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2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

May 28, 2019

By Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science staff

Today marks the day 157 college students begin a 10-week research program known as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). Fellows will spend the summer immersed in a research lab where they conduct a small research project or work on part of an ongoing research investigation.

SURF, sponsored by Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, gives college students a chance to build their skills as young scientists or test their inclinations toward research. This competitive fellowship also comes with a generous stipend so fellows are supported as they take this step in their biomedical research careers.

SURF fellows work daily with mentors, which consist of Mayo Clinic faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, medical students, and others who are further along their career paths. This style of learning leads to opportunities for close collaboration with nationally and internationally recognized scientists.

Additionally, fellows gain hands-on experience with real-world research projects. Because the questions they are studying are at the forefront of modern science, many students earn acknowledgment or co-authorship in articles submitted to professional publications. The program gives fellows the chance to learn how to use world-class instrumentation in modern research facilities. 

The fellowship also doubles as a way for students to see if a career as a Ph.D. or Ph.D.-M.D. scientist is right for them. Fellows attend weekly seminars and the summer culminates in a poster session at a nearby hotel ballroom.

The SURF program also gives fellows a great sense of community. Fellows get together over the summer for special social events, such as a picnic and a baseball game. Past SURF fellows say they have made lasting friendships during the program and say the experience helped them with their career decision-making process.

2019 SURF fellows by the numbers:

  • 121 fellows are appointed to Rochester
  • 20 fellows are appointed to Jacksonville
  • 16 fellows are appointed to Phoenix/Scottsdale
  • Most students (26%) come from Minnesota, but 29 states in total are represented in this class
  • This class has a strong international presence with 14% of students from outside the USA
  • A majority of students (52%) are entering their senior year of college, with rising juniors being a close second