REU Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Oceanography (SURFO)
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Oceanography (SURFO) program is a 10-week research experience designed primarily for science, math and engineering students who will have just completed their junior year. The program can include lab work, data analysis, instrumentation development, dynamical modeling, or a research cruise.
Summer Fellows may be involved in projects related to:
- Physical, Biological, Chemical and Geological Oceanography
- Geophysics / Geodynamics
- Archaeological Oceanography
- Atmospheric Chemistry / Meteorology
- Remote Sensing / Ocean Engineering
Our program focuses primarily on the quantitative aspects of Oceanography, so a large number of the student projects deal with various aspects of fluid dynamics, marine geophysics, or numerical/physical modeling. We also encourage interdisciplinary research projects that take full advantage of the expertise at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.
Citizenship. The SURFO program is limited to U.S. citizens or foreign students who are permanent residents of the U.S. or U.S. possessions.
Academic Standing. All undergraduate students are welcome to apply, but the SURFO program is targeted for students completing their junior year. SURFO will also accept talented students completing their sophomore year or seniors who will be graduating after the fall semester.
Criteria. The selection of SURFO participants is based upon:
- academic achievement in the basic sciences, math or engineering
- possible career interest in oceanography or ocean engineering
- recommendations from undergraduate professors or research advisors
- research potential
- ability to articulate, in writing, reasons for applicant’s interest in program.
Over the course of the 10-week program, SURFO participants will evolve from an oceanographic “rookie” to a full-fledged member of a research team.
Participants will be expected to:
- review assigned scientific literature in preparation for research,
- seek out additional literature while conducting research,
- conduct an independent research project under the guidance of a research advisor and graduate student,
- present research results in a 15-minute professional talk,
- summarize research project in a written scientific report.
We believe that exposure to basic research is a valuable component of an undergraduate education. We offer a select number of students the experience of working as part of a research group in developing problem-solving skills which may be applied in any career. More specifically, we want to share our enthusiasm for Oceanography with undergraduate students and make them aware that training in the basic sciences or engineering is both applicable and necessary for the complex challenges facing oceanographic researchers.
The 3 basic goals of the SURFO program are to provide participants with:
- an appreciation for the interdisciplinary character of Oceanography,
- an authentic research experience in a cutting-edge field of Oceanography,
- an introduction to the graduate student lifestyle in Oceanography.
History of SURFO
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Oceanography (SURFO) Program began in 1984 with initial funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). In 1994, primary support for the SURFO Program switched to the National Science Foundation (NSF) when the program was designated as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site program. The program has grown to be an important part of GSO’s research and educational program. While GSO’s primary mission has been graduate education and research, the faculty, graduate students and staff have developed an enthusiasm for the interaction with the undergraduate fellows and the fresh perspective and energy they bring to campus.