The REU Site is co-funded by the Department of Defense in partnership with the NSF REU program. This award supports a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site led by Professors Robert J. Twieg and Torsten Hegmann both at Kent State University. The Site is located in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI) at Kent State University (KSU). The research projects supported at this Site entitled, "Liquid Crystals and Advanced Materials", brings a diverse group of students from two year and four year institutions in various parts of the country to KSU to interact with a local cohort of KSU students. Mentors work closely with these students as they pursue scientific discovery involving advanced materials from liquid crystals and soft condensed matter physics to biomaterials. The students will participate in all aspects of the scientific process, from design and execution of their project to interpretation and dissemination of research results, all in a cooperative and collegial atmosphere.
Early participation in a research experience has been identified as an important component of student engagement in science. The provision of a unique first research experience is at the heart of this REU program, which will have a lasting impact on this group of students. Aside from exposure to a multidisciplinary research culture, this experience will create new friendships, networks, and aspirations that will endure long after the summer is completed. This REU Program will directly impact both science success and people success. There will be immediate science productivity enhanced by the participation of these new scientists and a still larger long-term impact as they evolve into their own distinct pursuits.