June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.719.1 - 13.719.10
Improving the Professional Development Component of an REU Summer Program
An NSF-funded Center, a three-university partnership with research focused on nanomanufacturing, has held a Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program for undergraduate students over the past three years. Over 70 students have participated in the program, in which each student is guided in a project to learn more about research related to nanomanufacturing. In our laboratories, students with diverse technical backgrounds gain skills in electron and atomic force microscopy; chemical synthesis; MEMS and NEMS fabrication; dip pen nanolithography; template-guided assembly and transfer of polymers and nanoparticles; high rate polymer processing; assessing the impact of nanoparticles on the environment; and exploring economic and ethical issues associated with nanomanufacturing. A professional development component was also designed into the 10 week research program, which has morphed over the past three years, based on evaluation of students at the end of their summer experience.
The NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) focuses on nanomanufacturing research is an equal partnership among three universities (Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML), and the University of New Hampshire) that are located about an hour’s drive apart. For the last three summers, the Center has held a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. The participants spent 10 weeks in the Center’s laboratories (i.e., early June to mid August). Students, as individuals or in collaboration with other undergraduates, conducted research under the guidance of their faculty advisors, other faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers. In this program, students with diverse technical backgrounds gained skills in electron and atomic force microscopy; chemical synthesis; MEMS and NEMS fabrication; dip pen nanolithography; template-guided assembly and transfer of polymers and nanoparticles; high rate polymer processing; assessing the impact of nanoparticles on the environment; and exploring economic and ethical issues associated with nanomanufacturing. The participants presented the results of their research at the end of the program. Each year, a total of 16 to 30 undergraduate students have participated in the program, with the students split equally among the three Universities.
Table 1 presents the professional development associated with this REU program. The initial program included safety training, how to use the Universities’ libraries, attendance at the annual NSF Site Visit, and participation in a half-day poster session and a half-day ethics workshop. The students also had the opportunity to attend various non-specific professional development activities at each of the Center’s three campuses. Since evaluation of the Year 1 program recommended “additional collaboration and contact among the participating Universities and students engaged in the REUs,” a more structured program was designed to create the weekly professional development event (with lunch) in Year 2. Activities were expanded to include a writing component, more extensive training in presentation skills, attendance at a societal impact
Barry, C., & Isaacs, J. (2008, June), Improving The Professional Development Component Of An Reu Summer Program Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4119
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