Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

A 10-week summer program in which students work on a project directly related to their faculty mentor’s research. Students receive a $5,000 stipend, free dormitory housing for the summer research period, a travel and supplies budget, and a one-credit course annotation on their transcript.

Faculty mentors also receive a stipend of $1,000. Students will present their research at the end of the summer at the Trinity Summer Research Symposium. In order to apply, students must possess a faculty mentor from an arts or humanities department.

SURF Projects by Year   Student Publications


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the URAH SURF program?

Undergraduate Research in the Arts and Humanities (URAH), formerly the Mellon Initiative, offers Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs) to students working on research projects in the arts and humanities. During Trinity's 10-week summer research session, students team up with a faculty mentor and work on a project directly related to that mentor's research. Students receive a $5,000 stipend, free dormitory housing for the summer research period, and a one-credit course annotation on their transcript. Faculty mentors also receive a stipend and each SURF is given a travel and supplies budget. Students will present their research at the end of the summer at the Trinity Summer Research Symposium. In order to apply for the URAH SURF program, students must have arranged to work with a faculty mentor from an arts or humanities department or faculty from a related program with a humanistic research project.

How do I find a professor?

SURFs at Trinity work alongside faculty on projects designed by the faculty member; indeed, we require a joint application that is submitted by the faculty member(s). Because these projects are faculty-driven, there's no easy formula for finding a professor. Sometimes (or often) a professor will find you. Professors interested in participating in a summer research project will ask a student to work with them based on any number of factors, including the student having taken several requisite courses, having the right skills (languages, for example), or adding something to the project. If you are interested in during research over the summer, you can also initiate the process. Think of a professor whose classes you've taken or whose area of research you are interested in and go talk to them. You can also go chat with the chair of the department you are interested in and ask if she or he knows of any research opportunities.

Do I come up with the research idea or does the professor?

Although projects have to be in line with the professor's research agenda in some way, it's up to the professor and you to figure out exactly how the summer project connects to her or his research as well as to your own interests.

what if I have other summer plans, obligations, or opportunities?

The SURF program is a full-time commitment for 10 weeks (roughly the middle of May to the end of July). Students who participate in the program agree to not take on any additional responsibilities (such as internships, summer classes, a job, etc.) during that time.

When will I get paid?

Students receive a stipend of $5,000. This amount is typically paid out in three even installments at the end of May, June and July. On top of that, Trinity covers the cost of your dorm room for the 10-week period. The idea is for you to be able to focus on research for the summer, without worrying about other expenses.

What kind of guidance can I expect from my faculty member/mentor?

This will vary depending on your faculty mentor(s) and the nature of the project. In addition to any mentoring you'll get from the faculty member with whom you work, URAH organizes a number of "development" events over the summer to ensure that you receive the training and support you need to be successful. Among those events is a weekly lunch (food provided), which gives us an opportunity to touch base with you, to hear about each other’s projects and progress, and to socialize with other arts and humanities SURFs.

What does the day-to-day look like?

The daily work schedule will also vary depending on the project. Some projects require a lot of collaborative work (including travel to an archive or an archaeological site) and others might have you working mostly on your own and meeting with your professor every few days to check in. In the second case, your daily schedule may be mostly up to you, as you decide when, where, and in what order to complete the tasks you need to do. Research fellowships allow students to work on projects that relate to their faculty mentor’s research and provide students with an example of successful scholarship in their field.

What is a Mellon Institute?

A Mellon Institute was a 10-week summer multidisciplinary research cluster that enabled faculty-student research teams from different disciplines or specialties to carry out inter-related research projects pertaining to one central topic. Mellon selected one Institute proposal annually for student and faculty stipends, a travel and supplies budget, free dormitory housing, and a one-credit course annotation on the student’s transcript. Proposals for Mellon Institute topics were accepted from teams of at least three faculty members from at least two arts and humanities departments.  

   Institutes are currently unavailable

How do I get more information?

There is general information on the URAH Program on our website, including current and archive project descriptions, which will give you a sense of what other faculty-student teams have done.  If you have questions, please contact us at urah@trinity.edu.  And you can stay informed by following us on Instagram and Twitter.

What are the other options for pursuing undergraduate research in the summer?

A description of all of the programs available can be found here.