Undergraduate Research Opportunities at Fisher

Get curious and grow your ideas, Fisher! New grant-funded opportunities will support paid undergraduate research during the academic year. Or, spend the summer engaging in a research experience. Multiple opportunities are available!

Undergraduate students can dive deep into a discipline or topic through engaging in the high-impact practice of student research (AAC&U). Guided by faculty mentors, students gain workforce readiness skills such as communication, critical thinking, and teamwork. Participating in a research project can set students apart from other candidates in graduate school and job applications.

In addition to opportunities to engage in research for academic credit overseen by departments and programs, we offer a competitive summer program for undergraduate students at St. John Fisher University to get involved in faculty-mentored research projects in a variety of disciplines and multidisciplinary collaborations. Explore the summer research opportunities and new grant-funded projects to determine which is the right fit for you to get involved or extend your research experience. 

Looking for summer research outside of Fisher? Check out the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates search site, the CUR Arts & Humanities list, Pathways to Science for STEM students, or speak with your professors for more ideas.

Explore Opportunities

Summer Research Opportunities & Application Instructions for All Summer Research Opportunities

We offer a competitive summer program for undergraduate students at St. John Fisher University to get involved in faculty-mentored research projects in a variety of disciplines and multidisciplinary collaborations. Explore the Summer Fellows Research Program which allows for the most creativity in designing projects or explore the special projects listed to determine which is the right fit for you to get involved or extend your research experience. The full 10-week program begins June 4 and ends August 13.

Expectations

Summer Fellows students will:
  • Engage in an intensive summer research experience mentored by a full-time Fisher faculty member
  • Practice goal-setting and critical self-reflection through research
  • Communicate research findings to peers and the broader community of scholars on/off the Fisher campus (poster printing fee is covered by this award)
Mentors will:
  • Intellectually engage the next generation of scholars in their discipline
  • Extend their scholarship and research, or mentor in a related area of expertise
  • Be supported (e.g. stipend, mentoring support) by the Center for Student Research & Creative Work

Eligibility

  • Current rising sophomore - rising senior undergraduate who will be continuing their study as a full-time Fisher student in the fall semester following the summer fellowship
  • Any major
  • GPA in Good Standing (at least 2.0)
  • Faculty can mentor a maximum of 2 Summer Fellows students
  • Past Summer Fellows awardees are ineligible (except for the Presidential Research Fellows special project, if available) and are encouraged to explore other opportunities with help from the Center for Student Research & Creative Work.

Additional Program Details

  • Student researchers and mentors will attend a required kick-off orientation meeting at the start of the program.
  • There will be a series of "Coffee Talks" - informal gatherings where we will share our successes and challenges and engage in professional development. Also, students will receive support on resume building and mentors will be supported in articulating their work with students into their CVs and evaluation narratives.
  • The Center also provides support for responsible conduct of research training, opportunities for publishing in undergraduate research journals, and a variety of other opportunities related to undergraduate research.
  • EvaluateUR will be used to facilitate the mentor-student relationship and to provide necessary program evaluation data
  • Students will be required to present their research at our Fisher Showcase held each spring.

Support Options

Options for Student Support (students and mentors decide and justify):

  • Tuition waiver (for 1-3 credits; 1 credit = 35 hours total for the 10 weeks) OR summer stipend of up to $5,250 (depending on current minimum wage and the number of hours per week for 10 weeks). 
  • Most students request a stipend for 15-20 hours per week.

Request for Supplemental Project Support (justification required):

  • Up to $450 for research supplies or project-related expenses (requests for travel support to conferences cannot be included here but instead can be made using the form under Travel Support)

News and Special Projects

Housing is available on-campus for summer research students. Visit the summer housing page for more information.

You can propose your project in consultation with a faculty mentor OR choose from one of the special projects accessible on the main summer research page. Special projects are updated in the spring semester each year.

Application Process

Open early to mid-March - April 7.

Students
  1. Consult with potential faculty mentors. Your summer research project should be designed in collaboration with a faculty mentor unless you are applying under a detailed special program where the project is already determined.
  2. Complete the online Summer Fellows Research Program Student Application.
  3. Submit the materials described below (saved as a single PDF file labeled "Student Last Name_2024_SummerFellows") to email studentresearch@sjf.edu
    • With your mentor, craft the following:
      • Required: 1-page summary geared toward a generally educated audience, relatively free of disciplinary jargon, describing the research project and outcomes expected. You should include the title of your project, an introduction or background paragraph, your research question or project aim(s), proposed methodology, and a final paragraph placing your work in context with the field (think big picture).
      • Recommended: 1- page, in addition to the written summary, that outlines your timeline and work goals. We understand that research should be very flexible, but demonstrating your understanding of your project and its feasibility in the 10-week program is helpful to reviewers.
    • 1-2 page student personal statement (12 pt font, 1.5 line spacing, normal margins) using the following prompt:
      • Describe two goals you have for yourself through your work as a potential Summer Fellow and identify how working to achieve these goals will help to prepare you for your future.
    • A statement of your support request – choose ONE below and provide justification. Please be sure to consult with your mentor to ensure your request is appropriate for your proposed project. (NOT required for those applying under a special project)
      • Request for a tuition waiver and number of credits up to a 3-credit maximum (keep in mind that a 1 credit hour experience requires 35 hours total over the 10 weeks)
      • Request for a stipend of up to $5,250 maximum (based on minimum wage; requires 35 hours per week for 10 weeks). You can also request a reduced stipend and calculate per hour ($15 paid per hour for summer 2024).
  4. Finally, request a statement of support from either a professor you have had in past or current coursework in the discipline of the proposed research or your current academic advisor. Your research mentor should not complete this form unless you are applying to be a Presidential Research Fellow. This support should be submitted via the online Student Applicant Support form.
Mentors

Mentors need to prepare the project budget and justification for both the 1) budget and 2) number of student hours per week to be spent working on the project. This should be submitted via the online Summer Fellows Faculty Mentor Information form.

Application Deadline

All application components are due by April 7 at midnight.

Questions?

Email Center Director Dr. Kristin Picardo (kpicardo@sjf.edu) or stop by her office, Kearney 321.

Lavery Library, Special Collections

Student Research Fellow Opportunities

  • Up to 3 students will be awarded stipends to investigate issues using primary sources from the Special Collections at Lavery Library. Students in any major can propose work under this special project.
    • General Applicants (1 student):  Mentors can be from any department as long as the project uses at least one item from the General Special Collections at Lavery Library as a source.  
    • Radio History Applicants (1-2 students):  Mentors can be from any department as long as the project uses at least one item from the Radio History Collection at Lavery Library as a source.  
    • Students will earn a stipend of $15.00/hour for 10 hours/week over the 10 weeks. This work can be done remotely.  
  • Funding for this special project has been made available by Lavery Library and the MacMillan Radio Fund.

Mentors and Mentees can contact Special Collections Librarian Michelle Price, mprice@sjf.edu, with any questions about collection availability. To apply, see application instructions on the main summer research page.

Lavery Library actively participates in the research and teaching of the Fisher community by providing a responsive, collegial team committed to connecting people and ideas worldwide. In a welcoming environment, the Library innovatively guides discovery for a lifetime of informed decision-making.

Housed at Lavery Library are the Special Collections. The focus of the collection is social conflict and discovery. The collection encompasses items from 1829-1961, but concentrates on the years 1865-1914. Geographically, the collection focuses on the Rochester Region and New York State.

General Special Collection Content & Notable Figures

https://www.sjf.edu/library/archives/special-collections/ 

  • Anti-Slavery & Abolitionist Newspapers
  • Haudenosaunee
  • Frederick Douglass
  • George P. Decker
  • Harriet Tubman
  • The Grand Army of the Republic
  • Bookplates, Local Diaries, Postcards
  • Chief Levi General
  • Monsignor Edward Byrne

Radio History Collection

The Rochester Radio History Collection is an exception to the General Collection Development Policy. Geographically, the collection focuses on the Rochester Region and has no chronological limits.  A sampling of the collection, https://www.sjf.edu/library/archives/special-collections/radio-history/. Additional photographs, memorabilia, and recordings are available.  

Research topics are not limited to Radio and could include any discipline that could incorporate the primary materials from this collection.  For example, interviews with Inez Quinn from WHAM radio for research on women in media, or transcripts from the Italian shows on radio station WSAY for research on Italian American Communities in Rochester.

Radiation and Impact on Human Health

  • Up to 2 students will be awarded stipends and research supply funds to investigate radiation medicine-related projects. Students in any major can propose work under this special project.
  • Mentors can be from any department as long as the project focuses on how radiation impacts human health
  • Funding for this special project has been made available by Fisher alum Dr. Timothy Kinsella and the University Radiation Medicine Foundation.

To apply, see application instructions on the main summer research page.

EXHALE, the Caregiver Initiative

St. John Fisher University has been awarded a sub-grant in partnership with both Lifespan and the Southwest Area Neighborhood Association Inc. (S.W.A.N Inc. at Montgomery Center) to expand the capacity of respite services in Monroe County.  The team will leverage the expertise and resources of our organizations to develop a multi-pronged, person-centered, respite option for caregivers of older adults.  Specifically, our focus will start in the southwest area neighborhood at S.W.A.N. with the goal to replicate this program elsewhere.

Funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and managed by The Philanthropic Initiative, the 2022 EXHALE - The Family Caregiver Initiative, funds innovative collaborative projects that are re-imagining and increasing respite opportunities for family caregivers of older adults. Respite, a period of rest or relief, can play a key role in reinforcing caregiver well-being and effectiveness, and improved caregiver well-being can be linked to better health, social-emotional outcomes, and lower costs of care for family caregivers and older adults they care for. Simply knowing respite services are available can lower caregiver stress by 70 percent.1 

To learn more about EXHALE visit: https://tpi.org/exhale-the-family-caregiver-initiative/

1Reference: ArchAngels 2019-2120 Caregiver Intensity Research, archangels.me 

A key aspect of the initiative is enhancing student learning and community-engaged experiential learning with hands-on respite opportunities across academic disciplines, to include undergraduate research and program evaluation, along with developing a structured volunteer program that will help address workforce shortages. The project will result in the creation of a toolkit based on the student volunteer model with the intent of replicating the program elsewhere.

Student Research Fellow Opportunity:

Up to 1 rising junior or rising senior student who has successfully completed or is currently enrolled in coursework in the Social Sciences; i.e. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Gerontology, Public Health. Coursework in Research Methods or Statistics is a plus. Demonstrated experience working with older adults is a plus and may also be considered in lieu of Social Sciences coursework.

Preferably, the student will have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged. The program will provide a chance for students to learn about research, program development, implementation, data collection, analysis and the human services and aging fields. Co-creation of a toolkit to be delivered by the end of the grant period (year 2025). Possible co-authorship of other publications in Social Science journals.

Student researchers will have the opportunity to:

  • Engage in a 10 week summer research experience at Fisher starting summer 2024. Students will earn a stipend of $15/hour and will be expected to work on-campus and remotely with Dr. Rodriguez-Galan up to 35 hours/week over the 10 weeks. 
    • On-site at Respite Location (SWAN) will be required, weekly
  • Become trained in Respite Care and Institutional Review Board training for students
  • Literature Review and Observations

To apply, see application instructions on the main summer research page and submit a one-page statement of purpose outlining your skills and interests relating to this opportunity. Submit to studentresearch@sjf.edu along with the other required components.

1-2 page student statement (12 pt font, 1.5 line spacing, normal margins) using the following prompt:

Describe two goals you have for yourself as a potential Summer Research Fellow specific to the EXHALE project and identify how working to achieve these goals will help to prepare you for your future.

Chemistry Research funded by the NSF

Student Research Opportunity in Chemistry with Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko

Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko (Dr. I.), Associate Professor of Chemistry, has been funded by the National Science Foundation for his project titled “Mapping Catalytic Sites on Alkali Promoted Anatase Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)” which will involve a truly enriching student research component. You can read the Fisher News release to learn more!

The subject of the study is in the area of organic reactions on metal oxide surfaces at the cross-section of analytical, physical, and organic chemistry. Students are expected to learn modern methods of surface analysis including electron microscopy, x-ray powder diffraction, and photo electron spectroscopy at University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and will be engaged at Fisher in the research activity.

Ideal Partner

Up to 3 sophomore or junior students who have successfully completed General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry (may be currently enrolled in Organic Chemistry), and who, preferably, hold an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged. The program will provide a chance for students to co-author a publication in highly cited journals and it will mostly benefit those students who are going into a graduate school in chemistry, physics, biology or medical sciences.

Student Research Activities

  • Engage in a 10-week summer research experience at Fisher after June 1, 2023. Students will earn a stipend of $14.20/hour and will be expected to work on-campus with Dr. I. and other students for 35 hours/week over the 10 weeks.
  • Gain informal training in the lab at Fisher that may lead to academic credit open in spring 2023 to begin to prepare students.

Interested students should contact Dr. I. at aignatchenko@sjf.edu for more information on how to apply.

Fisher does not discriminate against applicants or employees in hiring, promotion, termination or the terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sex, perceived sex, gender identity, gender expression, the status of being transgender, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, marital status, military status, veteran status, predisposing genetic, characteristics or genetic information, arrest or conviction record, status as a victim of domestic violence, or any other characteristic protected by law.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1955139. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Questions?

Email Center Director Dr. Kristin Picardo (kpicardo@sjf.edu) or stop by her office, Kearney 321. You can also request a Zoom meeting through email!

Past Projects

Summer 2023 Student Research Projects

Interested in seeing what our 2023 Summer Fellows were up to? Check out the variety of projects!

Student Researcher Major Mentor Project Title Notes

Gianna Giglio

Media and Communications & Minor in Film and Television Studies

Dr. Todd Sodano, Media and Communications

Revisions of the “Toddcasts”

Gianna is a rising senior Media and Communications major with a minor in Film and Television studies. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Chloe Wu

Business and Legal Studies

Jill Swiencicki, Associate Professor and interim chair, English department

Understanding and Responding to the Persistent Cultural Narrative that ‘women are becoming over-educated’

 

 

Chloe is a rising senior majoring in business management and minoring in legal studies. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program

Claire Consadine

Psychology

Dr. Sara Goodman, Psychology

Awareness and Use of Metacognition in College Instructors

Claire is a rising senior psychology major. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Michael Viggiani

Chemistry, minor in Physics

Dr. Bradley Kraft, Chemistry

Synthesis, Characterization, Reactions, and Dynamic Equilibria in Organosilicon Complexes of 8-hydroxyquinoline N-oxide

Michael is a rising senior chemistry major with a physics minor. His research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Megan McMichael

Biology, minor in Chemistry

Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko, Chemistry

Exploring methods for the synthesis of TPMS building blocks

Megan is a rising junior biology major with a chemistry minor. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Veronica Duell

Biology, minor in Chemistry and psychology

Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko, Chemistry

Synthesis of TPMS building blocks by the Heck reaction intramolecular cyclization

Veronica is a rising junior biology major with a chemistry minor. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Erik Herbert

major in pharmaceutical studies

Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko, Chemistry

Synthesis of TPMS building blocks by trimerization of methyl ketones

Erik is a rising sophomore with a major in pharmaceutical studies. His research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Paige Denman

Chemistry

Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko, Chemistry

Mapping of acid-base catalytic sites on anatase TiO2 surface

Paige is a rising junior chemistry major with a minor in computer sciences. Her research is supported by NSF grant.

Chiebuliem (Bobby) Emeto

major in pharmaceutical studies

Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko, Chemistry

Kinetics of carboxylic acid enolization on TiO2 catalysts

Bobby is starting 2023/2024 school year in the Wegmans school of pharmacy. His research is supported by NSF grant.

Charly Campanella

Biology

Dr. Zachary Murphy

Investigating the Role of TET2 in Erythropoiesis with CRISPR/Cas9

Charly is a rising senior biology major with minors in chemistry and psychology. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Anthony Moses

Biochemistry

Dr. Callahan

The Exploration of CDAN-1’s Relationship with CDA-1 Utilizing CRISPR Cas9

Anthony is a rising senior biochemistry major. His research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program

Amber Blaakman

Biochemistry

Dr. Kevin Callahan,

Biochemistry

Mutant Malate Dehydrogenase Kinetics and Substrate Specificity Analysis

Amber is a rising senior biochemistry major. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Dominic Tabechian

Biology

Dr. Fernando Ontiveros-Llamas,

Biology

Using PET laminates to improve design in Point of Care Diagnostics

Dominic is a rising junior biology major. His research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program

Natalie Gantress

Biology

Dr. Zachary Murphy

Using CRISPR to Disrupt the Translation of CYP4F3 to Determine Its Role in Erythroid Biology

 

Natalie is a rising sophomore biology major. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Megan Reinke

Public Health

Dr. Rodriguez Galan

Sociology/ Public Health

Emily Colliss

Assistant Director, Institute for Civic and Community Engagement

Using research and thematic analysis from surveys to create a template for other respite care programs to be used in other cities and with other organizations.

Megan is a rising Junior Public Health major with Psychology and Management minors. Her research is supported by the EXHALE, A Caregiver Initiative grant with the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

Lauren Arena

Criminology & Criminal Justice

Dr. Gregory Drake & Dr. Eric Rodriguez-Whitney

Descriptive analysis of RPD’s Use of Force. Reviewing police body worn camera (BWC) footage.

Lauren is a rising sophomore Criminology and Criminal Justice Major. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Emily Frech

Athletic Performance w/ Physics Minor

Dr. Bob Enck, Physics

Exploring Correlations Between Metrics of the Countermovement Jump: Implications for Sports Science and Strength Training

Emily is a rising Junior Athletic Performance major with a Physics minor. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Regina Hilfiker

Nursing

Dr. Zachary Murphy, Biology

Investigating Risk Reduction for Developing Anemia Post Radiotherapy by Overexpressing BCL-XL.

Regina is a Junior Nursing major. Her research is supported by a grant from the University Radiation Medicine Foundation.

 

Allie Bruno

Biology

Dr. Kaitlin Bonner, Biology

Daphnia magna as a model organism for elucidating sub-lethal effects of common pesticides and parasites

Allie is a rising senior Biology major with minors in Chemistry and Spanish for the Health Professions. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Jade Greene

Biology

Dr. Daryl Hurd, Biology

 

Determination of the absence of par-1 gene expression in the touch receptor neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans

Jade is a rising senior majoring in biology with a chemistry minor and is pursuing dentistry. Her research is supported by the NSF S-STEM grant.

Riley Chappell

Criminology & Criminal Justice

Dr. Gregory Drake

Analysis of officer wellness programs, and creation of a catalog to offer new ideas

His research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

George Kalkounis

Biology

Dr. Daryl Hurd

Creating a completing par-1 sequencing map of forward and reverse primers

His research is supported by the NSF S-STEM grant.

 

Jenna Vinoya

Public Health

Dr. Terence Gipson

The Effect of Institutional Power on Claimant Expectations, Settlements, The Settlement Process, And Police Legitimacy for Officer-Involved Incident Claims In Rochester, New York 

Jenna is a rising Senior. She is a Service Scholar and a part of the Honors Program. Her research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program.

Blessed Kusi

Public Health

Dr. Terence Gipson

“Leveraging Social Media to Improve the Emotional Resilience of Youth in Rochester”

Her research is supported, in part, by the C-STEP grant

Mira Rai

Biology

Dr. Daryl Hurd, Biology

Determining the role of par-1 gene expression in male tails of Caenorhabditis elegans.

Her research is supported by the NSF S-STEM grant.

 

Jackson Bishop

Biology

Dr. Jonathan Millen, Biology

The Role of Combining Anticancer Treatments with LS Compounds

Jackson is a rising senior biology major. His research is supported by the Summer Fellows Research Program

Aroma Dulal

Biology

Dr. Daryl Hurd, Biology

Role of PAR-1 protein in excretory canal cell of Caenorhabditis elegans

Her research is supported by the NSF S-STEM grant.

Caleb Mangan

Biology

Dr. Jonathan Millen, Biology

Treating lung cancer with chemotherapeutic enhancer

His research is supported, in part, by the C-STEP grant