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Undergraduate Research is focus of Stetson’s S.U.R.E. Program

SURE-2.jpgThe recipients of this year’s Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience (S.U.R.E.) grant program have been announced by Associate Professor of History Kimberly Reiter, Ph.D., head of both Stetson’s S.U.R.E. and Showcase programs and recent winner of the John Hague Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The selected students of this highly competitive program have the opportunity to work this summer for eight weeks as an intern to research a topic of their interest with a faculty member who will serve as their research mentor.

For the first two years of its creation, S.U.R.E. was supported by Hollis Renaissance funds. After seeing each student’s accomplishments, however, Stetson began directly funding students with summer grants since 2000 to keep the program a permanent opportunity for future students. The program has been able to continue running with ongoing funding from The Palm Beach Community Trust and the Frueauff Foundation.

Each student who is chosen to conduct research receives a $2,000 stipend with the possibility of an additional $500 for travel fare to present the results of their work. Stetson also offers students free summer housing on campus if desired.

When asked about the significance of this program, Reiter responded: “Many S.U.R.E. recipients have worked beyond Stetson, on archaeological excavation in Greece and Britain, in musical studios both domestically and abroad, at some of the world’s leading scientific and engineering centers, in national and state museums and in archives from Williamsburg to Oxford. The Stetson name is promoted by the excellence of these students, whose relationships with the faculty at these places strengthen not only the students’ but also Stetson’s reputation in undergraduate research.”

The S.U.R.E. program has high expectations of their students and requires more than just research. Students must also prepare a poster or oral presentation that summarizes their research and present their results either locally or nationally using their $500 travel allowance in a 50-minute lecture. Students are expected to present their results again at the Stetson Showcase following the summer of their grant. After these presentations, the students must submit an essay reflecting on their experience and give suggestions to improve the program.

Kimberly Reading, a past recipient of this grant, had the opportunity to work for the West Volusia Preservation Society as an intern documenting lost or neglected cemeteries with the goal of discovering their mysteries. Reading tracked down hidden cemeteries in the woods through local history books, local settlements, and the locals themselves to uncover headstones and gather names for her data. In April, she presented a public talk at one of Stetson’s Learn Local presentations on “A Pineland Understory: Women and African Americans in early Orange City,” pulling from her earlier and current research.

Reiter handles the responsibility of being in charge of the S.U.R.E. program with zeal: “S.U.R.E. has allowed me a vicarious look every year at the research of our most motivated and ambitious young researchers and I count it a pleasure every Spring to be involved in that. For me, Showcase and S.U.R.E., while a great deal of work, gives me a window every year into the great panorama of original ideas our students have, and it is exciting.”

Reiter has provided a comprehensive list of this year’s recipients and their studies:

Gisela Alvarez, Market is Always Right: Jeff Koons Made in Heaven

Cameron Black, Offense plus Defense equals evolution: How cultural and economic evolution in the NBA from 1970-2000 affected contractual evolution

Elizabeth Cirri, Overcoming the Culture of Poverty

Tracy-Lynn Cleary, Functionalizing Triclosan with Fluorescent Groups for Improved Detection

Jozefina Logu, Evaluation of Brief Female Condom Interventions

Kristen Meiler, Effect of salinity on embryonic Axolotl development

Jake Moore, Paleography and Editing in English Medieval Textuality: Transcribing Chaucerian Manuscripts

Kathryn Nathenson, The Paradox of Policy: An Investigation of Political Players in the Environmental World

Stella Parris, Leaving a Legacy: An intervention to improve the mental health of nursing home residents

Steven Pilato, Self-Objectification, Body Shame, and Disordered Eating and Exercise Behavior in Men

Jackie Pollack, Social and Spatial Analysis of Florida Suicide Mortality

Matthew Rafferty, The RMS Titanic: The Portrayal of the White Star Lines Tragedy

Matthew Vanaman, In-Group Prejudice Among The Homeless Mediated By The Enlightenment Effect

Students who wish to apply to this program must submit an online application. The detailed application procedure and program expectations can be accessed at https://www.stetson.edu/other/research/sure.php.

For more information about Stetson’s S.U.R.E. grant program, contact Kimberly Reiter at kreiter@stetson.edu or 386-822-7541.

by Nicole Melchionda