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Frequently Asked Questions

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Translational Neurobiology Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to apply, do you have to be enrolled as a Virginia Tech student?

No, you do not need to be a Virginia Tech student. The Institute’s neuroSURF program will support both Virginia Tech students and students from other U.S. colleges and universities.

When is the application due?

Application packets for neuroSURF undergraduates are due in full by February 1.

How do I select a mentor?

Within the application, you will select three potential mentors from the Faculty Research Areas page of the website.  Once accepted into the program you will work with the primary contact of neuroSURF to match to a specific mentor and a lab. This will occur prior to the start of the neuroSURF program.

What does a completed application package include? Where do I submit my transcripts and recommendation letters?

A completed application package includes general information about the applicant, three short essays describing your participation experience in independent research, why you are interested in translational neurobiology, and what you hope to gain from participating in the neuroSURF program and how it might contribute to your career, an up-to-date unofficial transcript and GPA (16MB maximum file upload), and a recommendation letter / faculty letter of support from a faculty member at your current institution, or a previous faculty mentor (16MB maximum file upload). The recommendation letter may be uploaded to the application or emailed directly to Dr. Alexandria Pilot Chambers at

Am I required to have health insurance in order to participate in this program?

Yes, all neuroSURF students must have health insurance.

What are the program dates?

The neuroSURF undergraduate dates for 2024 are Monday, May 20 – Friday, July 26.

When can I anticipate hearing from neuroSURF if I have been admitted into the program?

Application packets for neuroSURF undergraduates are due in full by February 1. You will be notified if selected for the program in March. If accepted into the program, you will have one week to accept or decline.

Is there a minimum GPA I must have in order to apply to the neuroSURF program?

A: Yes, you must have a GPA of at least 3.0 or higher (will consider a lower GPA due to extenuating circumstances), and must have completed a course in introductory biology, chemistry, physics, psychology or neuroscience.

Where can I see a list of the program’s activities?

A list of the program’s activities can be found under on the Overview and Curriculum page of the neuroSURF website.

I am not a U.S. Citizen or a U.S. permanent resident.  Can I still apply?

No. Unfortunately, you must be a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. to apply.

I am not a member of an underrepresented minority group.  Can I still apply?

Yes, you may still apply.

Who should write a recommendation letter for me?

A faculty member at your current institution that knows you well and can speak to your potential for a career in a science-related field. This can be a faculty member that has previously mentored you in their laboratory or has taught you in a course.

How are neuroSURF participants chosen?

The neuroSURF steering committee will select applicants based on their GPA, letter of recommendation, and commitment to a career in science. Students need not to be Virginia Tech students to apply.

Who can I contact for more information regarding housing during the neuroSURF program?

You may contact Dr. Alexandria Pilot Chambers,

Is there an orientation session prior to the neuroSURF program beginning?

Yes, there will be orientation sessions and general instruction during the first few days of the program.

Is there an application fee to apply?

No, there is not an application fee to apply.

I am interested in more than one research area provided on your website.  What should I do?

Great! So are we! An objective of this program is to expose students to many areas of neurobiology research. However, you will have to select and match to a single mentor and laboratory. Once accepted into the program, you will work with the director to accomplish this.