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SUNY Poly undergraduate research program has more than 40 students participating

By Eric Reinhardt


The undergraduate research program at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s (SUNY Poly) Albany and Utica campuses is underway and will continue through early August. Pictured (from left to right) are Lauren Endres, assistant professor of biology; Carolyn Rodak, assistant professor of civil engineering; and Elizabeth Haddad, a chemical engineering student from the University at Buffalo. Haddad is participating in the program in the visiting undergraduate research category. (Photo provided by SUNY Polytechnic Institute)

MARCY, N.Y. — SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) announced it has more than 40 students working with professors on research topics this summer at its Albany and Utica campuses.

The work is part of the SUNY Poly undergraduate research program (SURP), which provides “advanced” opportunities for students to participate in “wide-ranging” areas of research, the school said in a news release.

The program began May 28, as 30 faculty paired with undergraduate students to focus on topics ranging from green-building certification documentation to mathematical modeling of the blood flow of the eye’s retina.

“I think the students who are taking part in this inspiring program certainly develop an independence they wouldn’t necessarily have if they hadn’t gone through this experience,” Carolyn Rodak, assistant professor of civil engineering at SUNY Poly, said. “They also acquire expertise in the area that they’re working [in], which is really great for preparing them for in-demand careers that will serve them well.”

SURP was limited to SUNY Poly students in 2018 but has expanded to include external students this summer. The school said 10 external students are participating in the program at SUNY Poly’s Albany campus and five external students were accepted to SURP at the Utica campus.

 “The idea to advertise externally this year was to spread the good news about who we are, allowing these students to engage in cutting-edge research that can provide a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning,” Robert Brainard, professor of nanoscience at SUNY Poly, said. Brainard serves on the SURP committee with Rodak.

The 10-week program will conclude Aug. 2, with a poster session on Aug. 1 in Utica and Aug. 2 in Albany. Both poster sessions are open to the public and will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the school said.

Research categories

All students are paid a stipend, either through SUNY Poly or grants obtained through faculty. The students’ research falls into three different categories.

The categories include scholarship research, which is open only to SUNY Poly students who are participating in SURP for the first time.

The students could also be involved in inter-campus research, an option available for students who participated in one SURP program and are interested in another. If the students have demonstrated excellent research capabilities, they may be accepted to participate in another SURP program at a different campus than the one where they completed their first internship. This program is selective as students are typically only allowed to participate in one SURP program.

The third category is visiting undergraduate research, which is open to non-SUNY Poly students, the school said.

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