Another exciting stride in our research progress is the continuation of undergraduate research opportunities through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Discoverybased learning within the SURF program, and within other undergraduate research programs, continues to enhance the diversity and quality of our students while expanding their worldview.
The key goals of these programs are to enhance the quality of the undergraduate learning experience, to encourage more students to seek graduate education in science and engineering, and to enhance the diversity of our graduate student body by providing research experience to undergraduates from Purdue and other participating universities.
Launched in 2003, and now in its fourth year, SURF continues to grow and expand in number and opportunities. In each of the first two years, about 50 Purdue undergraduates participated in the two-month program. In 2006, the program grew to 175 students from about 20 different colleges and universities. They were mentored by 115 faculty members and 140 graduate students. The students represented a wide range of majors with an average GPA of 3.4. We hope to continue an increase of 15 percent a year until participation reaches 450 students and to maintain a high level of participation among women and minorities.
The 2006 SURF program also provided the opportunity to promote global engineering at Purdue. The program included one SURF student who conducted research in Spain, one GEARE (Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education) student from India, and six IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) trainees from Austria, Croatia, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic. In addition to enhancing the diversity of the SURF student body, IAESTE provides a reciprocal opportunity for six Purdue students to seek internships abroad.
A first last year, the program established a partnership with the Edward Waters College in Florida, allowing six science or engineering students from Edward Waters to gain research skills and experience at Purdue during the summer. This partnership was supported by a grant from the U.S. Army Research Offi ce to Edward Waters and is anticipated to continue through 2007.
With support from Intel and DaimlerChrysler, undergraduate students at Purdue are able to expand their research experience into the fall and spring semesters in the SURF year-round program. This allows students to participate in research activities throughout their undergraduate years. As a result, they have an opportunity to make significant contributions to a research project and further enhance their research skills in preparation for graduate school and their professional careers.