SURE 2016 was a Success. We can Make 2017 Even Better

Faculty and Students can sign up now for Summer Research Program

The deadline for the 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) is fast approaching. Applications for the program’s second installment are due March 1.

Kent State’s inaugural SURE program gave 35 undergraduates from various academic backgrounds an eight-week fellowship to conduct research with a faculty mentor, from June 13 to August 5, 2016.

"We’ve received very positive feedback, and I think everyone sees this as a great way to grow the culture of research and provide meaningful opportunities for undergraduates to pursue their interest in research," said Dr. Doug Delahanty, Associate Vice President for Research Faculty Development, and the lead organizer of SURE.

Kent State President Beverly Warren’s office directly funded the program. The program has been roundly praised across campus.

"SURE is really a concrete example of the president’s investment in merging the core priorities of putting Students First, and creating a Distinctive Kent State with a strong culture of research and innovation," Delahanty said.

Last year, students learned about SURE largely by word of mouth from their professors. While promotions for the next installment have been louder, that faculty-to-student element is still vital to making SURE 2017 bigger and better. The Office of Student Research is again asking faculty to volunteer as mentors and encourage students to apply for fellowships by the due date.

“Given that it was the first year of this program, we were extremely excited about the level of interest — we had well over 100 applications," Delahanty said. "We’re very much looking forward to this year, seeing more applicants, and providing more opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate."

Students said SURE had a significant impact on their studies.

“It really helped me to build a foundation and develop the skills to get hired into a real lab,” said junior chemistry and pre-med major Travis Mollick. “I was able to build the techniques and grow my understanding of the subject.”

Mollick, who plans to study reproductive biology in medical school, worked with Biological Sciences Professor, Dr. Douglas Kline, analyzing a particular cellular signaling protein relevant to female egg maturation. Kline has since hired Mollick as an undergraduate research assistant.

SURE gave junior marketing major Angela Deibel the opportunity to get her feet wet in sustainability research.

“She’s not an engineer, but she looks like she’s falling in love with engineering,” said Deibel’s Mentor, CAEST Assistant Professor Yanhai Du.

Deibel’s summer research with fuel cells impressed him so much that Du offered her an individual investigation course, leading a team in designing a zero-emission vehicle — “ZEV” — prototype.

“The thing I learned most from my SURE internship was how to make mistakes,” said Deibel, now a sustainability minor. “I learned to understand that with every mistake I made, I was one step closer to my goal. That was a big life lesson.”

Senior biology major Nirmala Ghimirey has been studying leukemia for three years with Associate Biological Sciences Professor, Dr. Gail Fraizer. Ghimirey was not able to present on Oct. 21, but said SURE provided the stipend she needed to complete the lab work for her honors thesis — on upregulated leukemia cell genes in low-oxygen-level environments — just in time to meet the deadline for fall graduation.

“It really helps, because there is so much competition to get into grad school or medical school,” Ghimirey said. “It’s very important for students to be in the lab, learning how research is done.”
In October, the Office of Student Research hosted presentations by students who participated in SURE. Several SURE students had one slide and three minutes to present the research they conducted during their internship.

Jordyn Lally, a senior Psychological Sciences major earned first prize for her work on intra-community racial stereotypes, “She’s pretty much white though.” Lally’s SURE mentor was Psychological Sciences Professor, Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett.

Junior chemistry major Shaun Sutton claimed second place for his research, “Chirality in liquid crystals: Designing a better display for tomorrow.” LCI Professor Dr. Torsten Hegmann was his mentor.

Third place went to Deibel for her cross-disciplinary research project, “Fuel cells: Can they solve our clean energy crisis?”

Judges awarded honorable mention prizes to Angela Ehrich (Dr. Judith Gere), senior, Psychological Sciences, for “Partner instrumentality, and its effect on goal-pursuit processes”; Payton Hagerdorn (Dr. Mary Beth Spitznagel), senior, Psychological Sciences, for “The role of food addiction on the relationship between executive function and body mass index”; and Megan Kasperczyk (Dr. Katherine Rawson), senior, Psychological Sciences, for “Performance on final tests after feedback.”

Students can find details about the program and a link to the application at

Dan Pompili
Marketing & Communications for Research