Summer Research Grants Open Up a World of Possibilities for Students

Each summer, students at the College of Charleston gain hands-on experience through Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty (SURF) grants, which pair students with faculty mentors to pursue impactful research projects.

This year, a committee of faculty members representing each of the College’s eight schools reviewed 58 applications. A total of 23 projects were each awarded a grant of up to $6,500.

SURF grants are highly competitive, according to Charlie Calvert, director of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) Program, which funds the SURF grants.

“We had an incredible turnout this year,” says Calvert, an associate professor of scenic design in the Department of Theatre and Dance. “We were also excited to partner with the Center for Sustainable Development, which provided some funding for SURF projects that had a sustainable focus.”

The College Today recently profiled some of this year’s SURF projects, and Honors students were well represented. Check out a summary of their projects below! You can also read the full article in the College Today by Darcie Goodwin.

Effects of Salinity on Oviposition Site Choice and Mate Choice in Squirrel Treefrogs

Biology major and Honors College student Regan Honeycutt, under the mentorship of Allison Welch, associate professor of biology, is studying the impact of freshwater salinization on the mate and habitat choice of female squirrel tree frogs, a common South Carolina amphibian. The research aims to show how environmental change can impact behaviors that help determine the success of vulnerable populations.

Continuation of HPC Cluster Research and Development

Computer science major and Honors College student Joseph Mitrick, under the guidance of Norman Levine, professor of geology and environmental geosciences, is utilizing a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster to help develop an application that will tie current and predicted gauge station tidal heights to associated inland flooding in real time.

Beautiful Women with Malicious Intent

English major and Honors College student Peyton Baxley, under the mentorship of  Tim Carens, professor of English, is studying how the femme fatale escapes the helplessness of being trapped in a patriarchal culture by pretending to be helpless in order to gain power and fulfill her desires.

Lassen Volcano Lavas: Disequilibrium Mineralogy

Geology major and Honors College student Abagail Harper, under the mentorship of John Chadwick, associate professor of geology and environmental geosciences, is studying magma, underground molten rock, and how different sources of magma may be influencing lava flows from Lassen Volcano and surrounding volcanic centers in northern California.

Localization of Rings and Categories

Mathematics major and Honors College student Terence Carey, under the mentorship of Oleg Smirnov, associate professor of mathematics, is studying how to create a connection between two mathematical theories: Ring Theory and Category Theory.

Biases in Interpretation and Memory in Young Children: Linkages to Maternal Reminiscing

Psychology majors Leah Lancellotta and Ava Lubin, who is an Honors College student, under the guidance of Gabrielle Principe, psychology professor, are exploring how the way parents frame and guide conversations about earlier events may shape how children come to interpret and remember their experiences. They want to determine the sorts of early experiences that might contribute to the development of cognitive biases.

Quantative Assessment of Antibiotic-resistant Fecal Coliforms

Public health major and Honors College student Brooke Emery, under the mentorship of Heather Fullerton, psychology professor, is studying water samples for the presence/absence of antibiotic-resistant organisms. They will plot detection of such organisms and study the relation to tidal status. They also aim to sequence the genetic composition of the organisms.

Developing the Costume Design Process

Theatre major and Honors College student Molly Rumph, under the guidance of Janine McCabe, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, is learning what is involved in the design of costumes for a theatrical production. The project will require in-depth analysis of the script and characters of multiple productions and extensive period research.


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