Research has always been a big part of the undergraduate experience at Caltech. Today, it is one of the main reasons why students choose to come to Caltech. Nearly 90% of all students participate in at least one research project before they graduate. Since 1979, SURF has served as the primary way for students to get involved in the research enterprise. There are over 7,000 SURF alumni who have conducted over 8,300 research projects!
SURF and undergraduate research at Caltech rely upon the involvement and generosity of our mentors, alumni, parents, and friends. Thank you for your support and we hope that you will continue to invest in our students. Watch the SURF Thank you video here.
In 2021, each SURF student will receive an award of $6,620 for the ten-week summer period, a total budget of over $2 million. Most of the funds are raised annually from a variety of sources including gifts from individuals; foundations and corporations; faculty grants and other Institute sources; and NASA funds (for students working with mentors at JPL).
The Student-Faculty Programs Office, in partnership with the Advancement Office, raises funds to support Caltech SURF students. Typically mentors pay half the award, and funds raised from private external sources—individuals, corporations and foundations, and the endowment—are used as matching funds.
Every gift helps support students' research and summer enrichment activities.
Individuals or groups may establish an endowment for $125,000 to support one student annually in perpetuity and may be named as the donor designates. There are several ways to establish endowments—they may be paid in full at creation, funded in installments over a period of three to five years, or specified in the donor's estate plans.
Endowment donors receive special benefits. Each year a student will be selected to bear the endowment name, and the contributor will receive a letter introducing the student and describing the project. If they choose, donors may have the opportunity to meet the students supported by their gifts, and they often receive letters of appreciation from "their" students. Donors are invited to attend SURF Seminar Day to hear the student's final oral presentation. The Student-Faculty Programs Office notifies endowment contributors when students they have supported win special recognitions or publish papers. Endowment contributors can be proud of the investment they have made in the future of Caltech's bright and talented students, and they gain the personal satisfaction from playing an important part in the formation of young people, many of whom will make significant contributions to the nation and the world.
For information about establishing a SURF endowment, contact Candace Rypisi, Director, Student-Faculty Programs, 626.395.2886.
Please join us for any of our annual events:
We'd love to have you involved!