Interdisciplinary Research Experience in Sustainable Energy and Bioengineering

REU/RET Site

Introduction

The Stevens Research Experiences For Undergraduate Students (REU)/ Research Experiences For High School Teachers (RET) Site offers research and educational opportunities for both undergraduates and high school teachers to expose them to interdisciplinary research in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, chemistry, and chemical biology laboratories in the summer months.

Research Experiences For Undergraduate Students (REU)

Program Dates: June 5-August 4, 2023

Students will work on research projects related to sustainable energy and bioengineering under the Stevens faculty mentorship for 10 weeks in Summer 2023. The program educates students on entrepreneurial thinking and provides workshops to enhance students’ presentation, communication and research skills in science and engineering within a multi-level mentoring experience. The program provides a $600/week stipend for students. On-campus housing is provided.

Undergraduate Students will:

  • Gain knowledge and participate in research on topics focusing on sustainable energy, nanomaterials, nanotechnology or bioengineering

  • Work, interact and collaborate with Stevens faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from chemical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and chemical biology departments, high school teachers participating in the RET program as well as fellow REU students

  • Present a poster on your research project at the Research Symposium

  • Attend weekly lunch seminars on topics including: research techniques; materials and energy; literature searching; presentation skills; effective mentoring networks; inclusive teaching; ethics in research

Research Experiences For Undergraduate Students Site student working in a lab

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Workshops

Student experiences are enriched through Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (RI&E) workshops to raise awareness about the potential for innovation and entrepreneurship related to their research. Students form teams that work together to identify and categorize new technologies, products and services based on their research work. The teams also collaborate in creating materials to support pitches that summarize their research and its commercial potential.

Summer 2023 Project Topics

Model of person walkingA 3D rendered image of a person walking from REU/RET Site summer research program.Project topics for summer 2023 are listed below with the faculty names and websites under each project topic:

  • Ion transport in polymer electrolytes - Pinar Akcora

  • Stevens' hypersonic wind tunnel - Nick Parziale

  • Probing Solid-State Electrochemistry of Energy Storage Materials for Fast-Charging BatteriesJae Chul Kim

  • Probing the nano-scale behavior of Ni-based bimetallic catalysts to produce renewable fuels and chemicals - Alyssa Hensley

  • Predicting the onset of white matter lesions in the aging brain - Johannes Weickenmeier 

  • The mechanics of human balance control - Antonia Zaferiou

  • Antimicrobial complexation with polyelectrolyte gels and microgels - Matt Libera

  • Development of novel organoboron reagents as enabling tools to access rare classes of bioactive organic compounds - Abhishek Sharma

  • Evaluating stem cell biology using intestinal organoids - Ansu Perekatt

  • Computer simulations and machine learning for protein design - Pin-Kuang Lai

REU students indicate their top preferences for project topics and are matched with a topic/advisor when accepted.

Who Should Apply? 

Underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. Undergraduate Students who will be seniors, juniors, and sophomores in fall 2023 who have taken science or engineering courses. REU participants must be citizens or legal permanent residents of the United states or its possessions. 

Applications will be reviewed upon received.

Application deadline is February 15, 2023.

Research Experiences For High School Teachers (RET)

Program Dates: July 10-August 4, 2023

High School Science teachers will participate in research projects through working with the faculty and students, a teacher facilitator and an experienced science educator in curriculum development with the goal of forming a lesson plan focusing on an aspect of the program.

The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) component will offer a $1,000/week stipend for four weeks. The program will run in-person.

Participants will:

  • Gain knowledge on sustainable energy, nanomaterials, nanotechnology and bioengineering

  • Create lesson plans focused on nanotechnology and engineering for high school curriculum

  • Work with faculty from chemical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and chemical biology departments, fellow RET high school teacher participants, REU undergraduate students and Stevens undergraduate and graduate student researchers.

  • Develop curriculum with staff from the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE)

  • Present a poster at the Research Symposium

  • Participate in a training series on:

    • Incorporating Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning in the Science Classroom

    • Managing the Engineering Design Process in Class

    • Increasing Formative Assessment Strategies in the Classroom

Technicial in lab works with chemicals

Seminars / Workshops / Symposium

The REU and RET participants will have a chance to interact through weekly group meetings, seminars and workshops. The REUs and RETs will present their research and lesson plans in the Summer Research Symposium which will be held the last week of the program.


When To Apply? 

Application deadline is April 15, 2023.

Stevens Institute of Technology

1 Castle Point Terrace

Hoboken, NJ 07030

2022 Program

The REU/RET program on Sustainable Energy and Bioengineering was held in person in Summer 2022 at Stevens. We worked with 8 REU students on interdisciplinary research projects related to energy and bioengineering for 10 weeks. 

This year's program offered engaging meetings and discussions on topics such as critical thinking, scientific writing/presentation, ethics; as well as professional development workshops on Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Developing Effective Mentoring Networks; Title IX seminar.

Four RET high school science teachers participated in the last 4 weeks of the program. Curriculum development workshops were offered for teachers. Each RET worked with an REU student and a faculty advisor to create a lesson plan inspired from the research activities. The program culminated on August 5 with a Research Symposium featuring a poster presentation by all 8 REU students and 4 RET participants.

REU/RET participants, teachers and Stevens professors

Program Participation

REU students from different schools have worked on interdisciplinary research topics between May 31 – August 5, 2022:

  • Thomas Robinson, Clarkson University, “Characterizing the Nanoscale Surface Behavior of Multifaceted Ni-Based Bimetallic Catalysts Using Density Functional Theory”, Advisor: Alyssa Hensley

  • Grace McGraw, University of Notre Dame, Appearance of White Matter Hyperintensities in the Healthy Aging Brain”, Advisor: Johannes Weickenmeier

  • Nicholas Marchuk, Boston University, “Design of a Sliding Cap for the Hypersonic Wind Tunnel at Stevens”, Advisor: Nick Parziale

  • Hannah Levy, University of Florida, “Improving of Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries by Replacing 65% Iron Atoms with Manganese”, Advisor: Jae Chul Kim

  • Mahein Shah, New York University, “Synthesis of Rare Organoboron Compounds via a Novel Boron-Promoted Conjugate Addition Reaction”, Advisor: Abhishek Sharma

  • Vibha Iyer, Georgia Institute of Technology, “Testing the Understandability of Real-Time Optical Motion Capture Balance Sonification Systems”, Advisor: Antonia Zaferiou

  • Cindy Lin, New York University, “Role of Collagen in the Repair Response Following Damage to the Intestinal Epithelium”, Advisor: Ansu Perekatt

  • Seena Seon, Cooper Union, “Understanding Environmental Interactions of Poly (acrylic acid) Grafted Silica in Water”, Advisor: Pinar Akcora

RET participants worked in research labs with the REUs, graduate students and professors, and developed their lesson plans between July 11-August 5, 2022:

  • Oghaghare Okobiah, Queens High School for Language Studies, NY, “Batteries: Energy (Electric) Storage and Sustainability”, Advisor: Jae Chul Kim

  • Medinah Eatman, Mott Hall V, NY, “Think Like a Biomedical Engineer”, Advisor: Antonia Zaferiou

  • Sui King Shum, Baruch College Campus High School, NY, “Connecting the Chemical Composition and Structure of Heterogeneous Catalysts to Catalyst Performance”, Advisor: Alyssa Hensley

  • Marissa Maggio, Stuyvesant High School, NY, “Summative Case Study: How can we study cancer in a lab?” Advisor: Ansu Perekatt

The program concluded with the Research Symposium.


‘It Transformed My View of What Research Could Be’ 2022 REU student Grace McGraw gives a poster presentation to Kenny Wong

Eight undergraduate students and four high school teachers spent their summer break immersed in research at Stevens

Read the Article>

Project Summaries

Interdisciplinary REU student research topics spanned a variety of topics. Read about each project below.

Special Acknowledgements

We thank colleagues and friends who helped us to run the successful 2022 REU/RET Program at Stevens:

  • Mary Ann Piazza for her Innovation & Entrepreneurship workshops

  • Dr. Wei Zhang for her seminar on “Effective Mentoring Networks”

  • Victoria Ludas Orlofsky and Courtney Walsh for a Series of Literature Searching Workshops

  • Xhilijola Ruci Kloger, J.D. for Title IX presentation

  • Dr. Patricia Muisener for seminars on scientific writing; abstract writing and poster presentation; Deep Learning/Chemistry Education and Research; ethics

  • Dr. Pinar Akcora for seminar on Graduate School and GRFP application

  • Dr. Tsengming Chou for LMSI tour and microscopy demonstrations

  • Mariel Kolker from Morristown High School for facilitating discussions and learnings for teachers’ lesson plans

  • Debra Brockway for the workshop series on curriculum development for teachers.

Lastly, we thank all the research mentors Pinar Akcora, Alyssa Hensley, Jae Chul Kim, Abhishek Sharma, Nick Parziale, Ansu Perekatt, Antonia Zaferiou, and Johannes Weickenmeier for working with REUs and giving research seminars in our program.

2021 Program

The REU/RET program was carried out virtually in Summer 2021. Students were exposed to interdisciplinary research experiences in chemistry, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering for 8 weeks.

The program had engaging meetings and discussions on critical thinking, scientific writing/presentation and professional development workshops on Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Developing Effective Mentoring Networks; Inclusive Teaching; Graduate School Applications and CIESE organized workshops for high school science teachers on Curriculum Development. The program concluded with the Research Symposium.

Program Participation

zoom screenshot of REU/RET Site participants

Project Summaries

Interdisciplinary REU student research topics spanned a variety of topics. Read about each project below.

Inclusive Teaching Workshop

Presented by Liliana Delman and Edlyn Thompson-Mettle, the inclusive teaching workshop featured actions and strategies to create an environment that supports increasingly diverse students, such as inclusive language, actionable practices, how to mitigate implicit bias, and how to respond to mistakes. The workshop features practice scenarios for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as resources for continued learning.

Special Acknowledgements

We thank colleagues and friends who helped us to run the successful 2021 REU/RET Program at Stevens: 

  • Mary Ann Piazza and David Zimmerman for their Innovation & Entrepreneurship workshops

  • Dr. Wei Zhang for her workshop on “Effective Mentoring Networks” · Dr. Johannes Weickenmeier for his workshops on “Scientific Writing” and “Career Planning”

  • Victoria Ludas Orlofsky and Courtney Walsh for a Series of Library Orientation Workshops

  • Edlyn Thompson-Mettle and Liliana Delman for their workshop on “Inclusive Teaching”

  • Dr. Rahmi Ozisik from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for his workshop on “Simulation tools in Chemistry”

  • Mariel Kolker from Morristown High School for facilitating discussions and learnings for teachers’ lesson plans

  • Debra Brockway and CIESE for the workshop series on curriculum development for teachers

Lastly, we thank all the research mentors for working with REUs and giving research seminars in our program:

  • Jae Chul Kim

  • Antonia Zaferiou

  • Johannes Weickenmeier

  • Nick Parziale

  • Patricia Muisener 

  • Pinar Akcora

We also thank our external Invited Speaker Dr. Joe Stanzione from Rowan University who gave a seminar on “Advancement of Bio-Based Polymers and Composites Via Strategic Chemistry and Processing of Nature’s Xylochemicals”.

Contact Information

Contact

If you have questions about the program, please contact:

Patricia Muisener ([email protected]) or Pinar Akcora ([email protected])

REU/RET Site program is funded by NSF, Grant # 2050921