Undergraduate Research

VMI Center for Undergraduate Research

The mission of the VMI Center for Undergraduate Research (VCUR) is to promote and facilitate faculty-mentored undergraduate research and foster the development of a culture of undergraduate research at VMI. VCUR operates on the premise that some of the most enduring, meaningful academic experiences of college students come through opportunities to be mentored one-on-one by faculty outside the classroom, while also believing in the merit of research and other inquiry-based experiences within a more traditional classroom setting. Programs include an annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held on Post; the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute; cadet travel grants to present at professional meetings or to conduct research in the field; and funding for cadet academic year research. For more information, contact the Director for Undergraduate Research, 600 level Preston Library.

Our Team

Col. Scott Frein, Ph.D.
Director, VMI Center for Undergraduate Research
412 Carroll Hall
540-464-7097 | freinst@vmi.edu

Lt. Col. Karen M. Bliss, Ph.D.
VCUR Programs Coordinator
428 Mallory Hall
540-464-7337 | blisskm@vmi.edu

Ms. Bernadette O'Neill
Administrative Assistant
615 Preston Library
540-464-7031 | oneillbc@vmi.edu 


Maj. Paul Ackerman ’93 explains the watering system on the CPTF green roof to Maria Vargas ’22 and Dr. Tanjina Afrin.—VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.

Maj. Paul Ackerman '93 explains the watering system on the CPTF green roof to Maria Vargas '22 and Dr. Tanjina Afrin.

 

Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI)

The Summer Undergraduate Research Institute is a program where the cadet, as the principal investigator, conducts research directly with a faculty mentor.  Cadets engage in in-depth research with their faculty mentor for either a 5-week or a 10-week experience earning a stipend as well as course credit. SURI has sponsored guest speakers, library instruction, and skill development sessions such as writing a project proposal, adding research to a resume, and how to write a research abstract.

Cadets can find the "SURI Proposal Form" and copy of "SURI Agreement" on the VCUR Portal [requires VMI log-in credentials].

VCUR on the Faculty Portal [requires VMI log-in credentials]

 

Bethany King ’18 presents her poster on the Rat Line caloric study during the undergraduate research symposium April 18.

Bethany King '18 presents her poster on the Rat Line caloric study during the undergraduate research symposium.

 

Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS)

The URS is an opportunity for all VMI cadets to present their research findings from the SURI experience or individual courses such as Capstone or Honors classes. The Symposium usually happens during the spring semester. The is scheduled for Monday, April 11, 2022.

Cadets can find the "Abstract Submission Form" on the VCUR Portal [requires VMI log-in credentials].

 

Clay Penney '19 and Col. James Squire travel to Highland County to test their rocket prototype.

Clay Penney '19 and Col. James Squire travel to Highland County to test their rocket prototype.

 

Research Resources

VCUR offers research supply funding, made available through the generosity of the VMIRL Wetmore Fund and the Jackson-Hope Fund. Interested cadets must submit a Research Supply Funding application, along with a letter of support from their faculty mentor to seek awards up to $300.

Cadets can find the "Research Supply Application" on the VCUR Portal [requires VMI log-in credentials].

 

A students stands with a Zimbabwean man holding two certificates

Cameron McNeil ’20 poses for a photo with Capt. S.M. Mavengere, who served in the Rhodesian and then the Zimbabwean Army. (Photo courtesy of Cadet McNeil)

 

Travel Resources

VCUR offers financial assistance for cadet travel to conduct research or to present research findings at conferences. It is VCUR's policy to fund a maximum of two nights of lodging and three days per diem at standard in state and out-of-state rates for a maximum of 3 travel days for domestic travel (up to $1,000). For international travel, VCUR may fund up to three nights of lodging and four days per diem, but not more than $1,200. Partial funding of requests may also be granted and the cadet can seek funds from other sources, such as departmental funds.

Cadet Travel Application [requires VMI log-in credentials]

 

2021-22 Conference Opportunities for Research Presentation include:

  • The 23rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS) will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2021, at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Registration deadline is 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, September 30, 2021.
  • The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2022 @home on April 4-8, 2022 will offer a virtual conference for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate research. Registration opens November 15, 2021. Abstract submission deadline is November 18, 2021. For more details, please visit the event website.
  • The VMI Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) will be held on Monday, April 11, 2022. The URS is an opportunity for all VMI cadets to present their research findings from their SURI experience or courses such as Capstone or Honors.

 


Learn more about how VCUR can further your studies and enhance your experiences at VMI in testimonials from past program participants.

 

Cadets who provided research testimonials