ARRA: REU Site in Electrical & Computer Engineering at The University of Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details


Funding is requested for the renewal of the REU Site in Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Kentucky. The REU site has provided 36 student participants within the last three years with an active 8-week research experience. Students have been exposed to faculty, graduate students, research staff, and other undergraduate students in a developing community that incorporates academic and social enrichment activities. The program objectives are as follows: a) Provide underrepresented students and students from institutions with limited research opportunities an authentic research experience that will increase their confidence and ability to contribute to the body of engineering knowledge; b) Improve student understanding of the nature of research practice and scientific reasoning; c) Provide students with a collegial partnership experience with faculty, peers, and research staff; d) Increase student appreciation of the importance of coursework to the understanding of engineering research; f) Improve oral and written comprehension and communication of technical knowledge; g) Expose students to research instrumentation, measurement techniques, documentation, and laboratory management; h) Encourage greater interest in graduate school and research careers. Based on the experience gained during the last three years, we extend the program objectives by: A) Enhanced faculty development, particularly in ways autobiographical experiences may be productively shared. B) Focused attention in the evaluation on the nature of the research context through laboratory case studies and faculty interviews. Recruitment efforts will target women, underrepresented minorities, and students from academic institutions with limited opportunities for research whom are US citizens or permanent residents. It is anticipated that student applicants will have backgrounds in mathematics, physics, computerscience/ engineering, or electrical engineering. Applications for the program will be solicited from rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The REU students will participate in a wide range of research projects with faculty, graduate students, and research staff. Additional activities include weekly seminars, professional development workshops, field trips to local industry, and social events. The 8-week experience will culminate in a Departmental Research Symposium where students will present their work in written and oral form. Two students from each summer cohort will be awarded travel grants to enable presentation of their work in conjunction with their research mentor at an appropriate conference. The intellectual merit of the proposed activity falls in three areas. First, the REU project will foster the integration of research and education through an immersive research experience. Second, the research activities proposed will advance knowledge and understanding within the subfields of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Finally, the case studies of each participant that explore a) the development of student epistemological beliefs regarding the nature of knowledge construction, b) the sophistication of student aspirations and career plans as evidence of increased self-efficacy and sense of purpose, will contribute to the emerging body of knowledge regarding student learning. The broader impacts of the proposed activity chiefly reside in the exposure of underrepresented students and students from institutions with limited research opportunities to a research environment This exposure to research careers has the potential to encourage greater appreciation of the role of discovery, training, and research methods in their professional development It is anticipated that this exposure may encourage more domestic students to pursue graduate studies.
Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/13


  • National Science Foundation: $300,000.00


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