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Clark Science Center

Home of the Sciences and Engineering at Smith College

Director's Office

Summer SURF! Information Page


Summer News

Welcome, SURF students! Every year, SURF participants offer creative suggestions for various events to take place during the summer months and then lend their assistance in organizing them. The program has funding available to support such events. Please email surf@smith.edu to share both your ideas and energy for summer activities. You can also contact us if you want to send out an email to all 160+ SURF participants. Some examples of past years’ events include:

  • Summer BBQ
  • Invited speakers
  • Faculty presentation or panel discussion
  • Weekly lunch meetings
  • Excursions
  • Movie night, theatre night
  • Other ideas?

Lab Safety Seminars

Each SURF student working with hazardous substances is required to attend one SURF lab safety seminar at the start of her work. Multiple sessions will be offered by Margaret Rakas, Manager of Inventory and Regulatory Affairs. SURF students should plan to attend a session either just prior to the start of their research or, at the very least, within the first week of work.

If You Get Hurt...!

Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Please be aware of the following protocol in the event of a mishap.

  1. Smith College Health Services is closed for medical treatment during the summer
  2. For medical emergencies on campus dial 800 from a campus phone (413-585-2490 from a cell phone); give your location and the nature of the emergency
  3. For off-campus medical emergencies dial 911
  4. If you have a lab-related injury or chemical exposure, dial 800 as soon as possible after receiving first aid (413-585-2490 from a cell); give your location and the nature of the emergency
  5. If you have an illness or injury that is NOT life-threatening and NOT work related (for example, you badly twisted an ankle while playing volleyball), go to the Emergency Room at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Public Safety is available to take you (x2490 on-campus or 413-585-2490 from a cell phone) but please understand there may be a wait if they are dealing with other more urgent issues. Public Safety does not provide transportation to local physicians' offices; taxi service may be found in the Yellow Pages or online.

Sigma Xi Grants in Aide of Research Program

The Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program
The National Sigma Xi branch provides grant opportunities for graduates and undergradutes doing summer reserach. Students use the funding to pay for travel expenses to and from a research site, or for purchase of non-standard laboratory equipment necessary to complete a specific research project.

Important Details for Summer Students at the Clark Science Center

Program Background, Application, Guidelines

Here are two other pages with information about summer research programs: Smith SURF! Application and Summer Research Opportunities Beyond Smith College.

Timeline for the SURF

February 17 - Application deadline*

March 14 - Announcement of awards (most applicants will hear before Spring Break).

May 9 - Deadline for return of Acceptance Form and Direct Deposit form

Late May/Early June - Scholarship is paid out

Early July -5 College Summer SURF! Event (Lab Crawl)

August 22 - Deadline for submittal of SURE survey. We will update the link to the 2014 survey early in the Summer of 2014.

August 22 - Deadline for submittal of Research Abstract (see below)

*For those students interested in pursuing summer research with Chemistry department faculty, please first complete the brief additional application here by noon (12:00pm EST) on Monday, February 3, 2014. The Chemistry department requires this additional application and uses it to best match students with faculty and opportunities.

Stipend Payments

The majority of students will receive their research stipends via Direct Deposit set up with Smith College (if needed, download a Direct Deposit Authorization form; it has to be submitted 2 weeks in advance). Otherwise, your stipend payment will be mailed to the address you listed on your application form. In the event that your campus box is no longer active, the check will be mailed to your last known home mailing address.


Foreign Residents

For non-US citizens or permanent residents, at the time of disbursement, Accounts Payable checks the status of any tax treaties between your country of tax residency and the US and processes the disbursement accordingly. In some cases, the college is required to withhold 14% of your scholarship and remit the withholding to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). The gross scholarship and withholding is reported on Form 1042-S to you, the IRS and your country of tax residency at the end of the calendar year for filing your US tax return. If you are unsure about tax processing or tax consequences, please consult with a tax advisor knowledgeable about regulation in the US and in your home country.


5-College Summer SURF! Event - The Lab Crawl

During the course of the summer, students enjoy the benefit of our college-rich locale by participating in a lab crawl. This event is jointly organized by the 5 Colleges and provides insight into others’ interests and research. SURF students are strongly encouraged to participate in this worthwhile event. Please let us know if you are interested in helping to organize this.


Research Abstract Submission

As part of the terms of your Fellowship, it is required that you submit an abstract at the end of the summer with your research results, nominally one page plus picture/diagram(s). The abstracts are collected in a booklet published every fall giving an overview of summer research activities at Smith College. This booklet receives a fairly broad distribution to agencies that provide funding for your fellowships, faculty members, prospective students and their families, and college administrators. Your abstract should follow standard journal format and include an introduction, methods, results, and discussion. The introduction and discussion should be used to indicate that your work was both a technical and scholarly endeavor. Please indicate in your abstract if you have had opportunity to present your research (e.g. to other students, external event or conference), if you have any plans to present your work, or if your work will continue into the 2013-14 academic year as a special studies or honors project. Your abstract should be reviewed by your advisor prior to submission, with the final copy being due by August 22, 2014.

You can find important formatting guidance in this Abstract Formatting Guide that includes a sample abstract. Please include a picture or diagram in your abstract, if at all possible. Submit your abstract (along with any photos or diagrams as separate files) by email to Daryl Jett in Ford 255 (djett@smith.edu).

  • It is acceptable to co-author an abstract if you have collaborated with another student on the same research project
  • Readers are greatly interested in what you learned as a result of your research and likely place less emphasis on what you did over the summer months.


SURE Survey

Over the summer there will be information here about completing the SURE III survey as required in your summer fellowship award. Completing this survey should take approximately 15 minutes and offers important feedback for institutions such as Smith College which value SURF-type research opportunities for students. We will update the link to the 2014 survey early in the Summer of 2014. The deadline for completing this component of SURF is August 24, 2014.


Awards or Recognition?

Have you received any awards or recognition related to your research or academic work? If so, please email us at surf@smith.edu a short description.
Please note: The funding organizations appreciate hearing about how you do in the future, too, so do keep us informed about any awards or recognition you might receive later. Don't forget to let us know when you receive that Nobel prize!


Presented or Published?

Have you presented your work in front of a group or traveled to academic events related to your summer research? Has your work been published? If so, please email us at surf@smith.edu a short description of any such event.



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