Sean Burns

Dr. Sean Burns, UC Berkeley

Sean Burns is Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. Sean earned his PhD at UC Santa Cruz's History of Consciousness Department. His scholarship and teaching focus on U.S. social movement history and the dynamic intersections of community activism, political education, and the remaking of the social imagination.  In terms of contacting Sean about SURF, all program questions should be directed to him by sending an email to, with "program question" in the subject heading. 

Melissa Griffith

Melissa Griffith

Melissa Griffith is the SURF Social Sciences and Humanities Advisor and a Ph.D. Student in Political Science at UC Berkeley. She specializes in international relations, U.S. foreign policy, and cybersecurity threats. Her dissertation examines the potential for and diversity of cooperation between the U.S. and other states seeking to address the emergence of cybersecurity threats. Prior to joining the SURF team in April 2016, Melissa mentored undergraduate research within the classroom as a Graduate Student Instructor and through the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. Melissa has lived and worked abroad in Spain, the U.K., China, and Taiwan. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Agnes Scott College (2011) and a M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley (2014). Melissa is available to meet with humanities and social science students interested in SURF - please sign up for her office hours at this link. 

Justin Lopez

Justin Lopez joined the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships in January 2016 as the SURF STEM Advisor. He is a Ph.D. student in bioengineering through a program offered jointly by UC Berkeley and UCSF. He graduated in 2013 from the University of Nevada, Reno with a dual B.S./B.S. in general biology and biochemistry-molecular biology, with minors in mathematics, Spanish, and analytical organic chemistry. Justin performed research in gastrointestinal motility disorders in a molecular biology and physiology lab for five years, while advising international undergraduate students in their independent research projects. You can sign up for Justin's office hours at this link - he is happy to support you in the application process.