Stanford University
Shersingh Tumber.

Tumber-Dávila and Wilson collect samples to be analyzed in the lab. (Photo courtesy of Shersingh Tumber-Dávila)

Paying it forward in science

Shersingh Joseph Tumber-DávilaPhD StudentEarth System Science


For graduate student Shersingh Joseph Tumber-Dávila, growing up in Puerto Rico, exploring the rainforest, and getting lost on his family’s 30-acre farm instilled a love of the environment. While at the University of New Hampshire, Tumber-Dávila knew graduate school was in his future, but it wasn’t until he participated in Stanford Earth's Summer Undergraduate Research in Geoscience and Engineering Program (SURGE) that he could envision himself at a place like Stanford.

He fondly remembers the passion and mentorship given to him when he participated in SURGE. As a Stanford PhD student in the Jackson Lab, Tumber-Dávila enjoyed paying it forward as a SURGE mentor to Cornell University junior Alexis Wilson. Through Tumber-Dávila's guidance, Wilson looked at root biomass at a 2D-depth scale and to understand how it is affected by changes in soil characteristics.

The underlying philosophy of SURGE is to train students by creating a supportive and rigorous work environment. Each SURGE scholar is matched with a faculty member from the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and has the opportunity to work in a research group or laboratory. For more information and to apply, visit

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