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Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship (FURF)

Open to Virginia Tech Students Only

The Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship program is a competitive award program that is open to all Virginia Tech undergraduates with a goal of increasing diversity in research. Fifteen (15) fellowships of $1,350 will be awarded annually to individual students demonstrating academic capability and a strong interest in undergraduate research, to enable them to conduct research with a Virginia Tech faculty mentor over the course of one academic year. This program is open to students from any discipline, who have already identified a faculty research mentor. Students from underrepresented groups (including, but not limited to, ethnic minorities, first generation college students, students from low income areas, students with disabilities, LGBTQ, etc.) are strongly encouraged to apply.

Questions about the program or application procedures should be directed to Keri Swaby.

To prepare your application

  • Get a pdf or word doc of your unofficial transcript (this can be accessed through Save it in the name format: LastName_FirstName.pdf (or '.doc')
  • Ask your faculty mentor to submit a brief statement in support of your application, indicating that they are willing to guide your research. This should be submitted via email to
  • Collect the following information (so you can then cut-and-paste into the online form):
    • How many course credits you will have completed by the start of the 2021 Fall semester
    • Your faculty mentor's first and last name, email address, and home department
    • Title of your proposed project
    • Be able to describe your proposed research project and why this area of research is of interest to you (max 250 words)
    • A list of your extracurricular and student leadership activities
    • IF you have previous research experience(s), list it/them and briefly describe your project(s) and experience(s)
    • OR if you do not have research experience, or are unsure what counts as research experience, be prepared to indicate that, and to describe what sort of research experience you hope to gain
    • LASTLY, be prepared to describe what you hope to gain from participation in this fellowship and how it might contribute to your career plans and related decisions

Program Eligibility

  • Students from any academic discipline are eligible for this award.
  • Preference will be given to sophomores and juniors.
  • Students are not required to have previous research experience.
  • Students must have the commitment of a faculty mentor before they apply for an award. The faculty member must provide a written statement of their willingness to guide the student’s research project.
  • Research projects are not restricted to the student’s primary area of study (major). Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects are welcomed.
  • Students from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply including, but not limited to: ethnic minorities, first generation college students, students from low income areas, students with disabilities.
  • Students may only participate in the FURF program once and receive research funding during one academic year.

Program Expectations

  • Students are required to conduct 12 hours of research per week with a Virginia Tech faculty member during the fall and spring semesters of one academic year.
  • Students will receive a fellowship of $500 at the end of each semester of research, for the duration of one academic year. 
  • Students are required to meet with Dr. Dennis Dean, Associate Director of the Fralin Life Science Institute, at least once during the research year, likely at a small group luncheon.
  • Students are required to prepare a brief synopsis of research progress at the end of each semester. This must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research (via email to by the last day of classes each semester.
  • Students are expected to present their research results at the end of the research year.
  • Students will conduct research with a faculty member who has already agreed to mentor them, working on an ongoing or new project of mutual agreement between student and mentor. The student does not need to design a unique project.
  • Student who is awarded a fellowship may not register for undergraduate research credit for the same research project during the award term (one academic year).


Email Keri Swaby, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at Virginia Tech