Physics Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Undergraduate physics majors have the opportunity and are encouraged to engage in research throughout their time at TU. It is common for the best-prepared students to have started their research experience by their second year at TU. Students are highly encouraged to engage in research during the summer. Opportunities abound at TU, other universities, national laboratories, and in industry.
Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Physics at TU
The Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Physics (SURPP) is a program sponsored by the physics department for undergraduate students and high school students. Parameswar Hari, Associate Professor of Physics, coordinates the SURPP each summer.
The first two students to participate in SURPP, which began in 2005, went on to intern at NASA and both became National Science Foundation fellows. Today, both are enrolled in prestigious graduate programs.
SURPP participants may be high school juniors or seniors who want to get a leg up on their college careers. SURPP high school students are matched with current undergraduate students working on TURC summer internships or other research projects. Those undergraduate students, in turn, work with a faculty mentor, who supervises their work.
“In this way, our undergraduate students get a chance to mentor someone else,” Hari said. “This helps them to understand the challenges of teaching physics and probably gain some perspective of what their own professors go through.”
Students in SURRP present their findings at a variety of meetings and conferences.
“It is exciting to see freshmen doing presentations on research they’ve designed and completed,” Hari said. “They aren’t just searching in textbooks for answers. They are actually creating answers themselves, and that is a skill they will use the rest of their lives.”