Summer Undergraduate Research Program provides valuable opportunity for faculty, students

KENNESAW, Ga. | March 20, 2023

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is looking for students to participate in the second-annual Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

SURP is an intensive study lasting from June to July. Fifteen full-time students and their faculty mentors will receive a $4,000 stipend each to work 40 hours per week for eight weeks on their research. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2023.

Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and must not graduate until at least one semester after the program ends. Participating students cannot enroll in any classes during the program period. Students must be available to present at the Fall Symposium of Student ScholarsSymposium

Faculty mentors must be full-time tenured or tenure-track at Kennesaw State University. They must have identified a student with whom to work and have a well-defined project or multiple projects on which to work. 

Anna Weinstein and Shubam Sharma are faculty members who participated in SURP last year.

Sharma, mentor to psychology major Ameesha Narine, said she’s looking for students who are excited and willing to put in the time, effort, willingness to learn, and dedication versus someone who's just trying to get research experience to “check off a box.”

Weinstein, an assistant professor of screenwriting, said she’s looking for students who are strong writers, meticulous with details, and engaged and enthusiastic learners, communicators, and workers.

Haley Hunt and Cody Kucharski are undergraduate students who participated in SURP last summer, and they learned many valuable skills from their experiences. 

Hunt, an English major, said the opportunity to participate in SURP gave her the ability to test what she wants to do professionally. Through SURP, she improved her public-speaking skills and self-discipline, and learned the value of asking for help. 

Her research project is titled 'Women Writers of Film & Television,' and her mentor is Weinstein.

Weinstein said the experience working alongside her student illuminated the enormous benefits of this type of one-on-one collaborative research between faculty and students.

“I think it's safe to say I learned as much from my student as she learned from me,” Weinstein said.

Kucharski, an architecture major, said he canceled his summer classes to participate in the program, but it was worth it. He said he learned the value of problem solving. 

“You're always going to hit something — a problem,” Kucharski said. “And you have to think strategically on how to adapt to that problem. That's the biggest thing I've got from the research.”

Kucharski’s research project is titled 'Learning from Public Spaces in Historic Cities,' and his mentor is Ermal Shpuza. 

When asked what advice they would give to students who are applying for SURP, Kurcharski said students should be passionate about the project and to look at it from different perspectives.

Hunt said the best advice she received was from Christine Harkreader at the Writing Center. Harkreader said that it’s important to research the place you’re applying to and discover what language and values they hold. 

Hunt also reached out to Amy Buddie in OUR to introduce herself and ask about what she wants to see in an applicant. 

“I want to be more than just a name on a piece of paper,” Hunt said.

Sharma said her student is now disseminating her research to state and national conferences because of SURP. Sharma looks forward to participating in SURP again.

— By Victoria Grace Tucker