NSF Supports the Future Success of Polymer REU Program

02/21/2017

13th Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Research Symposium (NOURS)

13th Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Research Symposium (NOURS) - August 5, 2016 - Culmination event of CPSPE student interns’ work as part of the 2016 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

The National Science Foundation continues to contribute to the impact of Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering (CPSPE). NSF has awarded a grant of $344,741 to The University of Akron in support of REU that will start on April 1, 2017. These funds support Research Experiences for Undergraduates in accordance with the NSF program solicitation. The REU in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron is under the direction of Mesfin Tsige. In addition to Mesfin Tsige, the following are also people authoring the winning proposal: Ali Dhinojwala, Abraham Joy, Bryan D. Vogt, Nicole Zacharia, and Ying Wang.

Since the REU program at The University of Akron was launched in 2004, this program has engaged over 218 students in the fundamentals of polymer science and polymer engineering research and has resulted in over 46 peer-reviewed publications.

This program offers a unique research experience for undergraduates, which is an eleven-week internship program in which students from universities across the United States will work closely with CPSPE faculty to investigate a fundamental question within the disciplines of polymer science and polymer engineering, including chemistry, physics, characterization and biomaterials.

This program has served as an effective avenue to promote and retain both traditional and underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), particularly polymer science and engineering. Many of these students took advantage of their UA-REU experience to earn additional summer research intern positions at other research focused universities and national labs and also to go to graduate school. Some of the early participants are now contributing to the STEM education pipeline. Being a good example, a couple of former REU students are now assistant professors at universities and are recommending their students to join our REU program. Equally impressive is our former REU students’ contribution to the local industry. Success stories from our past REU students demonstrate that our REU Site has been meeting its goals and objectives.

Learn more about UA's REU program