This award provides support for approximately 40 students to attend the 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, which will be held in Denver, Colorado, November 11-17, 2010. Students will be notified of the funding opportunity through a broadly circulated announcement, and they will be asked to submit a brief resume, a one-page explanation of why they want to attend the Congress and a supporting statement from their faculty advisor. Applicants will be selected for support by a group of faculty based on their interest in attending the Congress, their understanding of the opportunities that attendance offers, and the letter of support from their faculty advisor. Students will also be expected to present their research in a student poster symposium.
It is expected that this opportunity will enhance the education of the involved students, who will serve as role models for others as well. A goal in the selection of the students for support will include diversity, which will further enhance the benefits of this support.
The objective of the proposed effort was to provide an opportunity for excellent students to attend a major Mechanical Engineering conference, the 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (ASME-IMECE), and participate in the NSF Sponsored Student Poster Symposium. 110 student candidates responded to the broad award announcement by sending their application package. A jury of 10 faculty members reviewed the packages and selected the 40 best packages, which were granted a travel stipend through this NSF grant. The awardees attended the ASME-IMECE 2011 in Denver, CO, between the 11th and the 17th of November 2011, and presented their research work at the NSF Sponsored Student Poster Symposium held on November 16th, 2011. In terms of intellectual merit, the students were first required to prepare an application package, which included compiling an interesting curriculum vitae, writing a compelling essay on their motivations to attend the Symposium, summarizing their research results and securing support from their advisors. The awardees then had to organize their research findings and present them in an effective way for their poster to be attractive. During the symposium, the students had to reach out to a broad audience (the symposium was society-wide) and explain their current research progress. Thanks to the grant, the students were also able to attend a wide range of technical sessions, listen to one of the ~2,300 technical presentations given at the conference. In terms of broader impacts, the reviewers worked to ensure significant participation of underrepresented groups. Among the awardees, 11 were female (27.5%). The students came from a diverse set of institutions and geographic regions, and the NSF awardees were both undergraduate and graduate students. On top of the technical sessions, the ASME IMECE 2011 offered the students the opportunity to participate in sessions on Energy Grand Challenge, network with researchers in both academia and industry and attend a keynote event on Water and Energy scarcity.