might better assess the proposed research design. A PDF upload field is included in the online application for this purpose; students not using survey or interview methods can skip this upload field. Students, please contact OUR with any questions about the use of this upload field.
  • Timeline changes. See timeline guidance and samples here.
    • Literature review. In most cases, literature review and synthesis will have been conducted to inform the development of the SURF proposal. Accordingly, timeline weeks should not be allocated solely to literature review unless the development of a synthesis of the literature is a major component of the proposed summer project. Any student intending to focus his/her SURF project on literature review is especially encouraged to meet with OUR staff (via appointment or SURF office hours) to discuss the project and how to present it most effectively.
    • Coursework and study abroad. Students are expected to account for summer course enrollment, participation in study abroad programs, or any other substantial summer commitment in their SURF timelines. SURF timelines need not be continuous, and the number of SURF project hours can vary from week to week. It is strongly recommended that students not pursue more than 3 credits of coursework simultaneously with the SURF project.
  • Budget policies. See the Budget Policies and Samples page for detailed guidance about allowable expenses (now including maximum dollar amounts for expenses like poster printing) and examples of budgets that show the appropriate level of detail. Faculty advisors of students conducting laboratory research: Please work with your advisee to ensure s/he has accurate information about the costs of lab supplies that can be procured through university purchasing channels and contracts.
  • Submitting letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation will still be collected electronically, but via online form. In addition to uploading their letters of recommendation, project advisors will be asked about the research compliance status of the proposed project; this change is being made due to delays that negatively impacted SURF awardees in past years.
  • SURF Mailing List. Students planning to apply for SURF can sign up for the SURF Mailing List to receive helpful application tips via email.

We look forward to another excellent set of SURF applications this year! The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2017. We encourage all students to make use of SURF Office Hours to get feedback on their draft materials and to ask any questions they might have about the program or the application. SURF Office Hours are scheduled for 12/8, 12/9, 1/17, 1/20, and 1/23. Full detail about times and location can be found in the sidebar on the main SURF webpage.

Photos of SURF recipients

• Apply Now for Summer 2017 Research and Internship Opportunities

Undergraduate students who are interested in participating in a summer research or internship program need to plan ahead. December is the time to gather together all the required elements of the applications, including faculty letters of recommendation. All of the exciting summer opportunities listed below have application deadlines in December or January! Don’t miss the opportunity to get research experience.

Department of Homeland Security HS-STEM Summer Internship Program
Deadline: December 7, 2016; http://www.orau.gov/dhseducation/internships/
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsors a 10-week summer internship program for students majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) disciplines. Undergraduate students receive a $600/week stipend plus travel expenses for a 10-week research experience.

Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program (MLEF)
Deadline: December 30, 2016; http://orise.orau.gov/mlef/
The Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy. It is a 10-week summer internship program that provides opportunities to students who are pursuing degrees in STEM fields. The goal of the program is to improve opportunities for minority and female students in these fields, but all eligible candidates are encouraged to apply. Selected undergraduates receive a weekly stipend of $600.

Summer Neuroscience Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SNURF) – University of Vermont
Deadline: January 3, 2017; http://www.uvm.edu/~nbhspire/?Page=snurf.html
Two summer research programs will be hosted by the University of Vermont. One is funded by NSF and the other by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Both offer generous stipends and housing. Interested students may apply to only one of the two programs. Details available on the website.

Summer Undergraduate Course Creating Excellence in Scientific Study (SUCCESS) – The Ohio State University, College of Medicine
Deadline: January 7, 2017; http://medicine.osu.edu/mstp/success-program/Pages/index.aspx
This 10-week research experience is hosted by the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). The program encourages applications from students whose backgrounds and experiences would bring diversity to the field. Applicants must have an expected college graduation date in 2018 or 2019. $3,800 stipend and housing provided.

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)
Deadline: January 13, 2017; http://science.energy.gov/wdts/suli/
The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers by providing research experiences at one of 17 participating Dept. of Energy laboratories.

Cold Spring Harbor Undergraduate Summer Research Program 2017
Deadline: January 15, 2017; http://www.cshl.edu/education/urp
The URP program is designed to give students an opportunity to conduct first-rate research under the supervision of senior laboratory staff in the areas of cancer biology, neuroscience, plant biology, cellular and molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics and genomics. Selected students receive room and board in addition to a $5,000 stipend.

DAAD RISE – Research Internships in Science and Engineering in Germany
Deadline: January 15, 2017; https://www.daad.de/rise/en/
DAAD RISE gives students in the fields of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, engineering and physics the chance to spend a summer working on research projects with doctoral students at German universities and research institutions. Interested students must first register online between December 1, 2016 and January 15, 2017. Students will then be able to access the internship offers submitted by the doctoral students in Germany prior to completing the application.

Summer ORISE Fellowship Opportunities at the CDC
Deadline: January 20, 2017; http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/dls/orise.html
Appointments through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellowship Program. This is a paid research opportunity for biology and chemistry majors. Stipend of $2,700 per month for undergraduate students.

Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) Summer Internship Program
Deadline: January 25, 2017; http://orau.gov/dndo/
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) Summer Internship Program provides opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in projects at federal research facilities located across the country. This is a 10-week summer internship program focused on the DNDO mission of domestic nuclear detection and integrating federal nuclear forensics programs. Areas of research include engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and environmental science. U.S. citizenship is required. Interns will receive a stipend of $600/week for 10 weeks plus travel expenses.

Natural History Research Experiences (NHRE)
Deadline: January 25, 2017; http://www.mnh.si.edu/NHRE/index.htm
This is a 10-week summer internship program at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. NHRE interns work closely with scientific mentors to complete independent research projects in Earth science, Biology, and Anthropology. Interns will receive a stipend of $6,000 and be provided dorm housing at George Washington University.

Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program
Deadline: January 27, 2017; http://www.loc.gov/hr/jrfellows/
This 10-week internship program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to explore the environment, culture and collections of the world’s largest and most comprehensive repository of human knowledge. Selected students are provided the opportunity to explore digital initiatives and inventory, catalog, arrange, preserve and research a backlog of special, legal or copyright collections in many different formats. The application will open on December 12, 2016. $4,500 stipend.

Summer Public Health Scholars Program (SPHSP) – Columbia University
Deadline: January 31, 2017; http://ps.columbia.edu/education/student-life/office-diversity/programs/college-and-post-baccalaureate-students/summer-publ
The Summer Public Health Scholars Program (SPHSP) is designed for undergraduate students who are interested in public health and biomedical science careers. Applicants must have completed at least two years of college. Students from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Selected students will be provided with a stipend, housing, and round trip travel.

ThinkSwiss Research Scholarships
Deadline: January 31, 2017; http://thinkswiss.tumblr.com/About
ThinkSwiss scholarships support highly motivated undergraduates who are interested in doing research at a public Swiss university or research institute. The scholarship is open to students in all fields. A monthly stipend of approximately $1,050 is provided for a period of 2-3 months.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP)
Deadline: January 31, 2017; http://www.research.chop.edu/programs/crissp/index.php
The CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP) is committed to educating and training future leaders in the biomedical sciences, with a special emphasis on advancing laboratory, clinical, behavioral and translational pediatric research. Summer stipend of $4000 and free housing.

• Student Accomplishments – May 2016


Please join us in congratulating the UConn undergraduates named below for their significant research and creative accomplishments in spring 2016. Students: if you have an accomplishment to share, please do so using this online form.


Quian Callender
Quian Callender ’16 (BUS), during his study abroad in China.

Congratulations to Quian Callender ’16 (BUS), the first undergraduate to be selected as a recipient of the GE Global Fellowship Award from the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). Quian presented his research on international aspects of healthcare quality at the program’s annual event on April 15, 2016.

Brock Chimileski ’17 (CLAS) has been selected as the first Beckman Scholar at UConn. The Beckman Scholars program will support Brock’s independent research in Alexander Jackson’s laboratory in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology for two summers and one academic year. Congratulations, Brock!

Sarah Mosure ’17 (CLAS) received a Founders Affiliate Undergraduate Student Summer Fellowship Award from the American Heart Association. She will be working under the supervision of Professor Li Wang in the Wang Lab this summer. Congratulations, Sarah!

Congratulations to Michael Cantara ’16 (CLAS), Alexander Choi ’16 (ENG), and Brendan Smalec ’16 (CLAS, SFA), undergraduate recipients of 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships! They are among the 10 UConn students and alumni who won fellowships this year; 21 UConn students and alumni earned Honorable Mentions in this year’s competition.


Hannah Gerhard ’18 (CAHNR) was a co-author on a recent publication from the Luo Lab:

Hu, Q. Gerhard, H., Upadhyaya, I., Venkitanarayanan, K., & Luo, Y. (2016). Antimicrobial eugenol nanoemulsion prepared by gum arabic andlecithin and evaluation of drying technologies. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 87, 130-140. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.02.051.

Alyssa Mathiowetz ’17 (CLAS) was a co-author on a recent publication from the Campellone Lab, as were two past undergraduate researchers, Ashley Russo ’14 (CLAS) and Steven Hong ’14 (CLAS):

Russo, A.J., Mathiowetz, A.J., Hong, S., Welch, M.D., & Campellone, K.G. (2016). Rab1 recruits the actin nucleation machinery but limits filament assembly during membrane remodeling. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 27(6), 967-978. E15-07-0508.

Fejiro Okifo ’16 in the lab.

Oghenfejiro Okifo ’16 (CLAS) was a co-author on a recent publication from the Teschke Lab:

Harprecht, C., Okifo, O., Robbins, K.J., Motwani, T., Alexandrescu, A.T., & Teschke, C.M. (2016). Contextual role of a salt-bridge in the phage P22 coat protein I-domain. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291, 11359-11372. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.716910


Spring 2016 included a series of incredible exhibitions by the following undergraduate students:

Christy Corey ’16 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
TODO MODO: Food and Recipe Illustrations 

Jasmine Jones ’16 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Voices, Volume 1: Ballroom 

Ryan King ’16 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Visual Meditation 

Madeline Nicholson ’17 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Whispers of Light: A Video and Sound Installation 

Giorgina Paiella ’16 (CLAS) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Woman a Machine: Gender, Automation, and Created Beings


William Chan
William Chan ’16 (CLAS)

Eastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting – March 3-5, 2016 – New York, NY

William Chan ’16 (CLAS) & Henry Guo ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Assessing public perceptions of recent epidemics in children

Nicole Gherlone ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Associations between asthma and central obesity in children: A case-control study in a pediatric emergency department (PED)

Eastern Society for Pediatric Research Annual Meeting – March 11-13, 2016 – Philadelphia, PA

Lena Capozzi ’16 (CLAS), Eric Dunn ’16 (CLAS), & Morgan McKenna ’18 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Do women and men implicitly create cognitive maps within a virtual environment?

Stephen Friedland ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The effects of estrogen on hippocampal-dependent spatial memory

Kezhen Wang
Kezhen Wang ’17 (CAHNR)
Sydney Carr
Sydney Carr ’18 (CLAS)

National Conference of Black Political Scientists Annual Meeting – March 16-20, 2016 – Jackson, MS

Sydney Carr ’18 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
How the public views black presidential candidates

Geological Society of America, South-Central Section, 50th Annual Meeting – March 21-22, 2016 – Baton Rouge, LA

Kezhen Wang ’17 (CAHNR) – OUR Travel Award recipient
A 2-D land-building model for suspended sediment in coastal diversions

Geological Society of America, Northeastern Section, 51st Annual Meeting – March 21-23, 2016 – Albany, NY  

Chad Fagan ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
An organic molecular record of post-glacial climate and fire occurrence in a southern New England wetland core

Nathan Corcoran ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Assessing coastal erosion hazard vulnerability in Connecticut

Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting – March 31-April 2, 2016 – Baltimore, MD 

Samantha Lawrence ’17 (CLAS)
Justifying bullying: How previous experiences predict adolescent moral reasoning about exclusion used to bully in same-race and cross-race situations

Myroslava Veres ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The relation between personal bullying experience with evaluations of various response strategies to exclusion bullying scenarios 

Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting – April 2-5, 2016 – New York, NY

Seng and Orvis at CNS
Kagnica Seng and Patrick Orvis presenting at CNS.

Courtney McQuade ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The effects of nicotine on conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement

Patrick Orvis ’16 (CLAS) & Kagnica Seng ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Body posture and the representation of “abstract” concepts

Northeast Writing Centers Association Conference – April 2-3, 2016 – Keene, NH

Alexandria Bottelsen ’16 (CLAS, ED)
Writing centers are great, just not for my students: The dilemma of high school writing centers

Noah Bukowski ’17 (CLAS)
The disabled body in the public sphere of the writing center

Rofina Johnkennedy ’16 (CLAS), Luke LaRosa ’16 (CLAS), Sindhu Mannava ’16 (CLAS), Yasemin Saplakoglum ’16 (ENG), & Nathan Wojtyna ’16 (CAHNR)
Writing with the disciplines: How fellows draw on ways of knowing from their majors to first-year composition discussion sections

Eastern Nursing Research Society, 28th Annual Scientific Sessions – April 13-15, 2016 – Pittsburgh, PA

Laura Mandell
Laura Mandell ’16 (NUR)
Meaghan Sullivan
Meaghan Sullivan ’16 (NUR)

Laura Mandell ’16 (NUR) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Predictors of persistent infant car seat challenge failure 

Meaghan Sullivan ’16 (NUR) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Breast milk exposure and the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight pre-term infants

New England Political Science Association Annual Conference – April 21-23, 2016 – Newport, RI

Christian Caron ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The transparency of single-candidate super PACs

Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting – April 30-May 3, 2016 – Baltimore, MD

Pavan Anant ’16 (CLAS) & Michael Powell ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Parental perceptions of medical marijuana in an urban children’s medical center

• 2016 Mentorship Excellence Awards


In recognition of the pivotal role that mentors play in supporting undergraduate research and creative activity, the Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the recipents of the 2016 Mentorship Excellence Awards. These awards recognize two faculty members – one in a STEM field, and one in a non-STEM field – and one graduate student who exemplify the ways in which outstanding mentors challenge and support their students, enabling them to take intellectual risks and achieve milestones they might not have initially envisioned being able to reach.

The 2016 Mentorship Excellence Awards were presented to Dwight Codr, Etan Markus, and Samantha Yohn during the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition on Friday, April 8, 2016.

Dwight Codr, Associate Professor of English
Professor Codr’s award was presented by Giorgina Paiella ’16 (CLAS), who has completed several research grants and projects under his advisement. The following text is excerpted from Giorgina’s nomination and presentation remarks.

Dwight Codr and Giorgina Paiella
Mentorship Excellence Award winner Dwight Codr with Giorgina Paiella.

There are some people with whom you cross paths who end up having a tremendous impact on your life. Professor Dwight Codr is one of those individuals. I met him almost four years ago, when I was a freshman in his Introduction to Literary Studies course. That class was the first English course of my college career, and to this day, it is one of the best classes that I have taken at UConn. The course, more commonly known among English students as “the Frankenstein course,” is renowned in the department for being an engaging, creative approach to literary interpretation. He is unsurprisingly a favorite professor to many students of English.

Professor Codr has guided me through one class seminar, two independent studies to prepare me for my thesis work, a summer research paper, an exhibition that I curated in the Dodd Center, and my University Scholar project. This fall, I applied to graduate school. Professor Codr guided me through writing my personal statement and gathering my application materials. The application process would have been difficult were it not for Professor Codr’s constant support and encouragement of my promise as a student. He is a tireless mentor who responds to student emails late at night far beyond what is required of his duties as an instructor. He encourages office hour visits and calls in order to work through research questions and other inquiries, and he does this all out of a passion for student learning and growth. Professor Codr is an exceptional researcher, an engaging and passionate instructor, and at the same time humble and caring. It is rare to find these qualities combined in a person, and even rarer in a mentor.

I am happy to say that I will be pursuing a graduate degree in the fall. It is my goal to become a university professor, where I hope to pay forward the support that I have received at this university and aim for the exceptional mentorship standard that Professor Codr has set.

Etan Markus, Professor of Psychological Sciences
Professor Markus’ award was presented by Stephanie Vu ’16 (CLAS), one of many undergraduate researchers in the Markus lab. The following text is excerpted from Stephanie’s presentation remarks.

Photo of Markus Lab members
Current and past undergraduate researchers from the Markus Lab surround Professor Etan Markus, 2016 Mentorship Excellence Award winner.

Dr. Markus takes a personal interest in the lives of his undergraduate researchers to ensure that we not only conduct exceptional research but enjoy doing so. He has cultivated a sense of community within the lab by hosting lab dinners, conducting weekly lab meetings, and most importantly, providing a constant supply of snacks and hot chocolate in the lounge so that we never go hungry after running hour-long experiments.

Clearly, this kind of care and commitment to his students also translates into the excellent mentorship he provides within the lab setting. Despite being a mentor for over 15 undergraduate researchers, Dr. Markus has never failed to inspire each and every one of us to pursue our future aspirations and to be confident in our academic and research abilities. He has encouraged us to pursue independent research, attend research conferences such as NEURON and Society for Neuroscience, and apply for research awards and fellowships. There have been countless times when Dr. Markus has come in on weekends to work with his students 1:1. He has even taken me on spontaneous field trips to the Depot Campus or the supply store to test out new experimental designs to improve my research project. His enthusiasm and passion has empowered us to push the limits of our undergraduate education and to engage in quality research.

These past four years I have been fortunate enough to learn from Dr. Markus’s research abilities and to have a mentor who is truly invested in his students’ successes. I can speak for the other students in his lab that working under Dr. Markus’s guidance has been one of the hallmarks of our college careers.

Samantha Yohn, Ph.D. Student, Behavioral Neuroscience, Salamone Laboratory
Dr. Yohn – who successfully defended her dissertation the day prior – was presented with her award by Giuseppe Tripodi ’16 (CLAS), one of many undergraduate researchers who works under her supervision in the Salamone lab. The following text is excerpted from Guiseppe’s presentation remarks.

Samantha Yohn and Salamone lab members
Award winner Samantha Yohn with Professor John Salamone and undergraduate researchers in the Salamone lab.

Sam is a Psychology Ph.D. student in the Salamone Lab, and I have been privileged to work beside her since the beginning of my junior year. As a student with zero experience in the field of research, I felt nothing short of intimidated and overwhelmed. However, with Sam’s guidance and talent, she made me feel as if I had been a part of the lab for years.

With finesse, she explains difficult, unfamiliar concepts easily, as if it were second nature to her. Every day she teaches us novel concepts and techniques crucial for the lab to function properly, quizzing us out of the blue to make the information stick, and pushing us to practice under a watchful eye until our techniques are perfected.

Over countless hours working with her, my fellow undergraduate students and I began not just to trust one another but also to trust ourselves, to become self-reliant. In her rare absences we are able to act independently whenever the need arises, a skill many are not fortunate enough to be able to practice in the field of research, and for that, we are in her debt.

Lastly, Sam’s involvement has reached us not only on a professional level, but also a personal one. She is never hesitant to donate her time or effort to help her undergrads, whether we need it because of stress from school, family troubles, or fears of the future. Sam has truly established a second family here in the Salamone lab, and she will undoubtedly be missed as she leaves to further her career at Vanderbilt University.

Congratulations to the 2016 award recipients! The Office of Undergraduate Research thanks the undergraduate students who nominated their faculty and graduate student mentors as well as the Peer Research Ambassadors who served on this year’s selection committee.

Jennifer Lease Butts, Giorgina Paiella, and Dwight Codr
Assistant Vice Provost Jennifer Lease Butts, Giorgina Paiella, and honoree Dwight Codr.

Etan Markus and Stephanie Vu
Stephanie Vu presents Etan Markus with his Mentorship Excellence Award.

Salamone, Yohn, and Tripodi
Professor John Salamone, honoree Samantha Yohn, and Giuseppe Tripodi.


• Congratulations, Summer 2016 SURF Award Recipients!

Shaharyar Zuberi
Shaharyar Zuberi ’17 (CLAS), one of 44 recipients of a 2016 SURF Award in support of full-time summer research.
The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the selection of 44 undergraduate students to receive SURF Awards in support of their summer undergraduate research projects. The faculty review committee was impressed by the extremely high caliber of the 60 applications submitted this year.

Click here to view the full list of Summer 2016 SURF award recipients.

Congratulations to the SURF awardees! Your academic achievements, curiosity, initiative, and motivation were evident in your applications. You have a challenging summer of deep engagement with the process of academic inquiry ahead of you. We look forward to hearing about all you learn!

We thank the faculty members who supported SURF applicants in a range of roles: mentors, letter writers, and faculty review committee members. SURF represents a collaborative effort between students and faculty. This program would simply not be possible without the support and participation of the UConn faculty!

OUR also extends thanks to SURF supporters in the UConn community. We are grateful to the Provost’s Office, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and to the Deans of the Schools and Colleges of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources; Education; Engineering; Fine Arts; Nursing; and Pharmacy, who all contributed funding to the SURF competition this year. Alumni, parents, and friends of UConn also helped fund SURF awards. This collaborative funding effort ensures that SURF supports a diverse array of undergraduate research endeavors. We are grateful to all of our program partners for making intensive summer research opportunities available to students seeking to enrich their undergraduate experience in this way.

Once again, congratulations to the recipients of 2016 SURF awards, and good luck with your summer projects!

• Congratulations, Spring 2016 UConn IDEA Grant Recipients!

idea_logo_standard_color_bottomWEB_cropCongratulations to the thirty-five UConn undergraduates who have been awarded UConn IDEA Grants in the spring 2016 funding cycle!

Twenty-two of the award recipients will be completing individual projects, and thirteen will be working on collaborative group projects. The award recipients represent a variety of disciplines, from printmaking to biomedical engineering, horticulture to political science. They will work on launching new ventures; developing art exhibitions, puppet shows, YouTube series, and television pilots; and collaborating with community organizations.

Click here to view the full list of spring 2016 UConn IDEA Grant award recipients.

Special thanks to the faculty and staff that supported student applications to the UConn IDEA Grant and to those who will be mentoring the award recipients as they complete their projects. We would also like to thank the faculty and staff from around the University who served as reviewers.

The UConn IDEA Grant program awards funding to support self-designed projects including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, traditional research projects, entrepreneurial ventures, and other creative and innovative projects. Undergraduates in all majors at all UConn campuses can apply. Applications are accepted twice per year from individuals and from small groups who plan to work collaboratively on a project. The next application deadline is in December 2016.

• Summer Research Opportunities – Deadlines Approaching

Interested in spending the summer engaged in an exciting research project? There is still time to apply for summer research opportunities in a variety of areas. The programs and opportunities listed below are still accepting applications.

MSTP Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program – UC San Diego
Deadline: February 14, 2016
The Medical Scientist Training Program at UC San Diego is designed for students interested in learning about a career in biomedicine. The program features an 8-week research project, weekly seminars, and a physician-scientist clinical shadowing experience. Students from groups underrepresented in health-related sciences and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply. $3,200 stipend and room (but not board) provided.

Maryland Sea Grant REU Program
Deadline: February 15, 2016
Fifteen students are selected to conduct marine research on the Chesapeake Bay at one of two University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences laboratories. The program is designed for students majoring in marine science, ecology, environmental science, biology and chemistry. Preference given to students who are rising seniors. $6,000 stipend and housing costs are provided.

NCTR Summer Student Research Program – U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Deadline: February 19, 2016
The National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Jefferson, Arkansas, has 10-week summer research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Students will participate in research projects on the biological effect of potentially toxic chemicals.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Oceanography – University of Rhode Island
Deadline: February 21, 2016
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Oceanography program is a 10-week research experience designed for science, math and engineering students who will be seniors in Fall 2016. Stipend of approximately $5,500.

Chesapeake Bay Summer Internships – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Deadline: February 19, 2016
Paid undergraduate internships available for Summer 2016. Descriptions of available internships can be found at the above link.

Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program (MAOP) Undergraduate Summer Research Internship – Virginia Tech University
Deadline: February 26, 2016
Students from a wide variety of academic disciplines work with a faculty mentor on a independent research project. Selected students receive a $3000 stipend and on-campus room and board.

Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research – National Institutes of Health
Deadline: March 1, 2016
The NIH internship program provides students with an opportunity to work side-by-side with scientists in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. This is a highly competitive program. Students are encouraged to apply early and review the “Applying Successfully Video” on the website. Stipend levels vary based on education completed.

REU Program: Gulf of Maine and the World Ocean – Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Sciences
Deadline: March 1, 2016
This highly competitive, 10-week REU program pairs students with scientist mentors for a hands-on, independent research experience. Housing and $5,000 stipend provided.

Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program in Vision Science – Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester
Deadline: March 1, 2016
Students who are juniors with an interest in neuroscience, cognitive science and biomedical science are encouraged to apply for this summer of supervised laboratory training. $3,820 stipend and on-campus housing provided.

Nanotechnology for Health, Energy and the Environment – University of Stony Brook
Deadline: March 18, 2016
The summer research experience is for undergraduates who are interested in the the application of nanotechnology and nano materials to various societal needs. Undergraduate STEM majors who have completed at least one year of undergraduate study are eligible to apply. $4,000 stipend, free housing and a meal plan.

• Congratulations, Fall 2015 UConn IDEA Grant Recipients!

idea_logo_standard_color_bottomWEB_cropCongratulations to the nineteen UConn undergraduates who have been awarded UConn IDEA Grants in the fall 2015 funding cycle!

Fifteen of the award recipients will be completing individual projects, and four will be working on collaborative group projects. The award recipients represent a variety of disciplines, from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to Sports Management, Nursing to Graphic Design.

Click here to view the full list of fall 2015 UConn IDEA Grant award recipients.

Special thanks to the faculty and staff that supported student applications to the UConn IDEA Grant and to those who will be mentoring the award recipients as they complete their projects. We would also like to thank the faculty and staff from around the University who served as reviewers.

The UConn IDEA Grant program awards funding to support self-designed projects including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, traditional research projects, entrepreneurial ventures, and other creative and innovative projects. Undergraduates in all majors at all UConn campuses can apply. Applications are accepted twice per year from individuals and from small groups who plan to work collaboratively on a project. The next application deadline is Monday, March 14, 2016.

• Student Accomplishments – December 2015


Please join us in congratulating the UConn undergraduates named below for their significant research and creative accomplishments in fall 2015. Students: if you have an accomplishment to share, please do so using this online form.


Antonio Campelli
Antonio Campelli ’15 (SFA) presents his UConn IDEA Grant project at Frontiers 2014.

Congratulations to Antonio Campelli ’15 (SFA), winner of a 2016 Marshall Scholarship for MFA study at Goldsmiths, University of London. Antonio graduated as a University Scholar, was a member of the first cohort of UConn IDEA Grant recipients in Spring 2013, and received a SURF Award for Summer 2014. Learn more about Antonio in his UConn Today profile; learn more about prestigious award programs like the Marshall Scholarship via the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships.


John Ovian ’17 (CLAS) and Rebecca Wiles ’15 (CLAS) were co-authors on two recent publications from the Leadbeater Lab:

Kelly, C.B., Ovian, J.M., Cywar, R.M., Gossland, T.R., Wiles, R.J., Leadbeater, N.E. (2015). Oxidative cleavage of allyl ethers by an oxoammonium salt. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 13, 4255-4259.

Hamlin, T.A., Kelly, C.B., Ovian, J.M., Wiles, R.W., Tilley, L.J., Leadbeater, N.E. (2015). Toward a unified mechanism for oxoammonium salt-mediated oxidation reactions: A theoretical and experimental study using a hydride transfer model. Journal of Organic Chemistry, 80, 8150-8167.

Nikita Sturrock ’16 co-authored a 2014 publication from the Kanadia Lab:

Baumgartner, M., Lemoine, C., Al Seesi, S., Karunakaran, D.K.P., Sturrock, N., Banday, A.R., Kilcollins, A.M., Mandoiu, I. and Kanadia, R.N. (2015), Minor splicing snRNAs are enriched in the developing mouse CNS and are crucial for survival of differentiating retinal neurons. Developmental Neurobiology, 75, 895–907. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22257


The UConn Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of member Rex Sturdevant ’16 (SFA), presented Steve Reich’s minimalist masterpiece, Music for 18 Musicians, on December 1, 2015. Rex coordinated and directed this performance as his UConn IDEA Grant project. This performance marked the first time that the ensemble collaborated with wind, strings, and piano players, as well as four singers. This was also the longest work the ensemble has ever presented in concert, extending to nearly an hour in length. See photos of the performance below, and learn more about the piece and the participating musicians in the event announcement.


2015 LatCrit Conference – October 1-3, 2015 – Anaheim, CA

Maye Henning ’17 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Panel Presentation: Between citizenship and nationality: An overview of federal citizenship legislation for the U.S. Pacific Island territories, 1900 to present

Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting – October 7-10, 2015 – Tampa, FL

Michael Messina ’16 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Mobile automated analysis of sperm quality

Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) – October 8, 2015 – Meriden, CT

Nicole Prete ’16 (ENG)
Bridge weigh-in-motion (BWIM)

New England Psychological Association Annual Meeting – October 10, 2015 – Fitchburg, MA

Mallory Kloss ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Psychological immersion in games

2015 IEEE Software Technology Conference – October 12-15, 2015 – Long Beach, CA

Qiwei Zheng ’16 (CLAS, ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Oral Presentation: A data-driven approach to analyze the spatial and temporal variations in the distributed power grid system

Society for Neuroscience (SFN) Annual Meeting – October 17-21, 2015 –  Chicago, IL

Ashlesha Dhuri ’16 (CLAS), Kaylene King ’16 (CLAS), & Sarthak Patel ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Spatial reference memory acquisition in a water maze under light and dark conditions

Nikita Sturrock ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The minor spliceosome snRNA’s U4atac and U6atac are down regulated in starvation induced stress response

Frontiers in Optics – October 18-22, 2015 – San Jose, CA

Michael Cantara ’16 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Oral Presentation: Ultracold trimer formation energetics of Rb and K

Cameron Vickers ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Ultracold long range molecule formation with Rb and K

American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting – November 8-13, 2015 – Salt Lake City, UT

Notations are included below for students who won poster presentation awards in their divisions.

Kerry Davis ’16 (ENG) – 2nd place in Material Science Division – OUR Travel Award recipient
Materials for additive manufacturing

Victoria Drake ’16 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Respiratory response of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm to daptomycin exposure

Jake Lewis ’16 (ENG) – 1st place in Environmental Division – OUR Travel Award recipient
Microbial mediated soil water retention

Clarke Palmer ’16 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Oral Presentation: Analysis of a simulated moving bed configuration for chemical-looping combustion

Kyle Such ’16 (ENG) – 2nd place in Fuels, Petrochemicals, and Energy – OUR Travel Award recipient
Dynamic simulation of a combined cycle power plant integrated with chemical-looping combustion

Yijia Sun ’16 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Synthesis of zeolitic enwrapped catalysts by chemical vapor deposition

Obesity Week 2015 – November 2-6, 2015 – Los Angeles, CA

Kate Boudreau ’17 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
#WeTakeTheStairs: A study of the effects of school spirit posters on stair taking behavior in a university dormitory

Melanie Klinck ’15 (CLAS) & Jessica Naples ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Get off the couch! Increasing physical activity through the use of social support and financial incentives

Ashley Mills ’16 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Does labeling spoodles in a college dining hall impact food selection patterns?

Aaron Plotke ’17 (CAHNR, CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Effect of physical activity calorie equivalent labeling on selection of high-calorie foods in a college dining hall

Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting – November 29-December 4, 2015 – Boston, MA

Kathleen Coleman ’16 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Shock-induced melting of Al powder compacts at atomic scales