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SURF Research Symposium

Robert Rattner

Robert Rattner

Meghan Mahar

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Forty student researchers gathered in the Beckerman Recreation Center for a symposium and presentation of their summer projects. The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program gives students opportunities to expand knowledge in fields of their choosing.

The program provides a stipend, on-campus housing, and resources for students to use as they work with faculty mentors to conduct research.

On September 22, the SURF program celebrated its tenth anniversary. The student researchers proudly displayed large posters that summarized their research background, procedures, and findings. Fields covered ranged from music production to microbiology.

Damani Piper worked under mentor Patrick River to analyze the creative process behind hip-hop music and how it is perceived when created electronically versus live performance.  

“This was inspired by a conversation I had with one of my professors we were talking about what makes a musician a real musician versus a digital musician,” Piper explained, “I wanted to learn more about why people consider a guitarist a musician versus maybe Kanye West.”

Researchers found inspiration in their studies and by exploring the world around them. They found innovative solutions to environmental problems through field studies and extensive research methods.

Owen Johnson, a chemical engineering major, determined that “…neodymium is the most critical earth element… and analyzed to see whether it was financially viable to recycle it at this time”. Students such as Johnson found that as their research progressed, their overall focus and results evolved.

“It was going to be totally different,” Owen laughed, describing the methods that he used, “We were going to initially do a more traditionally sustainability assessment… Instead, I went more into a look at the recyclability of them.”

All of the students involved shed new light upon their research topics. The alumni of the program have progressed to higher levels of national research and graduate programs.

The SURF program is available to students of all majors. For information about the program, visit www.newhaven.edu/academics/faculty/research/SURF

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SURF Research Symposium