Stober Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs)

How to apply

The UBC Okanagan Stober Undergraduate Research Fellowships have been established as a catalyst for excellence in health-related research and undergraduate student training within the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. The purpose of these awards is to introduce highly-talented international, national or local undergraduate students to research opportunities and the merits of pursuing a future MSc in our School. Thus, students with at least 12 months left in their program are strongly encouraged to apply. Students finishing their degree and already committed to a research Master’s program will also be considered but will not be considered a priority.

The School of Health and Exercise Sciences is committed to the truth and reconciliation process and calls to action for decolonization. Equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and anti-oppression are essential to academic excellence and research pursuit, and are core values of our School. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We strongly encourage applications from students who identify as a member of an equity-owed group and/or students who have an interest in research that focuses on advancing our understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion in health research.

• Award is for the spring/summer months (i.e., May-August) apart from applicants from international institutions in the southern hemisphere who may use the award over the fall/winter months (in Canada).
• Awardees are expected to come to UBC-O during the duration of the award to experience UBC-O, the laboratory they are in and interact with other students in the SURF program.
• Awards cannot be deferred to another year.
• Awardees complete a minimum of 12 weeks and up to 16 weeks of research training on a health-related research project. Awards will vary between ~$7,250 and ~$9,500, depending on the number of weeks.
• Up to $1,500 is available to help offset travel expenses associated with relocating to UBC Okanagan (e.g., airfare, mileage, meals while travelling) and/or research expenses directly related to the project.

– Please note: the total award for salary, travel and research expenses cannot exceed $10,000.

• Successfully completed at least 2 years of an undergraduate degree.
• Awardees are expected to commit to full-time research for the duration of the project. Awardees will not be permitted to take more than 3 credits of coursework or other full-time employment during the award.
• Applicants cannot hold a SURF and another research award (e.g., NSERC USRA, IURA) simultaneously or be a previous recipient of a SURF award.

• Academic and extracurricular track record (30%).
• Novelty and feasibility of research proposed (30%).
• Demonstration of interpersonal skills or experience beneficial for research pursuit (40%).
• Please explain throughout the application how equity, diversity, and inclusion have been considered (e.g., in your previous lived, volunteer or community experiences, proposed research, outreach activities, training that you have undertaken etc.).
• Preference will be given to applications external to UBCO (especially international students), but internal applications are also encouraged.

Step 1: Contact an eligible HES faculty member (Dr. Phil Ainslie, Dr. Brian Dalton, Dr. Neil Eves, Dr. Glen Foster, Dr. Heather Gainforth, Dr. Jennifer Jakobi, Dr. Mary Jung, Dr. Jonathan Little, Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis, Dr. Ali McManus, Dr. Chris McNeil, Dr. Robert Shave, Dr. Paul van Donkelaar) to discuss your interest in applying for the award. To learn more about the research interests of each faculty member, visit the HES Contact & People webpage and our meet the team videos.

Step 2: Once you have a commitment from a faculty member to support your application, work with the prospective supervisor to complete the application, which includes the Stober application form, a 2-page CV, and your academic transcripts.

Step 3: Email your complete application to our undergraduate office (

Deadline to apply: Friday, 23rd February 2024.


Meet the 2021 SURF Trainees

Amanda Holyk

Conducting a behavioural research study investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR).

“I believe my project will provide important evidence to help optimize in-person and online pulmonary rehabilitation programs across Canada. Utilizing the results of my study, I would like to create Canadian guidelines on how to ideally implement online pulmonary rehabilitation. My overall goal is to help improve the health-related quality of life for people with chronic respiratory disease(s).”

Learn more

Conan Shing

Investigating the factors influencing periodic breathing during sleep at high altitudes. 

“My particular project is important as it fills a gap in current literature regarding measures of sleep apnea. Current measures of sleep apnea, like the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), are a crude and unrefined measure of sleep apnea inaccurately representing its duration and severity. Through this project, I hope to find relationships between AHI and several other variables to discover a more accurate and informative way to present sleep apnea severity.”

Learn more

Jenna Sim

Developing cultural safety and inclusivity training modules in Small Steps for Big Changes diabetes prevention program.

“This project is important because it will test the efficacy and acceptability of a cultural safety and inclusivity training module for coaches of Small Steps for Big Changes (SSBC), a diabetes prevention program. By testing this training module we will determine if it can effectively train SSBC coaches to deliver safe, equitable, and un-biased diabetes prevention care.”

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kate Crosby

Working to understand the social and physical needs of older adults to optimize active and healthy aging at home.

“This research will further our understanding of how to optimize active and healthy aging at home by increasing our understanding of the social and physical supports for aging. My project will benefit older adults by providing information which will maintain a level of independence and stay in the comfort of their own home.”

Learn more

Meet the 2022 SURF Trainees


Investigating how a novel nutritional drink that contains ketones influences perceptions of hunger in people with type 2 diabetes.

“This project will inform our basic understanding of what influences hunger and also determine if a ketone drink could aid in weight loss or weight loss maintenance in people with type 2 diabetes. I then hope to take these insights and develop ways to deliver them through knowledge translation, especially for non-English speaking communities. My overall goal is to help implement strategies to improve the health-related quality of life for individuals, particularly in specific populations where chronic diseases are more prevalent.”



Investigating how upper-limb support affects balance control.

“I aspire to become a researcher in human motor control. My area of interest during this award is the impact of upper-limb support on balance control. Research indicates that both vestibular and visual systems decline with age — thus, peripheral somatosensory input in balance control is of interest when aiming to reduce the fall risk of older adults.”



Evaluating the reliability and validity of the Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire for people with disabilities, including people with spinal cord injury. 

“This project aligns with my interest in physical activity and its application to people with disabilities. It is an outstanding opportunity for me to gain knowledge and hands-on experience working with people who have physical and other types of disabilities, especially in terms of physical activity and its implications for these populations. It is important that physical activity guidelines are developed with and for a specific population so that those individuals can actually benefit from them.”



Investigating the effects of acute intermittent hypercapnic hypoxia (IHH) on cardiovascular function.

“This study is important to investigate the cardiovascular consequences commonly seen in OSA populations. Through better understanding of how IHH effects cardiac contractility, we can perhaps offer therapeutic strategies to reduce risk of cardiovascular comorbidities such as hypertension and myocardial infarction.”



Investigating how Integrated Knowledge Translation guiding principles apply to partnered research in the area of intellectual disability.

“With the support of the Stober Foundation, I plan to investigate the question: ‘How, if at all, do the IKT guiding principles apply to partnered research in the area of intellectual disability?’ After I finish school, I hope to pursue my love of learning as a researcher who is engaged in my local community”



Exploring efficacy and acceptability of demographic data collection in Small Steps for Big Changes diabetes prevention program. 

“My project focuses on testing the efficacy and acceptability of the demographics questionnaire provided to clients of the community-based type 2 diabetes (T2D) prevention program, Small Steps for Big Changes (SSBC). With better collection of demographic information, SSBC can understand and serve the community. For example, the data will help us to understand what populations SSBC are not reaching, which may guide the development of recruitment or intervention components to make SSBC accessible to all people who need diabetes prevention care.”



Examining the recruitment strategies and processes aimed at improving diversity within Small Steps for Big Change.

“My project is important because by understanding how referral and recruitment strategies are received in the community, we can work to improve our reach and the diversity of underrepresented groups. This will contribute to the Rural Expansion Project of SSBC where the program will be implemented in several rural and remote communities throughout British Columbia. This is important to me because equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the program as well as in my personal, and academic life.”


Meet the 2023 SURF Trainees

Alexander Ciok

Investigating the role of sex-related differences in force output control in older adults.

“The project I am currently undertaking is important as it addresses the literature gap on sex-specific mechanisms contributing to the larger functional decline experienced by older females. Although older females have longer lifespans, their ability to perform activities of daily living declines at a greater rate than males and this contributed to decreased quality of life. ”


Erin Mayne

Investigating childhood trauma experienced in Indigenous, Métis, and First Nations Peoples in Canada, focusing on the increased risk of type two diabetes

“My project is of importance as the BC government has previously reported the inequitable healthcare received by Indigenous, Métis, and First Nations Peoples in Canada in their report “in PLAIN sight” (2022).”


Justin Monteleone

Investigating the mechanisms of exercise and fasting to improve brain health

“It is important to understand what beneficial proteins can improve brain resilience and cognitive function during aging and in people with brain diseases. I hope to learn more about all the steps required in the research process from formulating a research question, data collection through to conference presentations and manuscript publications.”


Olivia Roussel

Investigating the final common pathway of all movement, the “motor unit”,  the motor nerves and muscle fibres they innervate.

“This project is important because it will highlight strategies and lifestyles that may mitigate the loss of motor units, typically observed with adult aging. Through my research, I wish to contribute to the improvement of overall muscle health and function in individuals by promoting active lifestyles and emphasizing the importance of exercise throughout one’s lifetime.”


Sofia Ivanchikov

Investigating the functional and structural adaptations in previously exercise naive individuals in response to long term endurance exercise training

“By conducting this project, we will enhance our understanding of the variations in physiological reserve that exist between females and males. This understanding is crucial for comprehending any sex-differences that may exist in the response to internal changes like diseases and external factors like exercise.”


Spencer Ursel

 Investigating the cellular effects of exercise as a modulator of systemic inflammation

“My research will focus on the cellular effects of exercise as a modulator of systemic inflammation, with hopes of elucidating some of the cellular mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise. Future application of this research could be used to create an optimized exercise protocol to decrease the prevalence of diseases characterized by chronic inflammation.”