Cornell University operates a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site affiliated with its NSF-funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. The REU Site offers research opportunities for undergraduate students in a wide variety of materials-related topics; the understanding and control of materials in the nanoscale is the common thread of the research programs. Twenty undergraduate students are recruited every year for a ten-week summer research experience. The REU Site actively promotes the participation of women and students from underrepresented groups and from predominantly undergraduate institutions. In addition to participating in individual research projects, students attend weekly technical seminars and career workshops, and participate in collective social activities.
Through participation in the summer activities, students in the program are afforded a wider perspective on research than they might see as part of their regular undergraduate studies. This familiarity with different perspectives on scientific research helps them to understand the many different pathways leading to a career in science and engineering research.