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SURFing the Frontiers of Research


Cara Petitti '13 aspires to teach writing at the college level and become a published author one day. As part of her Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at the University of New Haven she honed her skills by critically examining the work of American writer Edith Wharton, specifically her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Age of Innocence."

"After studying her life I grew to admire her as a writer and a person," said Petitti, who conducted her research at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. "When I laid out the manuscript in front of me, I felt a really strong connection to the writing. I had never had that experience with a piece of literature before, and it was really exciting."

Petitti was one of 24 students who spent the summer pursuing applied research under the direct tutelage of a faculty member. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, based on proposals that students develop with advice from a faculty mentor. The SURF program is supported through a generous donation by Frank Carrubba '69 and his wife, Pat.

Colin Bassett '13, who studied the small fiddler crab, Uca Pugnax, added, "As an undergraduate, I was able to get a glimpse into what real research is like and how demanding it really is."
SURF presentation photo

Another UNH student, Bryant Neumann '13, spent the summer examining the effects of the drug Exemestance on breast cancer cell cultures. "Looking at the cells for the first time under a microscope was an experience I will never forget."  

Neumann will continue his research with Michael Rossi, associate professor of biology and environmental science. After attending graduate school, Neumann hopes to pursue a career conducting cancer research.

Each student in the SURF program receives a $2,500 stipend, nine weeks of summer housing on campus and a $700 allowance for research supplies and library resources. 

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