Sustaining Educational Excellence

SURF Program

The LO.V.E. Fund

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) offers undergraduates the chance to explore clinical and basic science research in laboratories in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The primary goal is to provide students with a foundation for making career choices in the biomedical sciences. Students have the opportunity to work with one of more than 700 faculty members at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, many of whom have active research programs that cover all areas of pediatric medicine, including the study of developmental biology, congenital disorders, genetic diseases, cancer, cardiology, neurology and immunology.

In addition to hands-on laboratory experience, students participate in various academic and social activities with students from other summer programs at the University of Cincinnati. The SURF Program includes two scientific writing classes, an ethics in research seminar, an introduction to bioinformatics and a career day. At the end of the summer, students present their research in a poster session, and a lecture is presented by a distinguished keynote speaker. 

Selection for a participation in the SURF Program is highly competitive and the number of positions available each year is limited as each research laboratory at CCHMC must fund their SURF position from their own budgets.  The Olivia V. Erhardt Memorial Fund for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows will expand participation to highly qualified MHS seniors or graduates who might not otherwise have access to the program. 

SURF Program Eligibility

  • Students who will be undergraduate freshman, sophomores, juniors or seniors in the next Fall term (with a 3.0 or better GPA) are eligible to apply to the SURF Program.
  • Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents and have an interest in a career in biomedical research or medicine.
  • Criteria for selection include academic record, answers to essay questions and interest in obtaining research experience.
  • Applicants are encouraged to specify their areas of research interest and / or specific mentors they wish to work with. This will allow us to better match students with appropriate mentors.

How To Apply

Complete the online application for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program. (Click the button in the sidebar to access.)

Please note that, along with your personal information, the online application will ask you to provide the following items:

  1. Essay questions: Describe your career goals and motivation for wanting to obtain research experience. Be sure to include the area(s) of research interest or the faculty member with whom you would like to work with during the program.
  2. Resume: Include a current copy of your resume.
  3. References: One letter of recommendation is required.
  4. Grade Reports: Will be requested for completion of the online application.

Important Note!  To be eligible for funding through the LO.V.E. Fund applicants must also email Amanda Leszczuk at the Mariemont High School and Sherry Thornton at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to identify themselves as Mariemont High School students or alumni and ensure their application is flagged for consideration.






The name “The LO.V.E. Fund” was inspired by a button designed in memory of Olivia by a Columbia University friend.

Apply SURF
The LO.V.E. Fund button

Olivia at Columbia University

Olivia at Columbia University


Olivia presenting her SURF research.


Olivia Erhardt