This award from the Division of Chemistry at the National Science Foundation supports an International Research Experiences for Undergraduates (iREU) Site led by Professors Randolph S. Duran and David A. Spivak both at Louisiana State University and Gloria A. Thomas at Xavier University in New Orleans, LA. The Site will have projects located in Grenoble France or Leuven Belgium. Each summer, 8 participants will have REU projects that feature aspects of translational chemistry and the Sites will incorporate major European "Innovation Campuses" where national laboratory, industry, and university scientists work as teams. This will provide students the opportunity to experience a network of research not typically available to students at most American colleges and universities. Students with previous experience and a strong desire to continue in STEM areas will be recruited nationwide. To ensure a diverse group of students, the Site will interact with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (LSAMP) Program for the recruitment of students from underrepresented groups. The PI has experience in developing and directing iREU programs and the other members of the leadership team have been PIs of domestic REU Sites. Outstanding facilities and research support at the proposed locations ensure sufficient resources for participants.
The iREU site will expose students to the international community of science, allowing them to experience first-hand the collaborative nature of research between universities, national laboratories, and companies. Students will be immersed in a foreign culture, broadening their understanding of what it means to be an active participant in an international effort. By incorporating LSAMP and Xavier University, and by hosting its pre-departure meetings at a minority serving institution, the program will increase participation by underrepresented groups. Results will be disseminated through a proposed poster session abroad each summer, as well as publications and presentations at national and local conferences. Activities will be integrated with a new LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Program and several other NSF programs at these sites. Mentoring from a network of research mentors, iREU alumni, faculty at home institutions and current graduate students will be encouraged. Eventually, development of an exchange with French and Belgian undergraduate students working in US labs will extend the impact beyond this site, encouraging collaboration between European and US institutions.