Kennesaw State launches Summer Undergraduate Research Program

KENNESAW, Ga. (July 29, 2022) — Kennesaw State University’s Office of Undergraduate Research launched the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) this summer to support students in its full-time research endeavors through June and July.

Dr. Maria Valero
Dr. Maria Valero

Each of the 18 selected students conduct research under the guidance of a KSU faculty member. Faculty and students receive a stipend to aid their collaborative efforts on their research projects.

SURP is a competitive program with specific requirements, including a minimum 3.0 GPA, a letter of recommendation, 40-hour work availability, and participation at the Fall Symposium of Student Scholars.

With 36 students and mentors, SURP emphasizes the Office of Undergraduate Research’s mission to promote excellent student-mentor collaborative research in all disciplines across KSU.

“This research scholarship is a unique opportunity to test my abilities as an up-and-coming doctor,” said Cole Bourque, an undergraduate student in the program. “This experience will carry lessons I intend to implement in other aspects of my academic career and serve as an excellent foot in the door for my future research ambitions.”

The program is also beneficial for faculty members, including Dr. Maria Valero, who is mentoring student researcher Anh Duong.

Dr. Anna Weinstein
Dr. Anna Weinstein

“I look forward to providing a comprehensive research experience to undergraduate students by showing them the research process from the beginning to the end,” Valero said. “[SURP] is a great opportunity for me to incorporate undergraduate researchers into my projects, especially women in STEM.”

For students, SURP helps to understand different works and pinpoint areas of interest to boost their careers as researchers. It also allows students to focus primarily on research between typically rigorous spring and fall semesters.

“The most valuable part of this program is that it completely opens up my schedule and gives me time to work on my research,” said Ariel Owens. “I will have 40 hours a week to dedicate to the goals I set in my timeline without worrying about other commitments.”

Dr. Anna Weinstein, mentor of Haley Hunt, shared her gratitude for the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). “This is an invaluable opportunity to have dedicated support for this research,” she said. “It’s an honor to have our project accepted into the SURP, and I’m grateful to the OUR for supporting this work.”

This program also offers an opportunity to cross-collaborate with other teams while gaining experience in research and leadership.

“SURP will help by providing the commitment and platform that brings student researchers and faculty together to achieve their dreams,” Dr. Abdullah Al Hafiz Khan said. “Students become novice researchers through hands-on, practical experiences and help faculty investigate novel ideas.”

Dr. Abdullah Al Hafiz Khan
Dr. Abdullah Al Hafiz Khan

Anh Duong pointed to the guidance she hopes to gain from the program, as well as the sense of community.

“[SURP] provides me a chance to gain hands-on research experience and spend time working closely with my mentor as well as other research scholars,” she said. “It will allow me to pursue and explore my academic interests and help me build important skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, and professionalism.”

Faculty earn a $6,000 stipend, while students earn a stipend of $4,000 and can apply for funding needed to conduct their research for a maximum of $500.

“SURP is an incredible opportunity for students to conduct paid research with mentorship and peer support,” Dr. Sarah Guindre-Parker said. “These resources (stipends, research funding, group meetings) enrich the experience of conducting research.”

Ami Eho
Ami Eho

With SURP, the possibilities for innovation and accomplishments are limitless. Some of the students and mentors expressed what they hope to accomplish and learn in this program.

“I hope to complete the assigned tasks and develop the integration for smart voice assistants by the end of the program,” Duong said. “I also hope to see a more disciplined, motivated, and well-rounded version of myself and gain a deeper understanding of the computing field and the contributions that my major brings to life.”

Dr. Shubam Sharma, mentor of Ameesha Narime, said, “I hope we can widely disseminate this work through conference presentations and publishing articles so we can meaningfully apply our results to support marginalized older adults' well-being.”

“I hope to add something significant to my area of research (obesity and metabolic health) and close the gap by answering one more question that will help future researchers and the population we are trying to serve and help,” Ami Eho said.

-- Dreanna Simmons