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Learning Experiences

HNFE students in Peru

Opportunities outside the classroom

Undergraduate research programs:
The number of undergraduates participating in research has grown more than 50 percent over the last five years. While it is difficult to offer a research experience to every interested student, our faculty have made considerable efforts to work with undergraduates. Additionally, students may find opportunities in other departments.

  • The Translational Obesity Undergraduate Research Scholars (TOUR Scholars) Program, a research-intensive summer experience, prepares students for graduate and medical education in translational obesity research. TOUR Scholars are matched with a faculty mentor who is working across the obesity translational spectrum. Ten students are chosen and each will receive a $5,000 stipend. Dr. Deborah Good is the program director; please contact her with any questions (, 540-231-0430).
  • Fralin Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
    This ten week training program is designed to give motivated undergraduates the opportunity to engage in full time (approx. 40 hours/week) research and related professional development activities that mirror graduate training. The experience will help students determine if they want to pursue a career in research while they develop skills for graduate school. The program includes weekly research and professional development seminars, periodic social events, and a final symposium during which students will present their research. Students selected to participate will receive a $4,000 stipend.
  • Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program (MAOP) This program provides undergraduates from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to conduct research on campus and to educate participants about graduate education. Students from a wide variety of academic disciplines spend ten weeks during the summer working closely with a faculty mentor to design, conduct, and present a scholarly research presentation.

Individual learning experiences:

  • Field studies
    Field study sites are commonly local physical therapy centers, dental offices, free clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, Virginia Tech athletics, and physician offices. Students enroll for one to three credit hours, with each credit hour requiring 45 hours of contact.
  • Study abroad
    The lock-step nature of the HNFE undergraduate curriculum creates some level of difficulty for students wanting to study abroad. We recognize this problem, and we also recognize the benefit of international experiences; please contact Renee Eaton to learn about opportunties.