Four cadets made their way down to the Southern Conference Undergraduate Research Forum to showcase their research efforts. The conference was held at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Oct. 13–14, 2023.
SURF provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to present their research projects via posters or oral presentations. Unlike other undergraduate research gatherings, SURF takes place in the fall, perfect for students such as cadets from VMI who spent their summer months immersed in research. At VMI, such research is conducted through the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute through the VMI Center for Undergraduate Research.
Presenting her SURI research about anxiety, family influence, and athletic status on college students, Cadet Caragh Osborne ’24 said the conference was worthwhile for her. “Not only was it a great opportunity to present my own research, but it was also interesting to see what is going on at other schools,” she said. “I was fascinated by all the other research conducted by our peers at different SoCon schools in a variety of fields.”
Cadet William Davidson ’24 gave an oral presentation on his SURI research titled “The Survival and Success of Communist Parties and their Successors in Post-Communist Countries.”
“SURF was a great experience, it really helped me to understand better my own research,” he said. “Also, it was great being able to interact with other students from other universities and being able to learn about subjects outside of my field.”
Cadet Anthony Cruz Fernandez-Grimes ’25 also shared his SURI research in poster format. He discussed his summer project involving the role of psychological capital and motivation to lead in predicting transformational leadership among VMI cadets.
“My trip to SURF was an amazing opportunity to learn what others are researching and share my research discoveries,” he said. “I learned that despite a vast difference in what another researcher was studying, there was still much to be learned that broadened my own understanding of my world. I would recommend going on this trip because of the opportunities that can be discovered that I was completely unaware of.”
Cadet Gabriella Handford ’24 attended her third SURF Conference of her cadetship. She did an oral presentation, sharing her research completed at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in Baltimore, Maryland, last summer. She described her project, titled “The HAIR Project” (Health Advocates in-Reach and Research), where both cortisone and fentanyl were extracted from hair samples for quantification.
Editor’s Note: Story originally published by Virginia Military Institute.
Bernadette O’Neill VMI Center for Undergraduate Research