SURF Rose Hills Experience

What is SURF Rose Hills Experience?

The SURF Rose Hills Experience program supports sophomores and juniors seeking to do STEM-oriented research for a faculty member/laboratory during the summer. Thanks to the generous support of The Rose Hills Foundation, SURF Rose Hills Experience fellows receive a summer stipend of $5,000 to support participation in the program. 

In addition to receiving funding, each summer fellow will be assigned to a small peer group, which communicates regularly throughout the summer. In the peer group you will find a community of undergraduate researchers with similar interests and problems, as well as a SURF Graduate Student Advisor – an experienced researcher to help guide your efforts. Primary guidance in research will come from individual faculty mentors, but most students have found it useful to meet with other students who are grappling with related research issues. The SURF program culminates with a research presentation at the SURF Conference in August 2021. Rose Hills Experience fellows will present via oral presentation with slides at the Conference. 


You may apply for SURF Rose Hills Experience if you meet all of the following: 

  • Currently enrolled UC Berkeley student-visiting or UC Berkeley extension students are not eligible
  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Sophomore or Junior status according to your Cal Central profile. For transfers, you must be in at least your second semester at UC Berkeley 
  • U.S. citizen (Note: Although SURF Rose Hills only accepts U.S. Citizens, AB540 and International students are eligible and encouraged to apply for SURF L&S, SURF-SMART, or SURF Math Team) 
  • Your permanent residence is in one of the following counties in Southern California: 
    San Diego County 
    Imperial County
    Orange County 
    Riverside County
    Santa Barbara County
    Ventura County
    Los Angeles County 
    San Bernardino County
  • Sponsorship by a UC Berkeley, UCSF, CHORI, or LBNL faculty member or lab scientist / principal investigator  
  • Students must be declared in one of the eligible majors (see next section) 
  • SURF Rose Hills fellows from previous summers are eligible to apply for summer 2021.

List of eligible majors:

There are majors in every UC Berkeley college – except the College of Environmental Design – that are eligible for SURF Rose Hills Experience. Read the below eligible major list closely:

Life Sciences Majors: Integrative Biology*, Microbial Biology, Molecular & Cell Biology*, Genetics & Plant Biology, Molecular & Environmental Biology, Earth & Planetary Science, Nutritional Science (including: Toxicology, Dietetics, and Physiology & Metabolism), Conservation & Resource Studies, Environmental Sciences, Marine Science, Planetary Science

Math/Physical Sciences Majors: Astrophysics*, Chemical Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics*, Applied Mathematics*, Physics*, Statistics*, Geophysics

Engineering Majors: Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, EECS (or the Computer Science major within L&S*), Energy Engineering, Engineering Math & Statistics, Engineering Physics, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research (or Operations Research & Management Science within L&S), Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Nuclear Engineering


Selection Criteria:  

SURF Rose Hills Experience will go to sophomores or juniors with solid faculty / scientist supervision in laboratory research and who demonstrate in the application that they are motivated and well-qualified to take on the proposed research based on a track-record of resourcefulness and responsibility. 

Please note: The SURF Rose Hills Experience fellowship is NOT for student-initiated research; it is for students who are supporting the research of faculty members and lab scientists. For a research fellowship supporting your own, student-initiated research, apply for the Rose Hills Independent Fellowship. Additionally note: Students who win other substantial summer awards will be expected to decline the SURF award so that additional students may benefit from summer research.

Commitments and Responsibilities: 

Fellows are expected to work full-time on their research project for two months during the summer (specifically 8 weeks out of the 14 week full timeline of SURF). We typically require that you forego employment and summer session enrollment for that period. However, given COVID-19 pandemic circumstances, SURF will not restrict summer session enrollment or employment opportunity for summer 2021. We are still holding SURF fellows to a minimum eight-week research requirement. We have found that most summer fellows get the most out of the experience by going beyond this minimum requirement. 

All research fellows are required to: attend one orientation that will be held during the Spring term RRR week (usually first week in May), four workshops in mid-summer, two meetings to prepare for the conference presentation (these preparation meetings usually happen in the week before or the week of the Conference), multiple peer group meetings, and multiple research updates during the summer via bCourses. Fellows are urged to attend as many workshops as possible. These workshops address a range of topics including, but not limited to core research skills, discipline-specific research practices, career pathways, and student wellness. Students are expected to regularly discuss progress with their SURF advisor and to present results at the end of the summer.

Early in the program, all research fellows must submit a photo, a project description, and a brief statement on the personal meaning of this opportunity, to be posted on the SURF website.

All Rose Hills Experience fellows will be required to make a work-in-progress oral presentation with slides at the SURF Conference in August 2021.

After the Conference, there are also a few requirements including: an online evaluation and a thank you statement to the fellow’s donor. SURF Rose Hills Experience fellows are not required to enroll in an independent-study course following the summer. An online exit survey is the final step in the SURF program