Undergraduates Conduct Summer Research Through SURF Program

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More than twice as many undergraduate students at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business participated in this summer’s 2020 annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Over 30 students conducted research during the fellowship as they worked closely with 25 different faculty from various areas of expertise to complete 31 projects.

Undergraduates took advantage of this unique opportunity to investigate business challenges, researching a diverse number of subjects which included:

  • Financial redlining 
  • The impact of East Asian Culture on women in the workplace
  • Mass transit finance 
  • The effect of the trade war between the United States and China on the financial market. 

Those receiving the grant were awarded either $3,000 for a five-week research project or $6,000 for a 10-week research project that extended until the end of the summer. 

Senior Aluwet Deng (B’21) worked alongside Scott Taylor, professor and director of the African studies program, to research different microfinance initiatives and their historical position in South Sudan. 

“What I found the most beneficial from my work experience with my faculty mentor is the feedback I received on my recent findings,” said Deng. “Whether he was encouraging me to continue in the direction my research was going in or steer it back on track, this feedback helped me to stay focused as a researcher.”

Deng highlights the freedom she had to creatively and critically research her personal interests in a professional setting. SURF provides an ideal experience for those with unique interests not traditionally found in everyday internship opportunities. 

Sophomore Carlos Carcamo (B’23) researched the economic impact on multinational food and beverage companies that have undertaken initiatives to improve consumer health. He worked alongside Rebecca Hamilton, Michael and Robin Psaros Endowed Chair in Business Administration and marketing area coordinator, to gather annual reports and press releases from the selected companies with the goal of running a regression analysis. 

“Although this year’s program was in large part a virtual one, the communication I’ve had with my peers has provided me with great insight on how to conduct self-led research and use the resources available to form strong arguments and conclusions,” said Carcamo. “There were several times where I have contacted peers conducting research on topics totally different than mine, and they have been more than willing to lend a hand.”

The research fellows will complete a scholarly paper of 15 to 20 pages and five minute video recording of their findings before September. Their work will be presented in a variety of forums throughout the fall semester, including via email and Georgetown McDonough social media platforms.