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a group of student interns pose outside on a patio with mountains and medical building in background
The first group of summer interns in Virginia Tech’s COVID-19 testing lab at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTCincluded, from left, Mia Cromer, Laura Fortune, Jacilyn Williams, Novitska Moore, Elizabeth Burrell, Connor Murphy, Binuk Samarasinghe, Morteza Mostashari, and Rabia Ikram. Photo by Whitney Slightham for Virginia Tech.

Persevering Despite COVID-19

Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program Perseveres Despite COVID-19

After canceling last year’s program because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at the Fralin Life Sciences Institute returns as 20 students embark on a full summer of research.

SURF gives undergraduate students hands-on research experiences during a 10-week program that mimics graduate training. The program provides students with the tools to make critical career decisions, research experience, professional development, and networking opportunities.

Through their research projects, the SURF awardees tackle environmental and life sciences-related challenges with innovative technology and guidance from a faculty mentor.

The Office of Undergraduate Research and the Fralin Life Sciences Institute both support the SURF program.

Preference is given to rising second- or third-year undergraduates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and who have not previously engaged in a full-time summer research experience. Prior to applying, students identify a faculty mentor in the life sciences.

Students who are selected to receive a fellowship must commit to SURF full-time since it is a 40-hour per week training program. A $4,000 stipend is granted to each Virginia Tech fellow.


This year’s College of Science recipients are:

Josephine Beyer, nanomedicine, Academy of Integrated Science.
Faculty mentor: Daniel Capelluto.

Spencer Chase, experimental neuroscience.
Faculty mentor: Sujith Vijayan.

Lindsay Clay, experimental neuroscience.
Faculty mentor: Andrea Bertke.

Andrew Hynes, biological sciences.
Faculty mentor: Dana Hawley.

Laily Jaghori, microbiology.
Faculty mentor: Xiaofeng Wang.

Rebecca Kelly, biological sciences.
Faculty mentor: Birgit Scharf.

Anna Makarov, biological sciences.
Faculty mentor: Silke Hauf.

Justin Markov Madanick, microbiology.
Faculty mentor: Ann Stevens.

Annabelle Owens, microbiology.
Faculty mentor: Bryan Hsu.

Tamer Whittle-Hage, clinical neuroscience.
Faculty mentor: Sarah Clinton.