By: Kerri Musick
This past August I participated in the organization of the Honors College Orientation for incoming freshman. The day prior to the event I e-mailed John Feldkamp, Assistant Director of the Honors College, to find out where our designated parking area was. The P.S. section of his response was probably the most exciting part of this e-mail:
PS: I want you to meet Dr. Ron Delph at lunch time (have you met him before outside of the Frankenstein reading?). He is looking to work with a student on a research grant he received. Someone who is pursuing some type of History major was where we started with who would be a possible student. You were the first person I thought of. Just see me at lunch, and we’ll get the two of you to connect.
Um, what?! Deal. I knew I was in for a trip when I met with Dr. Delph at lunch the next day and the first question he asked was “Do you have a passport?”. By some stroke of luck I found myself agreeing to being a part of the SURF (Symposium Undergraduate Research Fellowship) program at EMU. Being a part of this program I am given the opportunity at the age 19 to conduct research alongside esteemed faculty- and get some financial support!
Each SURF (a total of 23) determines what they want to do with their stipend to help further their research. Personally, I am using my stipend to study abroad in Rome and Florence this coming March to foster a greater understanding of the position women played in the Medici reign in Renaissance Italy. Some other SURFs are paying for lab equipment, books, and travel expenses to fund conference fees to present their work.
There are a plethora of opportunities available at Eastern that prepare you for the real world of career preparation, help you build your resume, and network with important figures- not to mention the once in a lifetime chance to try your hand at undergraduate research.