What is SURF-SMART?

The SURF-SMART Program enables undergraduate students to receive guided mentorship from UC Berkeley graduate students. This program is designed to foster research skills and paths to advanced studies for undergraduates and broaden the professional development of doctoral students. SURF-SMART fellows work one-on-one with their SURF-SMART Graduate Student Mentor, at times alongside another SURF-SMART fellow/mentee, to contribute valulable research skills to the Mentor's project. 

Mentors work under the guidance of a faculty adviser and receive training in mentoring throughout the spring semester, in a seminar course offered by the Graduate Division. Each SURF-SMART fellow student will receive a $5,000 fellowship, and their Mentor will receive $1000.

In addition to funding, and the support of their Mentor, each SURF-SMART fellow is assigned to a small research cluster which communicates regularly throughout the summer. In the cluster you will find a community of undergraduate researchers with similar interests. Each cluster is led by a SURF Graduate Student Advisor - an experienced researcher to help guide your efforts. Primary guidance in research will come from the Mentor, but most students have found it very valuable to meet with other students who are grappling with related research issues. The SURF-SMART program culminates with a research presentation at the SURF Conference in August 2020. SURF-SMART fellows will determine the format of their presentation with the Mentor who leads their project. 

 

ELIGIBILITY

The application deadline for SURF 2020 will be February 2020. The SURF-SMART graduate student mentor projects will be posted to this website February 1, 2020. 

You may apply for SURF-SMART if you meet all of the following:

  • are a student currently enrolled at UC Berkeley- visiting or UC Berkeley extension students are not eligible
  • have a 3.0 GPA at UC Berkeley 
  • all majors across campus are welcome, including undeclared students
  • students with a December 2019 or May 2020 graduation date are not eligible to apply
  • if you applied in the past and were not selected to be a SMART mentee, you are welcome to apply again. Former SMART mentees are not eligible to apply again
  • you may not apply to any other SURF cohort (for example, Rose Hills or SURF L&S)
  • have a well-written and reasoned application essay responding to one of the Mentor projects posted to the SURF website 
  • are able to devote yourself to research full-time for a minimum of eight weeks during the summer
  • International and AB540 students are eligible and encouraged to apply to SURF-SMART

 

SELECTION CRITERIA

SURF-SMART fellows are reviewed and selected by the Mentors. Successful applicants will demonstrate suitability for their hopeful project with the desired skill sets and experience. SURF-SMART fellows may have freshman, sophomore, or junior status. Seniors graduating no sooner than Fall 2020 may also apply. 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 require that you forego employment and summer session enrollment for that period. Eight weeks is the minimum 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 cluster meetings in mid-summer, two meetings to prepare for the conference presentation, and multiple research updates during the summer via bCourses. These preparation meetings usually happen in the week before or the week of the Conference. Fellows are urged to attend as many cluster meetings as possible. Students whose research takes them away from Berkeley may seek to be excused from attending some of these meetings in person, but will be required to attend virtually and/or 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 SURF-SMART fellows will be required to make a work-in-progress presentation at the SURF conference in August 2020. The format-oral or poster- will be determined with the project Mentor. 

After the Conference, there are also a few requirements including: an online evaluation and a thank you statement to the fellow's donor.