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

Maj. Molly Kent
Director, VMI Center for Undergraduate Research
301 D Maury Brooke Hall
540-464-7567 | kentmh@vmi.edu

Dr. Tanjina Afrin
Assistant Director, VMI Center for Undergraduate Research
602 Nichols Engineering Hall
540-464-7412 | afrint@vmi.edu 

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

A student doing summer research at VMI, a military college in Virginia

Brian Tavenner ’25, an electrical and computer engineering major, researches precision in rockets.


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 scholarship and a room and board stipend. 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.

Make your plans to do summer research and submit a SURI proposal in our Spring Call.The submission deadline is Feb. 21, 2024 

Want to learn more about SURI? Come to the SURI Information sessions that will be held in Preston Library, Room 617 from 7:45 pm – 9 pm. on Jan. 30 and Feb. 7.

  • Jan. 30, 2024 – Information about, and tips for completing, the SURI proposal will be provided. 
  • Feb. 7, 2024 - A SURI Cadet panel will share their summer 2023 experiences and answer questions about the program. 

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] 


Female student at VMI presents her undergraduate research.



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 URS is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

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


Lawrence Porter ’24 sets up equipment on the Chessie Trail.

Lawrence Porter ’24 sets up equipment to run tests on the serviceability of a footbridge on the Chessie Trail.


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 to seek awards up to $350. Upon receipt of a funding award, the cadet (or the cadet’s department) is responsible for purchasing the supplies and submitting documentation for reimbursement.

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


Student conducting research in Israel with the Department of Biology at VMI, a military college in Virginia

Chris Kushner ’24 poses for a photo during his research trip in Tel Aviv.


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. Upon receipt of a travel award, all travel approvals, travel-related arrangements, and paperwork are the responsibility of the cadet (and/or the cadet’s mentor)

Cadet Travel Application [requires VMI log-in credentials]


2023-24 Conference Opportunities for Research Presentation include:

  • The SoCon Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) is an annual research conference designed to bring together undergraduate students presenting their research projects via posters or oral presentations. SURF will take place on October 13-14, 2023, at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. 
  • The Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS) is being held at Randolph College on Saturday, November 4, 2023. MARCUS is devoted exclusively to the scholarship and research activities of undergraduate students. Students from Virginia and surrounding states are invited to present scholarly research from within all academic disciplines. Students may choose to participate in an oral session or a poster session. For details, please visit the event website.
  • The VMI Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) will be held on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. 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.
  • NCUR Abstract Submissions Are Now Open! The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will offer an in-person conference again this year, April 8-10, 2024, at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. Please note that the submission window closes on December 8, 2023. Abstract decisions will be released on January 11, 2024. For details, please visit the event website.


Megaphone icon

Do you need a research poster printed for an upcoming conference or presentation? The Center for Undergraduate Research can help!

VCUR Poster Printing Request Instructions



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


Students perform research during summer session experiences at VMI, a military college in Virginia.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders