Auburn Professors Receive National Science Foundation Funds for Undergraduate Research Program

Published: Feb 17, 2006 10:34:00 AM
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Two faculty members from the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering recently received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their proposal to make Auburn University the site of a prestigious undergraduate research initiative.

Steve Duke and Mark Byrne, both from the Department of Chemical Engineering, submitted a proposal to the NSF to create a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site on the Auburn campus. The program, titled "Micro/Nano-Structured Materials, Therapeutics, and Devices," is a three year project with 10 undergraduate students each year. The program involves various academic programs including biosystems, civil, chemical, mechanical and textiles engineering, pharmacy and physics.

"This program will be a defining moment in these students' lives. It will turn them on to discovery and lead them toward more creative endeavors in the future," Byrne said.

The students will join in a 10-week summer experience that includes research on micro and nano-material science and technology, as well as faculty mentoring and participation in seminars and workshops focused on professional development and cross-cultivation of individual experience.

"Hosting an REU site brings more attention and recognition to the university and its programs," Duke said. "It really is a substantial honor for our department, as well as the College of Engineering."

The REU program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. This REU site will help develop a diverse group of undergraduate participants from four-year institutions and community colleges that have had a limited opportunity to engage in research activities.

"At Auburn and in the Ginn College of Engineering, we have a strong history of undergraduate research," Duke said. "This REU site gives us the opportunity to expand that heritage and to provide those same opportunities to students from outside the Auburn family."