SURVE Research Program

SURVE Research students working in the classroom.At the beginning of the SURVE program, students work as a cohort and gain experience in a variety of techniques from multiple labs before choosing particular projects to focus on for the summer. At first, students work on guided projects under supervision of a professor as they learn the skills and strategies needed to succeed in laboratory research.  Over the course of the summer, students should become more independent on their projects and may even design and perform their own experiments, which should fit within the context of the program’s overarching goals. The SURVE research experience involves formation of the whole person as a scientist, not just in learning particular lab skills, but in learning to think, to analyze, to plan, and ultimately participate as a full member of a research team.

SURVE students are guided to think intentionally about the vocational role of the scientist, situated within the broader context of life, as a contributing member of society, and in light of the Gospel calling to serve others in charity. In the SURVE program at the University of Mary, students can explore the harmony and complementarity of faith and reason and the “integration of knowledge” described in Ex Corde Ecclesia within the Benedictine wisdom tradition. Students also have opportunities to practice the Benedictine motto of “ora et labora” (“pray and work”) through participation in communal prayer and daily Mass. Through assigned reading, discussions, interactions with visiting scholars, and participation in volunteer and science outreach activities, SURVE students broaden their perspectives to understand the vocation of the scientist in the wider social, ethical, and spiritual context.

SURVE student working in the lab.Community

SURVE students and faculty work together in a scientific community, starting with the opportunity for morning prayer at 7:30 followed by a brief group meeting to start the day. We gather again around lunchtime for a lecture or book discussion and a meal.  Students and faculty also have the opportunity to attend daily mass together. Fostering a sense of community and promoting interdisciplinary collaborations are a major goal of the SURVE program.


SURVE is a 15-week program, lasting from approximately early May through late August (if you have a special circumstance, or have general questions about flexible internship dates, please contact us.


Local UMary students may choose to live on- or off-campus.  If you are not already a UMary student, you may wish to live on-campus during the summer.


Many of our SURVE students also choose to take advantage of UMary’s Year-Round Campus (YRC) course offerings to get ahead in their coursework. We’ve found that students in the SURVE tend to be most successful if they take not more than one course per summer session; this allows plenty of time to remain committed to a lab project and make progress on research.