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Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates - Polymers for Performance in Emerging FEWS Technology

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Academic Level:
For most summer research programs, this is your upcoming status as of the fall. Always check with the individual program's website for details.

Undergraduates - Sophomore
Undergraduates - Junior

Future scientific leaders must effectively communicate across disciplinary boundaries relating to food, energy, and water, with a 'molecules to manufacturing' perspective for recognizing commonly shared and unique challenges, discoveries, and solutions. Our primary objective is to nurture students to pursue graduate studies and academic and industrial careers in FEWS fields, establishing the pool of educated and energetic talent to fuel the competitiveness of our nation. REU MII-FEWS research will provide enabling polymeric materials for food distribution, water efficient crop production, real-time monitoring devices, advanced manufacturing concepts to print the next generation of membranes for water purification, and novel synthetic methods to understand predictable transport and diffusion through materials. Working in teams, effective communication across the population, and igniting passion for discovery remain cornerstones. REU publications will serve as a key indicator for our success. The REU students will emerge as scientific leaders in a critical area for our nation; the students will initiate an interdisciplinary network of scientists with a spirit of entrepreneurship and a passion for societal impact. Students will understand the social complexities of translating technologies to international communities.

The program is designed to instill in students a life-long motivation to create new materials and discover physical phenomena through the joys of research. Focus will be on science and engineering with added emphasis on building leadership, interdisciplinary teamwork and communications skills, and experiencing the gratification derived from integrating their science into the community. Particular focus will be on technical writing. The program includes a leadership workshop for the graduate student mentors, a community-building retreat with an ethics workshop, a short course on polymer science and engineering fundamentals and their potential at the food-energy-water nexus, and communications seminars covering topics such as developing a resume and applying to graduate school. The summer culminates with a symposium and technical paper. We commit to at least 50% of our REUs being women or minorities to ensure that they learn to work with a diverse group to prepare them for professional careers. The students will have opportunities to present their findings at a conference during the follow-up year.

Participating Institution(s):
(Click an institution to see all programs it hosts)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Program Materials:
 • Program Website 

This Program can be Described by:
Academic Disciplines:
Food Science & Nutrition
Materials Science & Engineering
Molecular Biology
STEM Fields

Engineering Research
Food and Beverage Quality & Packaging
Physical Chemistry
Physical Sciences
Water Quality

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This program is funded by:
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Page last updated 10/27/2016
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