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The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

Research Presentation Videos

Watch Parth Patel '15 discuss his biology research project.

For more videos, visit our Research Video section.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) enables students to conduct extended, focused research in close cooperation with a Pomona faculty member. Research projects, which receive funding from Pomona and from public and private foundations, take place both on campus and in the field. Although the natural sciences account for the largest number of projects, the humanities, social sciences and interdisciplinary disciplines are also well represented.

The strength of our program lies in its rigor, accessibility, and strong and active participation of our students and faculty on faculty-driven projects (faculty research) and student-driven projects (independent projects). Although the latter are usually carried out beyond Claremont's borders, these participants are actively mentored by Pomona College faculty. The summer is an excellent time for students to focus on experiential learning in the laboratories and in the field for a sustained period of time. The lack of interruption from our usual college activities gives students and faculty the luxury of time and the opportunity to ponder great thoughts, plan intricate studies and disentangle the many variables that affect our scholarship/research.

SURP engages about 200 students each summer. A large number of students carried out research in the laboratories of their faculty mentors and a significant number of students also participated in projects away from Claremont in various locales such as Oregon, Maine, Colorado, Illinois and international sites such as Botswana, Ghana, Russia, Tanzania, Egypt, Pakistan, France and the Cook Islands.

As a culmination of of their efforts, students make a presentation of their work to the College community at the Pomona Summer Poster Conference each September and may apply for College support to present their project at a national conference. While projects are rarely completed in the summer, they have laid the critical groundwork for continuing study. For many of our seniors, these projects often “morph” into senior theses. Research work may also result in co-authored articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Participate in SURP

  • View past SURP research through 2007. Use the navigation on the left to view projects by year and discipline. 
  • Alumni: Tell us where your project led you. If you are curious where SURP research leads our students, visit our "Where Are They Now?" section. To contribute your own SURP success story, visit our Facebook page or email Laura Tiffany.
  • Students: Apply for a project. For information on how students can participate in a summer research project, please visit the Academic Dean's website.
  • Help support future projects. Give to the Annual Fund and Campaign Pomona to support student researchers.

Sample Projects

  • Anthropology - Effects of Environmental Change and Land Use Policies on Taiwanese Aboriginal Groups
  • Art and Art History - Expanding the Possibilities of Material Transformation Through Alternative Surfaces, Media and Processes
  • Biology - A Chemical Genomic Approach to Studying the Cellular Pathways Involved in Response to Platinum-Based Anticancer Drugs
  • Chemistry - Characterizing Trace Element Profiles in Coffee Samples Using Wavelength-Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence
  • Computer Science - Impro-Visor: Audio Input and Style Recognition
  • Economics - Does Aggregate Loan Growth Predict Future Performance of the Financial Sector?
  • English - Figuratively Speaking: Printed Marginalia in Early English Texts
  • Geology - Mud and Microbes in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field
  • History - De Facto, De Jure and Denial: Segregation in the Los Angeles Unified School District, 1940-1980
  • Linguistics and Cognitive Science - "Eve Eat Dust Mop": Measuring Syntactic Development in Child Language 
  • Molecular Biology - Recreating the Corneal Extracellular Matrix: The Effects of Material and Alignment on Corneal Fibroblasts 
  • Neuroscience - Comparing Neurofibrillary Tangles in Alzheimer's Disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
  • Physics and Astronomy - High-Resolution Spatial Mapping of Thin-Film Photovoltaic Cells
  • Politics - Shifting Grounds for African Secessionism?
  • Psychology - Substance-Abusing Women on the Struggles of Motherhood: A Thematic Analysis
  • Public Policy Analysis - Medicaid Reform in Oregon -- Local Coordinated Care Success
  • Religous Studies - Opening the Mind's Eye: Visual Stimuli in Tibetan Buddhist Meditation
  • Sociology - The Nigerian Beauty Pageant Industry

Thank You to...

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program is supported by many funding sources. We are particularly grateful to the donors whose ideals and generosity make it possible to sustain and nurture our diverse research talents. Our special thanks go to the Berliner Holocaust Studies Award, Class of 1971 SURP Fund, Kenneth Cooke Memorial Fund, Evelyn B. Craddock-McVicar Memorial Fund, Elgin Fund, Faucett Catalyst Fund, Fletcher Jones Foundation, Donors to the History and English Department SURP, Corwin Hansch and Bruce Telzer Fund, Hart Institute for American History, HHMI, Koe Family Fund, Linares Family SURP for Chemistry, NEH, NIH, NSF, Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Pomona Alumni SURP Fund, Paul K. Richter and Evelyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Fund, Dale N. Robertson Fund, Rose Hills Foundation, Schulz Fund for Environmental Studies, Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund, Sherman Fairchild Foundation, and the Brian Stonehill Memorial Fund for Media Studies. To learn more about SURP and why the program needs your support, visit the SURP page on our Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds site.

Research at Pomona