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DOC SURF Program (Undergraduate Research)

The online application form for the 2017 SURF Fellowships is open.  Please CLICK HERE for the current application form and online submission.

2016 Sponsors:


The Division of Organic Chemistry annually awards Summer Undergraduate Research (SURF) Fellowships to outstanding undergraduate organic chemistry students attending colleges and universities in the United States. These competitive fellowships ($5,000) are awarded on the merits of students' research proposals, academic records, faculty recommendations and their passion for laboratory science. SURF fellowships will provide support for undergraduates in organic chemistry to carry out research at their respective colleges/universities in the summer between their junior and senior year. In addition, the program will provide financial support to enable recipients to visit an industrial campus in the fall for a dinner, award session, scientific talks, a tour of the campus and a poster session, where the results of the summer research investigations would be presented. Information on the program and application forms are available below.

Support ($5,000/fellowship) from companies and individuals for the ACS SURF Program is encouraged. Please contact to make an inquiry on how to support this rewarding program.

2016 DOC SURF Awardees at Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development, Eastern Point Road, Groton, CT on September 29, 2016.
From left to right: Tekenari Tienabeso (University of Oklahoma, sponsored by Pfizer), Shivansh Chawla (Cornell University, sponsored by Merck), Corinne Elliott (University of Kentucky, sponsored by Pfizer), Tyler Pabst (Youngstown State University, sponsored by Merck), Hannah Burdge (Towson University, sponsored by Merck), Chris Fritschi (Niagara University, sponsored by Pfizer), Anneliese Gest (Macalester College, sponsored by Pfizer), Evan Hurlow (University of Utah, sponsored by Merck), and Harrison Besser (Harvard University, sponsored by Pfizer). Photo credit: Dave Tusia / Tusia Photography

The 2016 DOC SURF Awardees

Student School Mentor Sponsor
Harrison Besser Harvard University Prof. Eric Jacobsen Pfizer
Hannah Burdge Towson University Prof. Keith Reber Merck
Shivansh Chawla Cornell University Prof. Yimon Aye Merck
Corrine Elliott University of Kentucky Prof. Susan Odom Pfizer
Chris Fritschi Niagara University Prof. Luis Sanchez Pfizer
Anneliese Gest Macalester College Prof. Leah Witus Pfizer
Evan Hurlow University of Utah Prof. Jon Rainier Merck
Tyler Pabst Youngstown State University Prof. Douglas Genna Merck
Tekenari Tienabeso University of Oklahoma Prof. Indrajeet Sharma Pfizer

Previous DOC SURF Awardees

Selection Criteria:

Fellowship recipients will be selected by an Advisory Committee using the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated interest and talent of the student in organic chemistry
  • Merit and feasibility of the research project
  • Commitment of the faculty mentor to support the student in his/her work
  • Academic record, particularly in organic chemistry and related sciences.
  • Demonstrated importance of the award in facilitating the personal and career plans of the nominee.
  • A Faculty advisor may not have two awardees within a three year period

Nomination process:  Please CLICK HERE for the 2017 Forms and online application

The faculty mentor (who must be a member of the Organic Division) must submit the application using the online application form which will include uploading a single PDF file (named using the convention: StudentNominee'sLast Name_First Name-SURF.pdf     i.e. Smith_Jane-SURF.pdf)   consisting of the following items in the following order:

  1. The completed "Student Application Cover Sheet"
  2. A statement from the nominee describing the importance of this opportunity to his/her personal and career plans (typically 1-2 paragraphs). Indicate how a summer research project fits into your long-range plans. Provide any background about yourself and/or your personal or professional goals that you would like us to know.
  3. A description of the proposed research project, authored by the student in collaboration with the faculty mentor (typically 2-5 pages). Describe the project you propose to undertake next summer. Describe your background that has prepared you to do this work and your proposed methodology. Provide as much detail as possible.
  4. An unofficial transcript of the nominee and a list of courses to be taken during the rest of the current application year.
  5. The completed "Faculty Mentor Cover Sheet"
  6. A letter of recommendation from the faculty mentor on the qualifications of the nominee to carry out the project successfully.
  7. The completed "Department Chair/Head Cover Sheet"
  8. A brief letter from the Department Chair indicating that the student is a departmental nominee (there may be no more than 2 nominees per department, and no more than 1 nominee per research group) and that the department will provide the necessary equipment, space and administrative support to the project. In the event the faculty mentor is also the department chair, then the faculty member’s immediate supervisor should complete this form.

Student nominees should be U.S. citizens or permanent resident visa holders at the time of application. Applications from minorities are especially encouraged. This program targets current Juniors and they will be given preference. Seniors are not eligible for these fellowships. Applications are to be submitted by the Faculty Mentor who must be an Organic Division Member using the online form. Application Deadline is January 31, 2017. The student nominees are required to be members of the ACS and the Organic Division (their ACS number will be requested). Information on becoming a member of the Division can be found here. Please be sure the nominated students do not have fall travel/study commitments (i.e. study abroad) that conflict with the poster session, scheduled for September/October.

Applications submitted late, via mechanisms other than the online form, or out of order (as described above) will be disqualified. 

Announcement of the awards is typically made in March.

Questions regarding the program should be directed to