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Pomona College Receives $25,000 Grant for Summer Undergraduate Research

Pomona College has received a $25,000 from the Kenneth T. And Eileen L. Norris Foundation for its 2010 Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Opportunities for undergraduate research are a hallmark of a Pomona College education.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) provides participants with up to $4,000 in financial support for four to 10 weeks of extended, focused research on independent projects with substantive faculty mentoring or working directly for a professor as a summer research assistant.

In summer 2009, student SURP projects include:

  • soil analysis of lead concentrations at Brackett Field;
  • changes of sea distribution of Xantu’s Murrelets since 1976;
  • comparison of the potential metabolic advantage of whole food versus processed foods and the implications for the growing trend of obesity in response to the Western diet;
  • using robots to introduce high school students to computing concepts;
  • a new way to build efficient nanocrystal solar cells using magic-sized PBSE nanocrystal growth to control size and photoluminescence in the NEAR-IR; and
  • development of selective inhibitors of the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase, which is essential in cell growth and replication and is a common target of chemotherapy.

“There is nothing quite like the excitement of doing original research,” says Pomona College President David Oxtoby, who is also an atmospheric chemist. “As in every field, extraordinary careers in the sciences do not just happen, they are cumulative, highly intentional, and, in many cases, they begin with summer undergraduate research.”

The Norris grant comes at a critical time at the conclusion of three major research grants and a reduced college operating budget, as applications to SURP continue to grow. The SURP is an extremely popular program and highly effective in providing students with the opportunity to acquire the skills and credentials necessary for admission to highly competitive graduate and professional schools.

Pomona College, founded in 1887, is located in Claremont, CA, approximately 35 miles east of the City of Los Angeles. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of student research and involvement opportunities.