St. Mary’s City, MD- On July 2, St. Mary’s College of Maryland held its annual St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, which provides students opportunities to engage deeply in independent research, laboratory, and creative work across disciplines, under the guidance and with the expertise of faculty mentors. Assistant Professor of ChemistryTroy Townsend and Assistant Professor of Spanish Argelia González Hurtado served as co-directors for the program.

SURF is a selective eight-week annual summer program at St. Mary’s College, where students from intentionally varied disciplines engage in directed research or creative work. While working full-time on their projects, students also participate in workshops and group meetings to sharpen their professional skills.

The students who researched and presented during the fellowship, with their topics of research and mentors, are as follows:

  • Isaac Ekobo

“Black Humor: Race in French Television Comedy”

Mentor: George MacLeod, assistant professor of French

  • April Fraser

“Changing Hearts and Minds: Representation of Central American Immigrants in the Media”

Mentor: Argelia González Hurtado, assistant professor of Spanish

  • Will Capon

“Assessing the Efficacy of Peaceful Protest in Hong Kong”

Mentor: Charles Musgrove, professor of history

  • Emma Slyker

“Nature: Taking a Strong Hold on the Feelings of Humanity”

Mentor: Barrett Emerick, associate professor of philosophy

  • Jake Wellek

“Investigation of the Biochemical Detection and Effects of Cadmium on Chesapeake Bay Oysters”

Mentor: Shanen Sherrer, assistant professor of biochemistry

  • Tyson Johnson

“Effects of Reef Configuration on Current Velocity, Oxygen Concentration and Oyster Growth Rate”

Mentor: Cassie Gurbisz, assistant professor of environmental studies

  • Katie Riesner

“Ink-Jet printing of ITO and Au Nanoparticle Solutions to Produce Fully Functional Photovoltaic Cells”

Mentor: Troy Townsend, assistant professor of chemistry

  • Ja’Dell Webster

“Researching Past and Modern Day Segregation in Education”

Mentor: Janna Thompson, assistant professor of educational studies

  • Caleb Shankle

“Contextualizing Racial Justice Education in the United States”

Mentor: Charles Holden, professor of history

  • Jacinda Thomas

“Bias in Mental Health Based Legal Defenses”

Mentor: Chris Heckman, instructor

  • Merel Verhoeven

“An Exploration of the Effects of Methylphenidate on Anxiety-like Behavior in Adolescent Rodents”

Mentor: Gina Fernandez, assistant professor of psychology

  • Bella Moutoux

“The Role of Gender in Perceptions of Ghosting Acceptability”

Mentor: Gili Freedman, assistant professor of psychology

  • Eli Hill

“Metropolis Scrolling”

Mentor: Carrie Patterson, professor of art

SURF is made possible by generous support from the Office of the Provost and other internal funding at St. Mary’s College in addition to Dominion Energy Inc. A portion of the funds goes toward a stipend for the students, as well as room and board for the eight weeks.


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