Undergraduate Research Opportunities-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

SURG Grants

The Small Undergraduate Research Grant (SURG) program awards grants to undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon for research in all fields of study. Any undergraduate student in a degree-granting program who is in good academic standing and is enrolled during the semester of their grant (fall or spring) or the semester before their grant (summer) is eligible. Learn more at the SURG Website.

SURF Fellowships

The Summer Research Fellowship program awards $3,500 to undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon for 8-10 FULL-TIME weeks of summer research in any field of study. Any undergraduate student in good academic standing who is enrolled for the fall semester after their fellowship is eligible. Learn more at the SURF Website.

Undergraduate Presentation Awards

Undergraduate Presentation Awards are awarded to Carnegie Mellon undergraduate students or groups who are presenting their research at academic conferences. The award can be used to fund conference registration, travel, lodging, and food expenses. All undergraduate students who are in a degree-granting program, are not on academic discipline or probation, and have been accepted for presentation at an academic conference are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, please visit the presentation awards website.

Meeting of the Minds: Undergraduate Research Symposium

The Undergraduate Research Symposium, or the "Meeting of the Minds," is a university-wide celebration of undergraduate research. All Carnegie Mellon undergrads engaged in research and creative projects are encouraged to apply. Students can register for the special competitions to win cash prizes. Both invidiual students and groups are permitted to apply. Among the 2010 winners was English student Allison Seger, who won an award for artistic excellence. For more information about the symposium visit the "Meeting of the Minds" website.

Below is a list of 2009-2010 English student projects funded by the Undergraduate Research Office and presented at the 2010 Meeting of the Minds:

  • Allison Seger: "City of Bridges" (children's book about Pittsburgh)
  • Brian Burdulia: "Death of a Lover" (novella)
  • Francesca Halleman: "Funny Looking Kids: An Authobiography of Growing up with a Disabled Sister" (essay collection)
  • Aliesha Jones: "Journal of a 21 Year Old" (journal of her experiences during a four week trip to India)
  • Anthony Paletta: "Pilot and Teleplay Writing in Various Genres" (five different pilots and two sequential television episodes)
  • Ellen Wood and Wilkie Collins: "Sensational Women: Gender and Morality in Victorian Sensation Novels"
  • Daniel Archer: "The Making of Nytethorn" (novel)
  • Chris Franzi: "The Portrayal of Juvenile Delinquents in Films (1988-1997)"
  • Robert Perrone: "The Rhetoric of the Financial Crisis: Examining 2007-2009 Federal Open Market Committee Statements"
  • Kristine McPherson (joint project with 3 other students): "What's in Your Future? An Analysis of Post-Graduation Plans of Carnegie Mellon Undergraduate Class of 2010"
  • Elliot Smith: "Where the Homeless Make Love: A Collection of Poetry"

H&SS Senior Honors Thesis Program

The H&SS Senior Honors Program was founded in 1982 and offers the college's most accomplished and promising seniors the opportunity to work independently (with the close guidance of a faculty member) in the design and completion of a year-long scholarly or creative project. Eligibility is based on the following criteria:

  1. Student must have a major in H&SS (primary or additional) or be in the BHA program.
  2. Student must be officially classified as a senior by having completed a minimum of 238 units before beginning the program.
  3. Student must have a cumulative QPA of at least 3.25 and at least 3.50 in the H&SS major associated with the proposed project.
  4. Student must find and secure approval from a faculty member willing to supervise the project and serve in the role as thesis advisor.
For more information on the program, please visit the H&SS Advising website.

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For more information on these opportunities and other undergraduate student funding options, please visit Carnegie Mellon's Undegraduate Research Office website.

2010 SURF Award Winner

Kelly Bescherer Kelly Bescherer

"Rooms of Their Own: Autonomous Feminist Squats of the 1980s"

Experimentation in the realm of daily life had already been a major battle ground for New Left German groups of the 1960s. This paper traces the post-1968 expansion of the idea of autonomy, as it developed through the countercultures of the women's and the squatter's movements. Both movements defined themselves with the term "autonomous," an idea which for them implied a desire to take control of their own lives by throwing off all forces which threatened their ability for self-rule.