Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURFs) | RIT/NTID Student Research Resources

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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURFs)

A limited number of Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs) will be available to qualified NTID-supported students to conduct research with a faculty mentor during the Summer. The student stipend amount is $4,000. Please be aware that this would be a stipend to cover a full-time effort by the student for a period of ten weeks during the Summer. Priority will be given to students who have not previously received a SURF from RIT/NTID.


  1. You must be an NTID-supported undergraduate student with a GPA above 3.0.
  2. Your proposed SURF work must be completed in collaboration with a faculty mentor.
  3. Students who are conducting research under externally-funded projects are asked to use those funds before applying for the NTID-funded opportunities.
  4. With the approval of their mentor, SURF awardees are required to present their research at RIT’s Annual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium (held in early August) and are encouraged to present at NTID’s Annual Student Research Fair (typically in late April/early May).
  5. You must be in good academic, financial and judicial standing at RIT/NTID.
  6. SURF funds may only be used for student pay/stipends, they cannot be used for supplies, travel, etc.
  7. You are required to work under the SURF program full-time for ten weeks during the Summer term.

How to Apply

  1. Complete the SURF Application Form.
  2. Write a brief (1- 2 page) Research Proposal that describes the work that you will complete during the summer SURF assignment.
  3. Write a 1-page Personal Narrative that describes how your involvement in this research experience will benefit your future education and career goals.
  4. Request that your faculty mentor write a letter in support of your SURF involvement and Research Proposal.

*All application material is due April 1st.

All of the above should be sent directly to Dr. Todd Pagano (


Things to include in your Research Proposal

Background and Significance

Statement of the problem.  How important would the solution to this problem be? What is known and not known in this area of inquiry? Why this research is important? To whom is this work of most interest? What makes this project novel? If applicable, provide citations from the relevant literature.

Project Goals and Design

As specifically as possible, describe how you will conduct your research and/or attack the problem that you stated above. What will your project methodology be? While it is true that research often goes in unforeseen directions, success in a 10‑week summer project requires a very high level of focus. The clearer your goals, the more likely you are to have a successful experience.

For more information, contact Dr. Todd Pagano (