What is the Summer Undergraduate Research Program?
Whether it’s spending a summer in the Arctic conducting research on climate change, studying theatre in New York City or working in a chemistry lab on campus, the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) gives students from all disciplines the opportunity to move beyond the classroom and apply what they’ve learned in challenging, real-world settings.
Summer research is one of the hallmarks of a Pomona education. For up to 10 weeks each summer, about 200 students undertake individual or collaborative research under faculty guidance or working as research assistants to a faculty member. While most of the research is conducted on campus, students also design their own independent projects, which recently included traveling to Kenya to conduct research on tuberculosis and to North Dakota to produce a documentary on the effects of an oil boom on a small town.
The summer experience culminates in an annual poster conference, where students present their work to the college community. These projects often are stepping stones to senior theses and lead to for co-authored papers with faculty in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at local and national conferences.
What effect does summer research have on a student’s experience at Pomona?
Pomona already has evidence that student participation in hands-on research with faculty or independent research with substantive faculty mentoring strengthens a passion for research and scholarship, teaches analytical thinking and builds confidence. The results of sustained research and scholarship are apparent in the diversity and substance of the work presented by students at the poster conference, in conference presentations and in journal publications.
By spending the summer immersed in research or field study, each student has a chance to confirm an interest, find a new passion or explore a career possibility. Working with a professor on a research project often lays the groundwork for a project that continues throughout a student’s college career. For many, it is truly a life-changing experience.
Research also prepares a student for the rigors of graduate school and has become a staple on the resume of many students applying for advanced study. Recent studies published by the National Science Foundation showed that 72 percent of undergraduates majoring in chemistry and 74 percent of environmental science majors had research experience, and that students who participate in research are more likely to pursue advanced degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
How is SURP funded?
Summer research is currently supported by a mixture of grants from foundations, departmental funding, the College’s operating budget and several donor-funded endowments. Each student researcher receives a stipend, which includes funds for housing, supplies and wages, making it possible for students all income levels to participate without sacrificing important summer income.
Pomona supports about 120 students each year through allocations from the College’s annual operating budget, permanently endowed funds and departmental funding, with short-term grants from both public and private sources providing support for additional students. Although interest in SURP has steadily increased over the years, funding for the program has fluctuated, due to the temporary nature of most external funding and because of recent economic uncertainty. As part of Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds, the College is seeking new sources of funding, including significant endowment gifts, to secure this remarkable program far into the future and make these life-changing opportunities available to all interested Pomona students.
How can I help support summer research?
Gifts to the Annual Fund play a key role in making programs like SURP possible. Because SURP relies on money from the operating budget, Annual Fund gifts are critical both for continued support and to help Pomona jumpstart this important initiative. Annual Fund gifts may be given online at www.pomona.edu/surp/give. For additional information, contact the Office of Annual Giving at 909-621-8142 or email@example.com.
Endowment gifts provide lasting support for Pomona’s people and programs and play a key role in ensuring that College can always be true to its promise to provide a world-class education to its students. Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds offers numerous naming opportunities for endowments to support SURP. Each endowment of $100,000 will fund one research grant per year, in perpetuity. For additional information on making a gift for an endowment contact the Office of Major Gifts at 909-607-7441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planned Gifts made through The Pomona Plan are an excellent way to create a future endowed fund to support SURPs while providing your family with income and tax benefits. For additional information, contact: Office of Trusts and Estates, 909-621-8143 or 1-800-761-9899, email@example.com, www.pomonaplan.pomona.edu.
Leadership Gifts to the Summer Undergraduate Research Program
- Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation
- Berliner Holocaust Studies Fund
Renee Rush P'12
- The Hans-Dieter Brueckner Memorial Summer Grant
Mark B. Wyland ’68
- The Kenneth L. Cooke Memorial Fund
Donald L. and Ann Bentley P’83
Margaret S. Cooke ’48 and other donations in memory of Kenneth L. Cooke ’47
Walter J. Stutzman ’71
- The Elgin Fund for Student Summer Research
Robert L. Elgin ’66, Sarah C. R. Elgin '67, and Thomas J. Elgin '05
- Russell B. ’66 and Carol A. Faucett/The Faucett Family Foundation
- The Freeman Foundation
- The Hart Institute of American History Research Grants
Gurnee ’51 and Marjorie Hart
- The Hearst Foundation (Carnegie Institute summer intern program)
- The Howard Hughes Medical Institute
- Iberian-Latin American Grant Fund
Lucila Arango ’88
- The Fletcher Jones Foundation
- Evelyn B. Craddock McVicar Memorial Fund
Evelyn McClain and Robert L. McVicar
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
- Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program
- National Academy of Sciences
- National Institutes of Health
- National Science Foundation
- The Norris Foundation
- The Larry C. Oglesby Fund for Summer Field Study in Biology
Larry C. and Alice S. Oglesby
- Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
- The Paul K. Richter and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Fund
- Dale N. Robertson Fund for Undergraduate Research
Alice O. Robertson and other donations in memory of alumnus Dale N. Robertson ’49
- The Rose Hills Foundation
- Schulz Fund for Environmental Studies
Charles M. Schulz and Jean Forsyth Schulz ‘59
- Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund
Daniel M. Gibbs ’73 and Lois M. Seed ’73
- The Jack Steller ’43 Summer Curriculum Enhancement Instruction Fund
Jack S. Steller ’43
- The Brian Stonehill Memorial Fund for Student Research in Media Studies
Paul F. ’62 and Florence O. Eckstein P’92
Elliott and Harriett Stonehill and other donations in memory of Brian Stonehill
- Walter J. Stutzman ’71 and the Stutzman Family Foundation
- The Wade Family Anthropology Field School Fund
The Horatio B. and Willie J. Buntin Foundation/Alex and Mary Wade P’02
- Susan L. and Richard Zare Student Research Endowed Fund
Susan L.’62 and Richard Zare
- Pomona Launches Summer Internship Program
- Meeting With Alumni in Asia
- Pomona College Summer Undergraduate Research Program Awarded $247,500
- Summer Undergraduate Research Program Awarded $600,000
- Sports Connection: The Shadek Match
- All in the Family: NYU Professor Honors Mother
- A Pomona Tradition: 50 Years of Summer Research
- Summer Undergraduate Research: Finding a Passion, Making a Difference
- Rose Hills Foundation Gives $200,000 Grant to Summer Undergraduate Research Program
- Video: Dean Cecilia Conrad Answers Questions About Summer Research
- Walter Stutzman '71 Endows a Fund to Help Support Pomona's Summer Undergraduate Research Program
- Researching the Future of the Filibuster
- SURP Research Helps Michael Gormally '11 Land Coveted Cambridge Scholarship
- Pomona College Receives $170,000 in Grants for Summer Undergraduate Research Program
- Learning by Doing: Summer Undergraduate Research Program
- Dale '49 and Alice Robertson Honor a Lifetime of Research With $100,000 Endowment
Ask Dean Cecilia Conrad Your Questions About SURP!
Questions will be answered during a video interview. Visit Facebook to submit questions or vote on others’ questions.