ASPB’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program has long-been one of the most in-demand programs at ASPB for young researchers. This year, however, there was an enormous amount of interest from enthusiastic undergraduates interested in exploring plant biology! With so many more applications than we’ve seen in years past, ASPB is looking to the community to help fund even more SURFers in 2023 and beyond as part of the Centennial Challenge.
The SURF Experience
Past SURFers often credit SURF for helping them build confidence in both their research skills as well as their presentation and speaking skills, as part of the program requires SURFers to present their research a Plant Biology meeting.
“I applied to be an ASPB SURFer because the more I participated in undergraduate research, the more I was falling in love with research and plant biology,” said Annie Gilland, past SURFer. “I knew I wanted to do more than I could during the school year. I wanted to grow and develop as a researcher, but also as a lover of science.”
Even more, participants say the program fueled their love of research and was a catalyst for their development as a researcher.
“I applied to be an ASPB SURFer because I wanted an opportunity to connect more closely with the plant research community,” said Amanda Dee. “My participation as a SURFer has been fundamental to guiding my future research career!”
“Since I participated in SURF, I have continued work in the same lab at school and participated in additional plant biology research through the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s REU program,” said Harper Lowrey. “My experience as an ASPB SURFer taught me more about the ins and outs of research, guiding me through the entire research process from the original research questions to the final data presentation.”
Funding the Future
ASPB is prepared to fund 15 SURFers in 2023, but with so much demand, hopes to generate additional funds to support additional students this summer and in the future. This early-career support goes on to support the ASPB and broader plant science community.
“The SURF program catalyzed my career in plant biology, and I know it has motivated others to pursue careers in plant science,” said Laura Wayne, member and past chair of ASPB’s Women in Plant Biology Committee, two-time nominee for ASPB President-Elect, current member of ASPB’s Centennial Challenge Committee, and 2005 recipient of an ASPB SURF award. “I challenge all of you to be active in ASPB, pay it forward by mentoring others, and if you are financially able, give back by supporting the Centennial Challenge.”