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Undergraduate Research Design, Create, and Discover Dr. David Bahr, Director, Undergraduate Research University College Professor, Mechanical and Materials.

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Presentation on theme: "Undergraduate Research Design, Create, and Discover Dr. David Bahr, Director, Undergraduate Research University College Professor, Mechanical and Materials."— Presentation transcript:

1 Undergraduate Research Design, Create, and Discover Dr. David Bahr, Director, Undergraduate Research University College Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering

2 Why undergraduate research matters Provide the “best undergraduate experience at a research university” A critical step in engaging students  Active learning in all majors  Broad support from students, faculty, alumni, and employers

3 WSU has a long tradition of excellence in research with students J.P. Hirth, Professor Emeritus, Mechanical and Materials Engineering  National Academy of Engineering  National Academy of Sciences John was a regular in advising senior projects and teaching undergraduate courses…

4 So what do we mean by “undergraduate research” ? Design, Create, Discover  Faculty supervision  Research in labs  Creative design activities  Scholarly studies Goes beyond the classroom  Active learning  Not just lab coats

5 Not “mini” grad students Mentoring undergraduates works most effectively when it’s clear they are not just part time versions of graduate students. Specific needs for understanding the basis for inquiry driven and experiential learning.

6 Why do we (faculty) do this? Ask one another and you get some interesting trends  It’s the right thing to do  Our undergraduates help me get research done  Our undergraduates are better “hands on” than some of our graduate students  We use it for recruiting  Builds our program’s reputation

7 Why do you (students) want to do this? Experience? Resume? Make a difference? Challenge? Future career options? Graduate school? Interaction with students? Travel and presentations? Meeting leaders in the field?

8 Research probably won’t help your GPA Students with high GPAs may see a slight drop by graduation. Similar results at JMU. Not a problem, but be aware

9 Research develops over time 2006 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Jon Winterstein

10 Marian Kennedy Freshman year: Honors College, WSU REU program Sophomore year: Study abroad in Wales, REU at Dartmouth University Junior year: Sandia National Lab intern Currently: Professor, Clemson University

11 REU in MSE at WSU Since 1999 Over 100 students  40% women, 60% men From 40 universities 40 peer reviewed publications and national presentations 11 faculty across campus

12 Some WSU Summer Options Laboratory for Atmospheric Research (LAR) Characterization of Advanced Materials (MSE) Smart Environments (EECS) Multiscale Engineering (ME) Chemistry SURF (Pharmacy) Center for Integrated Biotechnology Extreme Matter (Physics)

13 REU’s as a community of scholars Summer experiences where our own students and those external to WSU participate in on campus research We also send our students out to REU’s around the country and world  UREKA, REU International sites Foster a desire and dedication to creative and discovery activities Working together to ensure disciplinary excellence with cross cutting activities

14 A lot is going on today…

15 Nicole Kelln, BS Interior Design, WSU Spokane 2005 Grand Prize: National Sustainable Design Competition sponsored by the International Interior Design Association

16 University College Activities & Initiatives Endowments for fellowships  Make sure research isn’t a financial problem Early Undergraduate Research Opportunities  Summer intensive program, plus AY mentoring UG Symposium  Concurrent with Colleges, late March 2010 Supporting students and faculty

17 Summer fellowships at WSU External financial to support researchers across campus Auvil Foundation gift for broad based undergraduate research Provide a base of support, supplement with matching by field if needed When coupled with 5 REU sites, LAR, CIB, SURF, and other existing activities, we had over 100 active students here this past summer

18 Links for on campus applications Summer support through Auvil grants: And talk with advisors! Many have summer support available. Ask, but be prepared to be serious, do your homework.

19 Early Undergraduate Research Opportunities: CURE “Boot camp” funded by NSF as a new model for getting earlier participation Dedicated to a research fundamentals course for 1 week for rising sophomores, followed by mentoring during school year Mentoring and scholarship support for up to 20 students per year Increase retention, increase engagement

20 Tips for getting started Finding an advisor  Webpages, departments, centers, colleges, institutes….  Acadmic journals, professional organizations What do you want, what does the advisor want?  Volunteer, individual credit, money, Honors, thesis  Fame, fortune, and personal development Opportunities to secure funding It’s not your hobby, it’s mentoring, commitment, partnership, and hard work It takes time, do you have it? Ask other students, clubs and organizations DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

21 Finding REU programs off campus Over 100 schools have REU programs in the summer, called REU Sites Usually paid $3500-$4500 per summer Many include housing and travel Deadlines usually in Feb. - March.

22 What should be in statements of purpose? Why you want to do research in general Why these projects? What’s interesting in them to you? What’s your background (give context for why you are interested). Do NOT cut and paste from their website, or give generic platitudes about how wonderful they or you are.

23 Letters of recommendation Faculty over Tas Ask EARLY! Provide a list of where you are looking, and what is interesting at each place you are looking at.

24 National laboratories NIST is a bit trickier, you need to apply through our grants office, and this is coming up VERY soon!!!

25 NASA Many NASA labs have openings, most are due Jan 31

26 Department of Energy Look at the labs: Sandia National Laboratory Idaho National Laboratory Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Los Alamos National Laboratory Argonne National Laboratory Search for summer internships or jobs

27 Overseas examples Ireland: UREKA  Germany  (past deadline 09) 

28 Lists are updated at the WSU UGR site Opportunities are posted at

29 Where we excel Our strengths include our faculty - student interactions Community base means strong school year and summer basis for concentrated activities to  Create  Design  Discover Helping you find the right fit Visit:


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