SURF Application Information
Please read this entire page before beginning the application process!
Students must identify and contact a WSCU Biology faculty mentor in advance of submitting an application. A mentor must agree to support your application, help you to develop and define a research project, and assist you in the writing of the research proposal. This early interaction is a very important part of the application process. Visiting (non-WCSU) students usually have to accomplish this discussion via e-mail, phone, or Skype. If a student is in the area, we encourage him/her to visit the campus and meet the mentor.
Please refer to the Tips for Identifying a Potential Mentor for additional information.
All application documents must be sent as a single submission by mail to:
WCSU Biology SURF Program
Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Science Building 220
Danbury, CT 06810
SURF applications should be postmarked no later than the deadline of March 15 of the application year.
Your application package should contain:
- An Application Form.
- A Project Narrative Proposal.
- A Student Responsibilities form signed by the applicant
- A Faculty Mentor Engagement form signed by the faculty mentor
- Two confidential letters of recommendation speaking to your ability to take part in the SURF program. WCSU students must submit two confidential letters (at least one from a faculty member). The second may be from a coach, employer, or other non-family member. Visiting (non-WCSU) students must submit two confidential letters from faculty (at least one in the relevant discipline)
- Your current resume. We recommend using this resume template.
- An unofficial transcript from your current institution
The Research Project
The most important factor in selecting a project is your enthusiasm for the project itself and for working with the mentor. SURF is not “just a summer job”; a project should have significant intellectual and creative content. The benchmark for a suitable project is the potential for publication in the refereed literature.
The narrative proposal should be written as to be read by reviewers that a scientist specializing in a field outside of biology can understand. It must outline what you plan to do, and why it will be useful. The outline consists of theoretical background and experimental techniques, how the work fits into the flow of the research in the field, and a work plan for the project. Review the Project Narrative Guidelines (add link to narrative guidelines) to make sure you include all of the necessary components. Applicants must identify and contact a faculty member who will serve as a mentor on the proposed project. For a list of potential SURF mentors, see Faculty Mentors.
Each letter must be submitted with the application in sealed envelopes signed across the seal by the person who wrote the letter. WCSU students must submit two confidential letters (at least one from a faculty member). The second may be from a coach, employer, or other non-family member. Visiting (non-WCSU) students must submit two confidential letters from faculty (at least one in the relevant discipline)
Your prospective WCSU mentor will complete a separate evaluation and should not write a letter of recommendation.
Applicants must submit an unofficial transcript at time of application. If an award is offered, you will be asked to have an official transcript mailed in a sealed envelope from the records office at your college or university.
Review of Applications
Applications will be reviewed by a committee composed of WCSU science faculty (biologists and scientists in other fields). See the Criteria for Evaluating SURF Applications.
Awards will be announced by April 15 of the application year. Students will receive e-mail notification of the outcome of their applications and instructions and forms required to accept the award.