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Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Open to Virginia Tech Students Only

May 20-July 26, 2024

Student Deadline: February 26, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.
Faculty Endorsement Deadline: February 29, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.

The Fralin SURF program is a 10-week training program designed to give motivated Virginia Tech undergraduates the opportunity to engage in full-time (~40 hrs/week) research and related professional development activities that mirror graduate training.

The goal is to offer students experiences that will help them determine if they want to pursue a career in research while they develop skills for graduate school. The program includes weekly research and professional development seminars, periodic social events, and a final symposium during which students will present their research.

15 students will be selected to participate in this training program during summer 2024 and will receive a $5,350 stipend.

Program Eligibility and Expectations

All current Virginia Tech undergraduates considering a career in life sciences research are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to rising second and third year undergraduates, students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and students who have yet to engage in a full-time summer research experience.

SURF fellows must commit at least 40 hrs/wk to the training program, therefore fellows are not permitted to enroll in summer classes, participate in MCAT prep courses, engage in activities for pay, or engage in other activities that may interfere with program activities.

SURF fellows commit to participating in the full 10-week program. Students may not take vacation during this training period.

Students must have the commitment of a faculty mentor (conducting research in a life science or related field) before they apply to this program. Students without a previous mentor or seeking a new mentor may start their search by reviewing the Fralin Research webpage and Fralin-affiliated faculty pages, to learn about faculty and their current projects. Students are invited to contact these faculty members to inquire about research availability for the SURF program this summer. Please note that students are NOT limited to working exclusively with Fralin-affiliated faculty; students may conduct life science or related research with any faculty member at Virginia Tech. For additional guidance, students may also contact the Office of Undergraduate Research Ambassadors or seek assistance from OUR staff by emailing

Application Instructions

The Fralin SURF application may be accessed through the graduate school application portal.  

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Log in with your VT credentials. 
  2. This will bring you to the “Virginia Tech Graduate School Application Management” portal… you are in the right place!
  3. Click “Start New Application”.
  4. From the drop-down menu, Select “2024 Summer Undergraduate Research Application” 
  5. From the secondary drop-down menu, select “Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program (SURF)”. 
  6. Click “Create Application”.
  7. To access the application, click “Open Application”.

The application portal will allow you to save your work and return to the application at a later time, however, all components of the application must be completed before the deadline for you to be considered for the program. A complete application must include:

Complete e-application form. Information you will be asked to provide includes:

  • Personal and academic information
  • Faculty mentor information
  • Summer research project title and description
  • Description of any prior research experience(s)- please note that you do NOT need prior research experience to be considered for this program
  • Personal statements addressing the following prompts:
    • Why are you interested in the Fralin SURF Program?
    • What three strengths can you bring to the Fralin SURF program and your specific research project?
    • What are your top three areas for improvement that you think the SURF program can help you improve and describe how?
    • How do you think the Fralin SURF program might contribute to your career plans and related decisions?

Submission of an unofficial transcript.

Letter of support from your faculty mentor. This will be automatically requested once you submit your application

Note: This program is funded by the Fralin Life Sciences Institute in Blacksburg and NOT the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke. Information and application forms for the Roanoke programs are available elsewhere.

Applicants will be notified about the decisions in March 2023. Please email Keri Swaby with questions.

2017 Fralin SURF Cohort