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

2014-15 SURC councilors

  • Credo 225 x 150
    Credo 225 x 150

    Jonathan Credo

    Major: Biochemistry & Biomedical sciences

    Mentor: Dr. Jani Ingram

    Current research: Quantifying the amount of total arsenic in various unregulated wells on the Navajo Nation

    Research activities: CHM485; Joseph & Sophie Ottens Student Research Awards Program; Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention program; Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity program; summer internship at NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

    Why I do this: The best part about undergraduate research is that not only do you get to apply the skills you learn in the laboratory in a real-life setting, you get to expand your knowledge and experience things outside of the classroom.  Additionally, you get to experience the feeling of being on the forefront of unknown knowledge; similar to the crew of the Enterprise, as a researcher, you "boldly go" every time you learn new things in research.

  • Cutler 225x150
    Cutler 225x150

    Brett Cutler

    Major: Biological sciences, with minor in chemistry

    Mentor: Drs. Cindy Browder, Constantin Ciocanel, & Kiisa Nishikawa

    Current research: Application of mesoporous carbon aerogels in electrochemical double layer capacitors

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

    Why I do this: 

    Undergraduate research aids in the development of a professional network, helps develop an 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.

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    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.

  • Chelsey Gardner_Trina Spencer 225 x 150
    Chelsey Gardner_Trina Spencer 225 x 150

    Chelsey Gardner

    Major: Elementary education

    Mentor: Dr. Trina Spencer (left in photo)

    Current research: Explicit vocabulary instruction embedded in narrative intervention with first grade students

    Research activities: DIS485; Institute for Human Development research assistant; Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient

    Why I do thisBefore I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant, I hadn't thought about the impact research has in my field of study. Dr. Trina Spencer revealed an important correlation: my field will always depend on research. Engaging in research as an undergraduate continues to provide me with opportunities to obtain knowledge and skills that are directly applicable to my future career as an educator.

  • McLane 225x150
    McLane 225x150

    Jacob McLane

    Major: Physics & astronomy, with minor in mathematics

    Mentor: Dr. Lisa Prato (Lowell Observatory)

    Current research: The impact of galactic collisions on the growth and evolution of galaxies

    Research activities: NASA Space Grant, NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Wyoming

    Why I do this: I enjoy the level of challenge associated with a research project.  If you are both diligent and hard working, this challenge allows you to gain a better understanding of the field you are doing research in than can be provided in the classroom. My mentor has introduced me to faculty from various departments around the country in order to give me a leg up when it comes time to apply to grad schools.  It also doesn’t hurt that my research allows me to travel and use interesting tools that I wouldn’t be able to use otherwise.

  • Pocknell 225x150
    Pocknell 225x150

    Victoria Pocknell

    Major: Psychology, with minors in anthropology and international relations

    Mentor: Dr. Michael Alban

    Current research: Determining whether we can prime a freeze response in humans as a third option to the typical flight/fight response when faced with a threat

    Research activities: PSY485; PSY486C; Interns-to-Scholars program, Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient

    Why I do this: I never thought that I would be interested in research until I was a part of the Interns-to-Scholars program where I discovered my passion for research. The best part is that you can begin to investigate the things that interest you the most while working with professors that you begin to build a working relationship with. Research reflects who you are, what you are passionate about, and what keeps you up a night questioning. It allows you to begin to augment the information you learn in class and apply it to a real-world setting.

  • 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. Matthew Gage

    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!

  • Kylie Suter
    Kylie Suter

    Kylie Suter

    Major: Interdisciplinary Studies: Speech Science and Technology, with a minor in disability studies

    Mentor: Dr. Trina Spencer

    Current research: Assessment of story comprehension for preschool aged children in Flagstaff and adult-child communication interactions within different ethnic groups.

    Research activities: DIS485

    Why I do thisThe best part about engaging in undergraduate research is working directly with a professor and other currently employed people within my area of study. I owe my success in college to my research team; without their support, I would still be trying to figure out my major.