Press Releases Archived All Stories

Summer program offers undergraduates opportunity to work with Western faculty mentors: WCSU seeks student applicants for research fellowships in biology

DANBURY, CONN. — College students interested in pursuing research studies in the field of biology are invited to submit applications to the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program to be offered in 2018 by the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Western Connecticut State University.

Applications are now being accepted from undergraduate students at any higher education institution who meet academic requirements for participation and are willing to fulfill research commitments averaging a minimum of 30 hours per week over an eight- to 10-week period during summer 2018. Applicants will compete for one of two SURF fellowships at WCSU, each paying a stipend of $4,000 for fulfilment of research objectives established by the participating student’s faculty mentor.

Prior to submitting a SURF application, the student must contact a WCSU faculty member who can commit to assisting the applicant in developing and defining a research project and in writing a research proposal for submission to the department’s SURF review committee. Applicants are advised to seek out mentors whose areas of research are most closely in line with the students’ own research interests and career goals.

The deadline for submission of all applications is Saturday, March 10, and students are urged to contact their preferred mentor as soon as possible to confirm the faculty member will be available for research collaboration during summer 2018. Early action to confirm a mentoring arrangement also is advised to allow sufficient time for the student to work with the faculty member in drafting a project proposal. WCSU members of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences faculty who have indicated willingness to consider mentoring a SURF project include Dr. Neeta Connally, Dr. Joshua Cordeira, Dr. Kristin Giamanco, Dr. Michelle Monette, Dr. Theodora Pinou, Dr. Rachel Prunier and Dr. Hannah Reynolds.

Fellowship awards will be announced on Sunday, April 15. Approved SURF projects will take place between May and August, with specific schedules to be determined by the mentor in consultation with the student researcher.

Prospective applicants may obtain complete information about eligibility requirements, the application process, research obligations, and available faculty mentors and their areas of research specialization by accessing the department’s SURF home page at

SURF programs offered at universities nationwide are designed to stimulate student interest in research opportunities and careers in the STEM disciplines. Giamanco, who participated in a SURF program in neuroscience at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, said she “took advantage of the opportunity because I could not find the necessary time to immerse myself in a research project during the academic year.” She described her SURF experience as excellent preparation for graduate studies and an academic career. Monette noted that the close collaboration with a WCSU faculty member during the summer program enables participants to acquire essential research skills and greater confidence as they learn directly from their mentor in the course of field and laboratory work.

Pinou observed that the SURF program in biology at WCSU provides “an intensive, hands-on research experience, offering a diversity of fields of research from which the student can choose. It’s a good way to determine if research is a field of activity that you wish to pursue in your career.”

For more information, contact Monette at or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.