PULLMAN, Wash. – Nearly 50 undergraduate researchers from Washington State University and other institutions across the country gathered in the Engineering Teaching and Research Laboratory building on Thursday, June 2, to meet their faculty mentors and kick off their 2011 summer research season.
 
This year, four areas on campus are hosting students in National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. Two more areas have REU-like programs, and a seventh has an intensive short course teaching program.
 
Students will present research Aug. 5
Dave BahrEach student will work full-time for 10 weeks on faculty-mentored research in a specific laboratory or program, said Dave Bahr, director of Undergraduate Research, a program in the University College at WSU.
 
The 2011 cohort of students represents universities as far away as New York and Puerto Rico.  Most participants will live in scholarly communities at the Phi Kappa Theta and Sigma Nu fraternity houses.
 
In welcoming remarks, Bahr reminded students that undergraduate research must meet four requirements: The work students produce must “employ acceptable techniques for the discipline and be faculty mentored, original and disseminated.” The students will satisfy the first three criteria while working with faculty in their labs.
 
They will accomplish the final requirement at the REU Poster Session 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, in the Smith CUE atrium.
 
‘Better than I could have imagined’
Among the researchers is Jerome Roscioli, a senior from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, who is participating in the chemistry REU for a second summer.
 
“I applied to the program last year because my sister, Kristyn Roscioli, is a chemistry graduate student at WSU,” he said. “But I am back because the program was better than I could have imagined. Not only did I get to explore the Northwest every weekend, but the experience confirmed for me that research and graduate school are definitely in my future.
 
“I learned more than any lecture has ever offered because of the hands-on nature of the work,” he said. “I returned this year to continue to learn about my field and work toward my academic goals.”
 
Students publish, pursue graduate studies
This is the 13th year that WSU has hosted REUs and similar programs. Several of each year’s participants have published scholarly papers on the work they completed and many return to WSU as graduate students.
 
“Our summer research students don’t just wash beakers and replicate previous results,” said Bahr. “They perform relevant, original and important research that benefits not only their research skills but the larger academic community as well.”
 
WSU Undergraduate Research has a mission to increase accessibility of undergraduate research for students from all majors and backgrounds through its programs. These include a university-wide undergraduate research symposium, one-week tutorial for new researchers and a scholarship program – in addition to the REUs.
 
For more information on the REUs and other programs visit http://UndergraduateResearch.wsu.edu.
 
REU and similar programs in summer 2011
  • Chemistry REU, coordinated by James Brozik, associate professor
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science REU, coordinated by Teddy Yap, instructor, and Diane Cook, professor
  • Laboratory for Atmospheric Research REU, coordinated by Brian Lamb, Regents professor, and Shelley Pressley, assistant research professor
  • Materials Science Engineering REU, coordinated by Dave Bahr, director of WSU Undergraduate Research and professor
  • Composite Materials Engineering Center, coordinated by Michael Wolcott, professor
  • Horticulture, coordinated by Amit Dhingra, assistant professor
  • Interdisciplinary Biochemistry, coordinated by Tom Okita, scientist
  • Radio Chemistry, an intensive short course by Sue Clark, Regents professor