Polymer Undergraduate Program Provides Valuable Experience and Positive Impact for Interns


Congratulations to the 17 interns who recently completed the 2018 Research Experience for Undergraduates program!

The REU program was launched in 2004 and has been a success in bringing students from across the country to learn about research methods and polymers here at The University of Akron’s College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering (CPSPE).

The internship program was directed by Polymer Science Professor Dr. Mesfin Tsige and consisted of eleven weeks of research and career development. REU is intended to provide several things for undergraduate students, such as: valuable work experiences and rare resources, opportunities to work alongside graduates in the field, and the ability to learn more about polymers through different disciplines, including but not limited to engineering, chemistry, physics, and biomaterials.

The program concluded with a final presentation of research results at the 15th annual Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Research Symposium (NOURS) at Kent State University, followed by a trip to Cedar Point and a fun group lunch (pictured).

CPSPE had the opportunity to ask several REU students about this summer’s experience, and here are some of the responses they shared:

How has this program prepared you for your future career?

“This program has not only added to my resume to potentially help me get into grad school/get a job in the future, but I also learned things like presentation skills, and how to write scientific papers that will be useful for a career in research later in life. It also helped me decide that a career in research was what I wanted to pursue after obtaining my degree.” Carrie Bearshak

“The REU program has given me skills that can be transferred to any major, any field.  I am a Political Science major with plans to attend law school, but I spent my summer conducting polymer research.  The skills I learned, such as time management, attention to detail, analytical thinking, and presentation skills will be crucial to my future.” Kevin Feezel

How has this summer’s research experience impacted you?

“I have grown greatly both professionally and personally from this program. I was exposed to a variety of new instruments and lab techniques which were exciting to learn. Also my graduate student mentors helped me understand how to work at a graduate student level. This program was an outstanding experience which helped solidify my career path in research.” William Clay

“This summer has exposed me to new opportunities in the chemical and polymer field and has helped to guide me towards a possible career down the road. This program was the first time I have been able to operate in a professional and scientific setting. It has taught me lessons that will apply across many careers in a STEM field.” Sam Darwish

CPSPE is proud to provide these valuable opportunities for students and looks forward to enriching the lives of many more to come!