REU Alumni Update: Aaditya Rau

Congratulations to 2019 REU, Aaditya Rau who graduated Spring 2022 from Johns Hopkins University. Aaditya graduated with a double major in the fields of Engineering Mechanics and Applied Mathematics & Statistics and a minor in Mathematics. He will be attending graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA under the Computational Science and Engineering program with a home department in Aeronautics/Astronautics.

In addition, since his time here at UAB, he received the Goldwater Scholarship in 2021, and just received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP) to fund my graduate study.

Congratulations to Aaditya and we wish him the very best.

REU Alumni Update Reshu Chandra

Reshu Chandra participated in our 2021 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. She graduated from UAB on Saturday, April 30, 2022 with a major in Neuroscience and minors in Chemistry and Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude with High Distinguished Honors from the Science & Technology Honors Program. This upcoming year, she will be serve as a research intern with the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine while applying to medical schools. Reshu recently received the “Excellence in Service” Award and the “Exceptional Service & Leadership” Award through UAB as well as induction into the Order of Omega Honor Society, which recognizes the top 3% of the Greek community on campus.

Congratulations to Reshu and we wish her much success

2015 REU Moriah Smoot

2015 REU Moriah Smoot, Esq always keeps us updated on her career path. She recently contacted us and provided us with an updated bio (below).

Moriah holds a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama, and is a licensed attorney in the State of Alabama. In October 2021, Moriah passed the Patent Registration Exam and will soon begin work at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as a Patent Examiner. She is a registered mediator currently conducting Pro Bono mediations for the 10th Judicial Circuit Court of Alabama serving Jefferson Count.

She is the former Research Technology Analyst at The University of Alabama Office for Innovation and Commercialization. Her areas of interest include metals, medical devices, and regulatory affairs. She has an appreciation for the growing impact of technology on global health and how it can be used to improve the daily lives of individuals.

We wish Moriah much success in her new position and throughout her career journey.

NASA REU Keston Smith

Congratulations to Keston Smith

Keston has been selected for the Fall 2021-2022 NASA REU Program. His Project Title: Microfabrication and Calibration of Tungsten and Tungsten-Rhenium Thin-Film Thermocouple on a Diamond Substrate

Best wishes Keston on a successful research experience.

2021-22 ASGC REUMajor: Physics
Classification: Senior
Mentor: Gopi Samudrala

Congratulations to Our 2020-21 NASA REU Participants

2020-21 NASA REU – Hybrid Model

In spite of not being able to have a Summer 2020 REU due to COVID-19, NASA REU is moving forward for 2020-21 with REU for a 10 week period beginning October 1, 2020.The following UAB students have been selected to participate in this fascinating hybrid REU model.  We want to recognize and congratulate them.


Rachel Day is a UAB Junior
Major: Physics
Mentor: Dr. Andrei Stanishevsky, Physics

Hannah Blansett is a Junior at UAB
Major: Materials Science & Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Vinoy Thomas, Material Sciences and Engineering

Brita is a UAB Senior
Major: Physics
Mentor: Dr. Cheng-Chien, Physics
Ishmael James
Ishmael is a Senior at UAB
Major: Physics
Mentor: Dr. Ryoichi Kawai, Physics

NASA Fall 2020 Research Experiences for Undergraduates

NASA – Alabama Space Grant Consortium

Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) Program

Hybrid and Remote Undergraduate Research Experiences in Materials Research

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)

NASA-Alabama Space Grant Consortium (ASGC) program at UAB is inviting applications for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program during Fall-2020 and Spring-2021 from students that are currently enrolled at UAB. We offer REU-projects in five research clusters: (1) computational materials research/machine learning (2) materials under extreme conditions (3) materials for energy applications, (4) materials for sensors and laser applications, and (5) biomaterials for implants, tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. This REU experience will be offered in a hybrid model which will include fully remote participation for computational research projects and partly remote and partly on ground lab experiences for experimental research projects within the constraints of social distancing and other laboratory safety measures. The undergraduates will carry out the analysis of data generated in their research projects in a fully remote fashion and make Zoom presentations on completed research to faculty mentors and other undergraduates participating in this program.

The program will offer flexible working hours during Fall-2020 and Spring-2021 (staring October 1, 2020 and ending February 28th, 2021). The program will pay $5,000 over the entire work period involving 400 hours of remote/hybrid research with a faculty mentor at UAB.

For program information contact program director Yogesh Vohra (ykvohra@uab.edu) and for application questions contact program coordinator Charita Cadenhead (charita@uab.edu).

The application deadline is September 15th, 2020. Apply using the following web-site. https://sites.uab.edu/cnmb/research-experiences-for-undergraduates/

Summer 2020 REU Program Cancelled

Summer 2020 REU Program Cancelled

Because of abundance of caution, and for the safety of our faculty, staff, students and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program participants, we are cancelling the NSF and NASA supported 2020 summer research program for undergraduates on UAB campus due to COVID-19 and related disruptions.

This decision is not easy as we have run this program successfully on UAB campus for the past twenty-two years.

We do hope that you are able to make the best of your summer and that you and your family stay safe.  If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let me know.

Yogesh K. Vohra, Ph.D.

REU Program Director

2019 REU Bryce Coyne Attends Photonics West Conference

Photonics West Conference 2020

Bryce CoyneAttending the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco was an incredible experience that shed new light onto my research and the filed of optics and lasers that I was previously unaware of. This was my first academic conference that I had attended and being a talk presenter made it feel even more like jumping into the deep end of a pool. The first couple days the scale of the conference was quite overwhelming, with the events spanning three conference halls and multiple hotels in the area. I was able deal with the nerves that I had going into my presentation using some meditation skills I have acquired through collegiate baseball. Going over my talk with my research advisor it came to my attention how important it is to be as accurate as possible when discussing my research in the professional setting. I had previously presented this research in August of 2019 to fellow undergraduate physics researchers and mentors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. At Photonics West my talk would be under significantly more scrutiny than in the undergraduate setting. The pressure resulted in me having to know the ins and outs of all aspects of my talk. Post-talk questions also brought to light a couple aspects of my research I has not previously thought of. For most, I was asked about potential utilization of the InP crystal analyzed for laser applications going forward which could have real merit and possibilities. This would turn my summer research project into a large-scale project similar to a dissertation.

At the conference I was also able to attend a four-hour course on laser fundamentals with the emphasis being placed how the private laser sector discusses and buys/sells laser systems. The course in addition to providing new information allowed me to think about private optics companies which may be a field I have interest getting into in my future.

The conference also had a large exhibition for companies to showcase new technologies that they have developed. Companies ranged from small photonics start-ups to large companies such as ThorLabs and M2. Personally, walking about the exhibition hall and discussing products and jobs with exhibitioners was more insightful than sitting in on talks. I was able to relate skills and tools that I have developed in the lab to what others are doing in private sectors. To me the exhibition hall was the hidden aspect of science that is an accumulation of academia. Up to this point in my life, education has been the end goal but I now a new perspective of where my education may lead me to. And Photonics West was a great intersection of academics presenting talks and posters while companies showcase their technologies. Overall, the conference was a challenge I had to face in presenting and getting over fears along with a great opportunity to see how much insightful and interesting stuff is going on in optics. I am incredibly humble and grateful to be given this opportunity to present and attend the conference and I hope to continue to make the most of the opportunity that I was given.