REU Site. Undergraduate Research Experiences in Functional Materials

Grants and Contracts Details


Intellectual merit ofthe proposed activity The objective of this REU program is to provide opportunities for motivated undergraduates to conduct research in functional materials. Although these students are well trained in the classroom, most of them may overlook the potential rewards of a career in research if they do not have the opportunity to be part of a research environment over an extended period of time. The student participants will be matched with the REU faculty advisors after taking into consideration their career goals and scientific interests. The individual undergraduate projects are designed to advance the state of knowledge in functional materials and are along the research interests of the supervising advisors to ensure direct scientific interaction with the graduate and postdoctoral students of each research group. Weekly seminars will be conducted to stimulate discussion and provide information on career opportunities, on current major research issues, on professional ethics, and on the development of effective scientific communication skills. Further, in-house "mini-conferences" will be organized during which the students will present their project results in the form of a scientific presentation in both oral and poster format. The students will also have the opportunity to attend a professional conference and get exposed to the most recent advances in their field. Finally, the students will be encouraged to participate at the annual Regional Undergraduate Chemistry Research Poster Competition organized by the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky. This wide spectrum of research-related activities should not only contribute toward the scientific maturation of the individual students but should also encourage them to pursue a career in research. Broader impacts of the proposed activity Ten students per year will be selected after a nationwide advertisement. We will also seek nominees from nine Kentucky colleges and universities (Berea College, Centre College, Cumberland College, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Northern Kentucky University) that serve the economically underprivileged Appalachian region of Kentucky. Special efforts will be made to recruit minority students by using our established contacts with faculty at U.S. institutions that have high minority enrollments. Additionally, we will continue our on-going partnership with the Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation that has a goal to provide an easy transition for minority students from undergraduate programs in Louisiana to REU opportunities during the summer and to graduate programs thereafter. The students will be exposed to a whole spectrum of research-related activities that are directed toward educating them about the rewards and challenges of scientific research and, hopefully, inspire them with the desire to pursue careers as scientists.
Effective start/end date3/15/052/28/09


  • National Science Foundation: $192,000.00


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