News & Events

Undergrad researchers explore liberal arts and social sciences

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program funds 16 research projects in the College

Every summer, the university provides $3,500 fellowships to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors to spend 10 weeks working a full-time research project under the direction of its faculty.

Although participation in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program does not earn students course credit, it does allow them to sample a small portion of life as a graduate student. The experience concludes with the students presenting their findings during Undergraduate Research Day.

This year, 54 undergraduate researchers were awarded SURF fellowships and 16 of those undergraduates are working with CLASS faculty.
The following is a list of the CLASS-affiliated scholars and the topics they are exploring:

  • Safa Ansari –Bayegan is examining capital sentencing schemes in Texas, paying particular attention to the question of future dangerousness.
    Faculty mentor: Alison Leland lecturer in Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost
  • Brittney Connelly is investigating the impact ephemeral items have on cultural consciousness through various photographic and performative mediums.
    Faculty mentor: Stephan Hillerbrand, assistant professor of photography and digital media in the School of Art
  • Rachel Farhi is analyzing factors that influence federal district court judges' decision making for federal crimes committed by corrupt public officials, prosecuted by the Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section.
    Faculty mentor: Lydia Tiede, assistant professor of judicial politics and law in the Department of Political Science.
  • Emilie Glass is investigating the impact of medical tourism on Panamanians from the viewpoint of local Panamanian medical professionals.
    Faculty mentor: Samantha Kwan, assistant professor of sociology and women’s studies in the Department of Sociology
  • Kimberley Harrison is exploring the role religion played within political thought of the founding times in the American colonies by studying political sermons and influential.
    Faculty mentor: Liberal Studies Program Director Thomas Behr
  • Shannon Harrison is investigating the acquisition of fricatives by bilingual Spanish-English-speaking hearing impaired children who use listening devices.
    Faculty mentor: Ferenc Bunta, assistant professor of speech and hearing science in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
  • Catrina Kim is researching the nature of civic virtue through ancient accounts of the Spartan regime and its citizens.
    Faculty mentor: Susan Collins, associate professor of ethics, Ancient thought and political theory in the Department of Political Science.
  • Kim Catrina doing research at the library
  • Chelby King is examining the original influences, national context, and long-term legacy of curator Dr. Jermayne MacAgy’s exhibition methods.
    Faculty mentor: Sandra Zalman, assistant professor of art history in the School of Art
  • Lauren Lovings is researching Teotihuacan masks and implementing new tool to evaluate and understand visual culture of Teotihuacan based on formal analysis.
    Faculty mentors: Honors College faculty member Dan Price and Rex Koontz, associate professor of art history in the School of Art
  • Shon Mandragon is investigating limitations of information transfer from a level of brief visual storage to a more durable level available for higher processing.
    Faculty mentor: Bruno Breitmeyer, professor and director of the Psychology Department’s Visual Cognition Lab Developmental Psychology
  • Prof. Breitmeyer and Shon infront of computer at a desk
  • Joshua Paek is analyzing the effects of a perturbation training system on adults in order to improve the walking stability of humans.
    Faculty mentor: Jian Liu, assistant professor of biomechanics in the Department of Health and Human Performance
  • Luke Patterson is discovering connections between Romantic thought on the imagination's role in self-creation and the works of Carl Jung.
    Faculty mentor: Jim Pipkin, professor of British literature, Romanticism and life writing in the Department of English
  • Iman Sahnoune is partnering with the Texas Obesity Research Center to develop a methodology for academic-community partnerships used to combat the obesity epidemic.
    Faculty mentor: Rebecca Lee, associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance and founding director of the Texas Obesity Research Center
  • Jonathan Sanford is analyzing LGBT Irish literature to explore psychological and cultural similarities between LGBT Irish and American communities.
    Faculty mentors: Robert Cremins, novelist and Human Situation instructor in the Honors College, and Margot Backus, associate professor of British and Irish literature and gender and sexuality studies in the Department of English
  • Andrew Sapp is investigating Ancient Sparta’s educational theory through a comparative analysis of Xenophon’s historical and fictional works.
    Faculty mentor: Susan Collins, associate professor of ethics, Ancient thought and political theory in the Department of Political Science.