• Apply Now for Summer Research Fellowships and Internship Programs!

Undergraduate students who are interested in participating in a summer research 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 January! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get research experience.

Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program (MLEF)
Deadline: January 2, 2015;
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.

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)
Deadline: January 9, 2015;
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 2015
Deadline: January 15, 2015;
The URP program is administered by the Watson School of Biological Sciences. It 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, 2015;
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 6, 2014 and January 15, 2015. Students will then be able to access the internship offers submitted by the doctoral students in Germany prior to completing the application.

Summer Undergraduate Course Creating Excellence in Scientific Study (SUCCESS) – The Ohio State University, College of Medicine – Deadline: January 23, 2015
This 9-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 2016 or 2017. $3,800 stipend and housing provided.

Natural History Research Experience (NHRE)
Deadline: January 27, 2015;
This is a 10-week summer internship program at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Interns work closely with scientific mentors to complete research projects in Earth Science, Biology, and Anthropology. Stipend of $5,500.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health Internship
Deadline: January 28, 2015;
This is a paid 10-week summer environmental internship for undergraduate students who are passionate about the environment and interested in human health. Interns will participate in a comprehensive program including environmental health project assignments as well as interaction with federal officials and scientists. Interns will be able to attend the many seminars offered by the CDC during the summer. Stipend of approximately $600 per week. Student must be rising juniors or rising seniors in Fall 2015.

Summer Public Health Scholars Program (SPHSP) – Columbia University
Deadline: January 31, 2015;
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, 2015
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 $1,100 is provided.

• Upcoming Application Deadlines for Summer Research Experiences

Early December marks the time when you should be thinking about….Summer!  Many research programs have their application deadlines in January and February. If you wait until Spring Break to start looking, you will miss some of the most exciting opportunities.

Many summer programs use the acronym “REU” or Research Opportunity for Undergraduates.   REUs typically offer a summer stipend of $4000 to $5000, as well as housing for the summer! Other Summer positions can have a variety of different names–Fellowships, Internships, and Co-ops.  Don’t worry about what it’s called–just get the experience!

Department of Homeland SecuritySTEM Summer Internship Program
Deadline: January 6, 2014;

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sponsors a 10-week summer internship program for students majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) disciplines. The program provides students with quality research experiences at federal research facilities located across the country and allows students the opportunity to establish connections with DHS professionals. Undergraduate students receive a $5,000 stipend plus travel expenses for a 10-week research experience.

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)
Deadline: 5:00pm, January 10, 2014;

The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program encourages undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers by providing research experiences at the Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. Selected students participate as interns at one of 15 participating DOE laboratories.

Summer ORISE Fellowship Opportunities at the CDC
Deadline: January 17, 2014;

Appointments through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellowship Program. This is a paid research opportunity for biology and chemistry majors.

Amgen Scholars Program 
Deadline: February 3, 2014;

The Amgen Scholars Program provides undergraduates with faculty-mentored summer research opportunities in science and engineering fields at 10 host universities in the United States.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies – Summer REU Program
Deadline: February 5, 2014;

Cary Institute’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program provides the opportunity for 8-12 students each summer to conduct quality research in ecology. Selected students receive a $6000 stipend, a $600 food allowance and housing in an Institute dormitory.

Biomedical Engineering Summer Internship Program (BESIP)
Deadline: February 9, 2014;

The NIBIB sponsored Biomedical Engineering Summer Internship (BESIP) is for undergraduate biomedical engineering students who have completed their junior year of college. The internship will allow students to participate in cutting edge biomedical research projects under the mentorship of world-class scientists in NIH laboratories in Bethesda, MD. Stipend of approximately $6600 for 10 weeks. Applications open on Dec. 1, 2013.

Additional information on off-campus research opportunities is available here.

• Announcing New Research Internship Program at UConn Health Center

The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce a new research internship program for UConn undergraduates – the Translational Research Internship Program. This summer research internship is designed to provide undergraduate students with greater insight into the physician-scientist career path (combined M.D./Ph.D). Students will conduct research under the direction of a faculty member at UCHC while gaining a better understanding of the clinical side of medicine by shadowing a physician/surgeon. The program will allow students to see firsthand the interplay of biomedical research and clinical medicine: how clinical medicine influences and inspires basic research and how basic research translates into therapies used in the clinic.

For information on eligibility, funding, and the online application, visit the Translational Research Internship webpage.

New Storrs Summer STEM Research Seminar Series for Undergraduates

The Office of Undergraduate Research and the McNair Scholars Program have joined forces to organize four lunchtime STEM research seminars in June and July. We are grateful to our four speakers for participating in this new summer series.

All seminars are scheduled on Wednesdays, from 12 – 1 PM, in Rowe CUE 320.

This is a brown bag style seminar series. Light refreshments will be served.

June 12
Homer Genuino
5th year PhD student
Chemistry, CLAS  / The Suib Research Group
Nanomaterials and Technologies for Lab-Scale Environmental Applications 

June 19
Professor Barrett Wells
Physics, CLAS / Condensed Matter Physics
The Lowdown on High Temperature Superconductivity  

June 26
Associate Professor Nicholas Leadbeater
Chemistry, CLAS / The Leadbeater Group
It’s Easy Being Green: Clean, Fast, Easy Approaches to Preparative Chemistry    

July 24
Dr. Sara Patterson
Post-doc fellow
Reconstructive Sciences, UCHC / Center for Regenerative Medicine & Skeletal Development
Modeling Human Genetic Cartilage Disorders Using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

We intend the seminars to interest and benefit undergraduate students working at the Storrs campus as interns in TIP (Technology Incubator Program) companies or doing undergraduate STEM research with support from the SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fund) Program or McNair Scholars Program.

The seminars are open to all undergraduates working or studying on-campus this summer.


Margaret Lamb, PhD                                 Renée Gilberti, PhD
Director                                                        Program Coordinator
Office of Undergraduate Research        McNair Scholars Program


2013 Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) Awards

SURF is the biggest undergraduate research competition administered by the UConn Office of Undergraduate Research. I am delighted to announce that 70 UConn undergraduates have been offered SURF awards for this summer. Members of the faculty review committee commented on how strong the field of 91 applications was this year. SURF applications require research proposals of high quality.

Congratulations to the SURF awardees! Your academic achievements, creativity, and enterprise were ever so evident in your applications. Have fun with your research this summer!

Thank you to the faculty members who supported SURF applicants: mentors, letter writers, and faculty review committee members! SURF represents a collaborative effort between students and faculty. SURF would not exist without the support and participation of faculty members!

Thank you, too, to SURF supporters in the UConn community. Deans of UConn schools and colleges and the Provost’s Office helped to fund the SURF competition this year. Alumni, parents, and friends of UConn also helped fund SURF awards. Our community quilt of funding ensures that SURF supports a diverse array of UConn undergraduate research!

Once again, congratulations to those students offered 2013 SURF awards.

Margaret Lamb, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Undergraduate Research




February 2013 Application Deadlines!

Intersession and early in the spring semester is the perfect time to make your plans for next summer. Many research programs and other relevant opportunities set deadlines in January and February. The people who run summer programs want to make sure that they have time to choose their candidates and then give everyone time to plan the practicalities.

So … now is the time to get your applications ready!

Many summer programs use the acronym “REU” or Research Opportunity for Undergraduates. These opportunities may provide a summer stipend of $4000 to $5000, and free room and board for the summer!

Other summer positions can have a variety of different names – “fellowship,” “internship,” “co-op,” or “associate.” Look at the full variety of titles and find the experience that will be super for you!

Feb. 1 deadline:

Feb. 5 deadline:

Feb. 8 deadline:

  • AP-Google Scholarship – $20,000 scholarship award, open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors interested in digital journalism.
  • Environmental studies internship, US EPA,Office of Children’s Health Protection & Environmental Education, Washington, DC.

Feb. 9 deadline:

Feb. 11 deadline:

Feb. 13 deadline:

Feb. 15 deadline:

Feb. 22 deadline:

Feb. 28 deadline:

Profiles in Undergraduate Research: CLAS SURFers 2012

[adapted from a story by Cindy Weiss, CLAS Today]

Sarah Grout was only six years old when a terrible stomachache at gymnastics practice led to a rushed ride to the hospital, where her appendix was removed before doctors discovered the real problem – an E. coli infection. She spent two weeks in the hospital recovering. Sarah, now 20, spent this summer in a biology lab in Beach Hall, running RNA interference experiments for her research project on how enterohemorrhagic E. Coli, often associated with food-borne illness, sets up its potentially fatal infection in humans.

Robert “Bo” Powers, 27, started college in Georgia as a music major in classical guitar. A treble clef tattooed on his ankle hints at his love of music. But after a move to the New Haven area, a job at Yale-New Haven Hospital and an associates degree earned from Gateway Community College, he came to UConn last fall as an honors student in cognitive science. This summer he designed an artificial neural network that he will use in his research project on metonymy – what causes people to choose certain metaphor-like descriptions. For instance, he wonders, why does a waitress tell the cashier, “The ham sandwich at Table 3 wants his check.”

“Creative use of language has deep implications when considering how languages change within a culture, what is considered ‘cool’ or novel, and how ambiguity is resolved,” he wrote in his research proposal.

First in the lab

Sarah, Bo, and 63 other students at UConn had their first full-time research experiences this summer thanks to Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships that provided them with up to $4,000 in stipend and supply funding and the opportunity to spend ten weeks in the lab. Thirty-nine of the students were from CLAS, and the CLAS Dean’s Office provided $24,000 to the program.

While many of the students have worked on research projects during the regular school year, the nine hours a week they devote then, in between classes, is much less intense. A SURF award gives them the luxury of time to do a literature search, read books on their topic, and design their own experiments.

“It’s really a great opportunity to be able to focus fulltime. I wouldn’t be able to get this much done during the year,” says Grout.

The fellowships make the difference between a summer spent pursuing their passion and a summer spent job surfing.

Devin O'Brien
Devin O’Brien’s research on insects is in the research group of Elizabeth Jockusch, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

If he hadn’t won a SURF award, says Devin O’Brien, a 21-year-old ecology and evolutionary biology major from Ballston Spa, N.Y., “I’d be at home, trying to get a normal job that wouldn’t further me in my career path.” Instead, he spent seven hours a day, five days a week, in the lab.

O’Brien, who is founder and president of the Entomology Club at UConn, studies insects from an evolutionary and development perspective. He’s examining the role that three descriptively named genes – fringe, frizzled, and dishevelled – have on the appendage development of a species of red flour beetle, T. castaneum. Appendages – legs, wings, mouths – are an area of diversity that might be responsible for an insect’s success in the world.

O’Brien came to UConn as a pre-veterinary major, but found that “the more I worked with cows the more I realized I didn’t like them.” After a brief stint as a pre-med major, he scaled down to insects, calling UConn “a great biology school.”

Lab lessons

One of the eye-openers for students about lab life is how an experiment can go awry. Some have found that their carefully planned project had far from the anticipated outcome.

“It’s frustrating, but interesting, because you can come up with all new ideas to see what’s going on,” says Catherine O’Brien, a 20-year-old senior majoring in molecular and cell biology. She filled two large binders with lab reports this summer.

The protein she is studying is linked to various mitochondrial diseases. If biologists could find a way to study it outside of the cell in a reconstituted form, it could advance research into these medical conditions, which have many variations and can affect vision, major organs, muscles and nerves, among other things.

O’Brien, who is from Old Saybrook, started out as a nursing major at Endicott College in Massachusetts. Courses she took there in genetics and microbiology turned her interest to pre-med studies, and she transferred to Clemson. But she missed New England. Before transferring to UConn, she emailed Nathan Adler, assistant professor of MCB, to see if she could work in his lab.

She works independently in the lab, although under the supervision of a PhD student in Adler’s group, Ashley Long. Long encouraged her to stake out her own research territory, and O’Brien says that gave her the confidence to explore her topic. In her previous research experiences at other schools, she was not allowed so much responsibility, she says.

Her SURF summer has taught her that research “is really a thinking process – it’s about how you think and how you approach things. I couldn’t have guessed I would learn so much.”