PER the NSF website: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will host a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)-site in experimental and computational materials research. This REU-site project plans to recruit students from underrepresented groups and academic institutions where research opportunities are limited. This project offers a broad range of interdisciplinary materials research experiences to undergraduate students with a diversity of backgrounds in physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, and engineering. The undergraduate students will gain experience in materials synthesis, materials characterization and computer modeling and simulations during their ten-week research stay at UAB campus. The scientific research projects have been specifically developed for undergraduate students by an interdisciplinary team consisting of science and engineering faculty at UAB. This project will continue to provide lecture series and workshops in materials growth and characterization, research ethics, and professionalism, innovation and entrepreneurship, and preparation for graduate school to all participants. Our REU participants will publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals and/or present at professional meetings leading to a broad dissemination of new knowledge created in the undergraduate research projects.
REU research projects are organized in four research clusters: (1) materials under extreme conditions (2) materials for energy applications, (3) materials for sensors and laser applications, and (4) biomaterials for implants, tissue engineering, and drug delivery applications. The undergraduate research projects contribute to fundamental understanding of phase transformations and degradation of materials under extreme conditions, novel materials for fuel cells, materials for nanoscale sensors and mid-IR lasers, and 3-D printed biomaterials and stimuli-responsive polymers. Some research projects will also involve the use of national x-ray synchrotron facilities and neutron diffraction facilities in materials research. The undergraduate student projects have short-term achievable milestones, while simultaneously contributing to longer-term scientific goals and technological applications. Our teaming arrangement of REU participants with faculty and graduate students, giving poster and oral presentations, writing a research-style paper, and attending training seminars in scientific communications and ethics will help REU students see the “big picture” of what it takes to develop into a “research scientist” with the critical skills needed for analyzing, interpreting and presenting scientific data.
This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Dr. Joel Dobbs, Instructor at UAB School of Business (Management, Information Systems and Quantitative Methods) was kind enough to give the REUs a tour of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot. Dr. Dobbs also presented at one of our seminars this year. His topic: Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Both the seminar and the tour were a delight and helped to shed new light on how students should approach their careers. One of the big take aways from the seminar and the tour, per Dr. Dobbs, is that students should approach their careers with the mindset of an entrepreneur. What a great way plan for an exceptional career path.
Below are photos from the tour featuring participants as well as a sample of some of the features and businesses housed in the Depot.
There is a lot of graduate programs to explore at UAB and our 2017 REUs had the opportunity to talk with program representatives in a variety of disciplines at UAB. The Graduate Fair was deemed a success by our REUs and they felt that they learned a great deal about their options (whether here at UAB or elsewhere.
We are so proud of Class of 2017 REUs and the outstanding work that they did in the lab, their PowerPoint presentations, research papers and of course showcasing the culmination of their hard work at the 2017 Summer Expo. A huge part of our program is the experience of presenting their research to a broad audience. The annual Expo gives them just such an opportunity to share that knowledge through being well prepared to explain their work and answer questions posed to them by judges and other Expo attendees.
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates at UAB ended on July 21, 2017, but not without capturing remnants of a successful 10 weeks working along side of UAB faculty mentors and grad student mentors. Take a look at these photos of the REUs in the labs with theri mentors.
UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.