Student Undergraduate Research Council

The Student Undergraduate Research Council (SURC) promotes awareness about undergraduate research opportunities at NAU.

By generating awareness, SURC hopes to increase the number of students engaged in research, scholarly, or creative projects at NAU. We also want to convey to students studying in a variety of disciplines and coming from diverse backgrounds that doing research is beneficial for their academic and career development. The members of SURC believe that participating in undergraduate research is an important experience for anyone interested in gaining more knowledge and a deeper appreciation of their academic field.

SURC members responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Advise the Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Attend monthly meetings
  • Promote undergraduate research at workshops, tabling events, speaking engagements, and class presentations
  • Work as a team to develop, strengthen, and expand undergraduate research awareness at NAU
  • Spend at least 15 hrs/semester on SURC activities
  • Provide assistance at the annual Undergraduate Symposium in April

2015-16 SURC councilors

  • Barbera 225x150
    Barbera 225x150

    Dylan Barbera

    Major: Psychological Sciences, with a minor in Biology & Chemistry

    Mentor: Dr. C. Chad Woodruff

    Current research: Investigating the neural dynamics of self/other discrimination in facial perception and relating this to processes such as perspective-taking and empathy.

    Research activities: PSY485, PSY486C, Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient

    Why I do this: There are many benefits to engaging in research as an undergraduate, but the most valuable one to me has to be the knowledge you gain from participating in research. I have learned more from any given semester in the lab than in any traditional course. I also believe that the experience to teach and learn from your fellow students can be very helpful to gain different perspectives on the material.  

  • Cutler 225x150
    Cutler 225x150

    Brett Cutler

    Major: Biological Sciences, with a minor in Chemistry

    Mentor: Dr. Cindy Browder, Dr. Kiisa Nishikawa, and Dr. Russell Benford

    Current research: Elemental characterization of Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) scales using spectral imaging techniques

    Research activities: BIO485; CHM485; BIO680; Interns-to-Scholars program; NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at University of Texas Marine Science Institute; Two time Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient

    Why I do this: Undergraduate research aids in the development of a professional network, promotes one's ability to work independently, and augments course studies. Students come to college to ultimately pursue a career specific to their interests, and undergraduate research allows them to do so early. This is why I am involved; it allows me to do the things I am in college to pursue while I am still in college.

  • DePaola 225x150
    DePaola 225x150

    Taran DePaola

    Major: Psychology, with minors in Criminal Justice, Biology, & Chemistry

    Mentor: Dr. C. Chad Woodruff

    Current research: Using EEG to quantify event-related desynchronization (ERD) related to visual processing and empathy

    Research activities: PSY485; Interns-to-Scholars program; NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) at Indiana University-Bloomington; Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient

    Why I do thisI became involved in undergraduate research as a sophomore because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after college. I eventually decided I wanted to go to graduate school but I learned that research was part of getting a Ph.D., so I asked professors about their research interests to see if mine were a match and that's when I found Dr. Woodruff. Neuroscience was the most interesting topic I had studied so far and after being in his lab for a few semesters, I realized that undergraduate research not only builds knowledge and work ethic, but also contributes greatly to development as a person and a scholar. Undergraduate research is not just working in a lab; it is being involved with science at a higher level - a level that builds character, self-esteem, motivation, and determination.

  • Ollerton 225x150
    Ollerton 225x150

    Alexander Ollerton

    Major: Chemistry ACS, with a minor in Mathematics

    Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Duis

    Current research: Conducting a study on students to see the effect of using cell phones in the classroom and how it corresponds to grades

    Research activities: CHM485, Transfer-GEMS, Border Latino American Indian Scholars Exposure to Research (BLAISER)

    Why I do thisWhat I enjoy about research is being able to apply the skills I have learned in a classroom to a hands-on experience. I think that it is important to also learn if research is going to be the right type of career path for a science field. Being able to collaborate is a vital skill in the science field and what better way to do so than to get hands-on experience.

  • Prawzinsky 225x150
    Prawzinsky 225x150

    Hannah Prawzinsky

    Major: Mathematics and Secondary Education in Mathematics

    Mentor: Dr. Dana Ernst and Mr. Jeffrey Rushall

    Current research: Attempting to prove the conjecture that all unicyclic graphs have prime labelings; creating applets for Calculus

    Research activities: MAT485; CURM mini-grant; Interns-to-Scholars program

    Why I do thisGetting involved in research is my favorite part of being an undergraduate. Although I love my other classes, research provides different opportunities that you wouldn't necessarily receive in a conventional classroom. It allows you to work closely with professors and, sometimes, other undergraduates. It also allows you to think creatively. Lastly, research provides you with a chance to learn more about a topic that really interests you, or study something that you may not come across in your regular undergraduate studies.

  • Rodoni 225x150
    Rodoni 225x150

    Bridger Rodoni

    Major: Biomedical Sciences, with a minor in Chemistry

    Mentor: Dr. Tinna Traustadottir

    Current research: Determining the biochemical properties and responses of the titin protein

    Research activities: CHM485

    Why I do thisI strongly believe that undergraduates should do research, especially those in the sciences. You get to explore things that don't necessarily have answers yet. The idea of being the first one to discover something is exhilarating. It also provides an avenue for building a relationship with people who could be outstanding references for you after graduation!