Kansas State University


Graduate School

Summer undergraduate research program prepares students for graduate school

On May 31, eight undergraduate students stepped foot on the K-State Manhattan campus for the first time to begin a summer long journey of conducting research through a program managed by the Graduate School called SUROP.

Back row starting on the left: LaQuan Johnson, Michaela Smith, Kara Nielsen, Sarah Seiwald, Ashley Michalski Front row starting on the left: Alejandra Valadez, Bre’Anna Wyche, Kristen Hylen

The Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (SUROP), first started in 1990, gives students a first-hand experience with the research process. This research experience is designed to help students prepare for the graduate school and other advanced study. Participation in the SUROP program provides a first-hand look at the process of research discovery.

Students participating in SUROP will spend nine weeks during the summer at Kansas State University working closely with faculty members as part of their research teams. Faculty members have on-going scholarly programs that continue through the summer. Students are expected to be engaged in learning about the research process and participate as a member of a research team. At the end of the nine-week period, students present the results of what they have learned from their research experience to their mentors, their research team, Graduate School team, and others.

2016 SUROP Students

  • Bre’Anna Wyche, Diagnostic Medicine, Hampton University
  • Kara Nielsen, Biology, Grinnell College
  • Alejandra Valadez, English, Northern Arizona University
  • Ashley Michalski, Anatomy & Physiology, Langston University
  • Michaela Smith, Biology, Xavier University of Louisiana
  • LaQuan Johnson, Biology, Langston University
  • Sarah Seiwald, Chemistry, Regis University
  • Kristen Hylen, Biology, Benedictine College

Participants will also attend weekly seminars to learn more about the graduate school experience and participate in networking events to learn more about research that other students are engaged in. Learn more about the SUROP program.

K-State Undergraduate Summer Programs

In addition to the Graduate School’s undergraduate research program, nine other summer research programs are available for undergraduate students. These programs provide an opportunity for undergraduates from diverse disciplines to work with a mentor on a research project or to join an existing research team. Besides being an opportunity to work with multi-cultural students from different colleges and universities, participants learn about the Graduate School experience.

Most of the programs include seminars and activities that provide students with professional development opportunities beyond their research experience.

Current programs include:

  • Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates
  • Earth, Wind, and Fire: Sustainable Energy for the 21st Century
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Changing Environments: Integrating Genomes to Biomes
  • KSRE Multicultural Summer Research Fellowship
  • Laser-matter Interactions at the Atomic and Nanoscales
  • McNair Scholars Program
  • Research Immersion: Pathways to STEM
  • Summer Academy in Sustainable Bioenergy
  • Summer Undergraduate Mathematics Research

Learn more about the individual programs.

Read more about a few of the 2016 SUROP students

Allie Valadez

Hometown: Glendale, AZ

Research that I will be working on: I’ll be working in the English department. I’m working with three professors on all their different projects like books and articles. I’m finding articles that could be helpful and discussing their ideas with them.

Why did I apply? I applied because a professor from my school told me about the opportunity and encouraged me to apply. I read about the different professors I might be working with and it seemed like a perfect match. Their classes and projects seemed to align perfectly with my interests and studies.

What I am looking forward to learning: I think that it will be interesting to learn about the different literature pieces my mentors are writing about and see how their analyses could be similar or different than mine. It’s always good to get different perspectives and interpretations, especially from these people who are experts in the field.

What I hope to take away from this Research Opportunity: I would like to take away better research methods. I don’t have much research experience, so I know I will learn a lot about how to properly use databases and annotate my sources.

Bre’Anna Wyche 

Hometown: Augusta, GA

Research that I will be working on: Working in the Veterinary Lab on cows and how to diagnose the different diseases.

Why did I apply?: Well, my friend told me about it and I applied, because I haven’t been able to do research until now and I wanted to see if I will enjoy it to think about as a possible career.

What I am looking forward to learning: I am looking forward to meet new people, learn new things, and take in the experience to help determine if I would like to do research one day.

What I hope to take away from this Research Opportunity: I hope to take in the opportunity of a lifetime by working with mentors and professors who want to help further my education.

Sarah Seiwald

Hometown: Denver, CO

Research that I will be working on: I will be working on Organic Chemistry Research at Kansas State University. More specifically I will be helping with work centered on catalysts that are synthesized to mimic naturally found catalysts.

Why did I Apply?: I applied to the SUROP program because I desire to be challenged in a rigorous academic and research setting.  I am fascinated by the goals of research and want to implement what I have learned in my courses while also being a part of the discovery process.

What I am looking forward to learning: For this summer, I look forward to the most to learning the techniques involved in complex reactions as well as problem solving.  I am excited to take the principles of my undergraduate classes and apply them to larger compounds and problems.

What I hope to take away from this Research Opportunity: From this opportunity, I hope to leave with increased confidence while working independently in the lab and practice applying my newly acquired skills to aid in fundamental research. It is truly an honor to partake in research that will add to the knowledge of organic chemistry and further its application in society. Secondly, I hope to leave with an increased sense of graduate school and the opportunities/ rigors that accompany it.

The Graduate School formed SUROP in 1990 for undergraduates from under-represented groups to gain experience in the research process.