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Colleran-Weaver Research Fellowships provide funding opportunities for undergraduate students from all disciplines to participate in independent research and creative projects in collaboration with faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

John Carroll alumni Jeanne Colleran ('76), a Professor Emeritus of English and former Provost and College of Arts & Sciences Dean at JCU, and Richard Weaver, Esq. ('77) established this fund to provide experiential learning opportunities for students of their alma mater.

Types of grants:

Three SURF fellowships are specially designated funds for Pre-Health, the Coburn Chair, and Physics. Part of those funds can be allocated for student travel to present at a conference or, in the Coburn case, to collect data.


  1. Summer fellowships are open to rising juniors & seniors and occasionally to other students under special circumstances. Juniors and seniors are eligible for type 2 projects.
  2. The student must work with a CAS faculty mentor. Mentors must be full-time faculty. Students must have the mentor’s approval before submitting an application.
    1. Type 1/SURF applications are due the Friday of the first week of February. 
    2. Type 2/Semester applications are due the Friday of the first week of April for Fall projects or the Friday of the first week of November for Spring projects.
    3. Travel applications are due the semester previous to the scheduled travel time, the Friday of the first week of April for Fall or Summer travel, and the Friday of the first week of November for Spring travel.
  3. Students must submit an application form to be eligible (see links above or below under "Applications").

Selection Process:

  1. For type 1 and 2 grants: The Associate Dean for Sciences will convene the chairs of the departments with student applicants to review the applications and decide the winners. If multiple students select the same mentor, that mentor needs to be consulted as to her/his preference. Only one student per mentor will receive support (except in the case of group projects). Preference will be given to students and mentors who have not received support in the previous year.
  2. For travel grants: The chairs of the departments with student applicants will meet to review the applications and decide the winners. Students must attempt to find alternative sources of funding.
  3. For SURF applications: students will be notified the first week of March. They will be informed they have either received the award, are on a waiting list, or are not accepted for that summer. Waiting list should be cleared by the last week of March. For type 2 projects: students will be notified the last week of April for Fall projects and the last week of November for Spring projects. Travel awards will be announced the last week of April for Summer or Fall travel and the last week of November for Spring travel.


  • Biology students have conducted fieldwork in Costa Rica and Chilé during the summer.
  • Chemistry students have investigated proteins, DNA, cellular damage from oxidants, and the creation of new molecules.
  • Computer Science students have partnered with Cleveland Clinic radiologists to develop software that allows doctors to read X-rays remotely.
  • English and History students have published articles in prestigious academic journals and literary magazines.
  • Neuroscience students have won first place for research papers in 24 out of the last 25 years at the Eastern Colleges Science Conference.
  • Physics and Engineering Physics students do research with JCU faculty in the summer leading to presentations at regional and national conferences, and co-authorship on journal publications.
  • Psychology students have presented research findings at conferences such as the Midwestern Psychological Association’s Meeting in Chicago and the Ohio Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference.
  • Sociology students participate in a poverty and solidarity program in the Cleveland area.

Each spring, the John Carroll community gathers for the Celebration of Scholarship to recognize the outstanding student and faculty research that takes place throughout the year.

Funding for student research is available in many academic departments in the College of Arts & Sciences - explore different fields to find more!

students in research lab

Student Research

Learn more about the JCU students who have conducted research in the classroom and in the field during their time on campus. 

Blake Dixon '18 traveled to Colombia where he worked with Dr. James Watling and Colombian colleagues to collect data on thermal biology of amphibians and reptiles along an elevational gradient in the eastern slope of the Andes mountains. At several survey sites between 250 and 1300m, they sampled animals in rainforest and pasture, collecting data on body temperatures in situ. They transported animals to an ambient lab where to obtain additional data on thermal preferences and tolerance for high temperatures. In contrast with several previous studies, strong evidence was found that thermal traits vary a great deal within species, even among samples that are very close geographically.

student working - SURF fellowship

Emily Ellis '19 performed research in Dr. Chrystal Bruce’s lab to understand how potential medications work to prevent certain types of cancer. Emily created models of a protein that is implicated in the development of cancer. She then studied the importance of molecular shape in determining the binding energy between potential therapeutic medications and the proteins they target.

photo of Emily Ellis

Katie Puhalla ’18 worked in the Vanderzalm lab as a Colleran-Weaver SURF student. Her summer work was a continuation of an earlier project investigating neural development in the genetic model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, more commonly known as the fruit fly. Her project focused on identifying members of a signaling pathway involved in restricting growth of the neuromuscular junction, where nerves and muscles meet. The molecules involved in the development of this structure are akin to the molecules involved in the development of connections in the human central nervous system, so what she learns in the fruit fly will be applicable to other organisms as well.

photo of Katie Puhalla doing research at internship site

Rebecca Reicholf '19 worked in the Drenovsky lab on two projects: inundation responses in the aquatic invasive weeds, Ludwigia hexapetala and Ludwigia peploides and resource responses in California chaparral shrubs. For the first project, Becca traveled to the Exotic Invasive Weed lab at the University of California, Davis, where the experiment took place. While there, she helped to make physiological measurements and harvest plants.

Becca measuring plant water potential with a pressure bomb

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