This Site is jointly funded by the Divisions of Chemistry and Materials Research in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate.

ON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION. The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in Materials Science offers a unique opportunity for undergraduate (UG) students from across the nation to visit New York City and engage in a 10-week research program at a consortium of campuses at the City University of New York (CUNY), namely Lehman College, City College and the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. The main objectives of the program are to 1) Introduce UG students to interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research methodologies in materials science, 2) Provide meaningful research experiences that integrate cutting-edge research with career planning and 21st century “soft skills”, 3) Create an environment where students become part of a broader community of scientists to cultivate a sense of achievement and excitement, 4) Increase the awareness of career opportunities in science and engineering, and 5) Develop a culture of effective faculty mentorship. Participating faculty attend an annual mentors workshop centered on a collaborative mentoring model and focus on recruiting students from underrepresented groups. The activities help students grow as independent scientists and expand their interests to include careers in materials research where they will be employed in industry, academia or the private sector.

Technical Abstract

REU site centers on the development of novel materials with chemical and biological applications in academic and industrial settings including electronics, energy, drug delivery and sensor technology. Projects are in one of two main areas: 1) The design of hard materials; two-dimensional doped semiconductors for opto- electronic devices, hybrid II-VI and III-V multiple quantum well/quantum dots for high-performance solar cells, CdSe ultra-small clusters for efficient energy storage and mobile Janus particles for applications as self-propelling particles. 2) The study of soft materials that self-assemble; quantum liquids for applications as environmental solutions, peptides that form proton transfer membranes for fuel cell applications, peptidic nanofibers for medical applications, sol-gels as anticorrosion materials and nanopatterning of organic hybrid materials for applications in both nanotechnology and medicine. Student participants obtain technical training, conduct independent research on an interdisciplinary project with two faculty mentors, write weekly research reports, engage in weekly meetings that alternate between research presentations and “soft-skill” workshops, present their research findings at a research symposium with students from City College and Columbia University and participate in outreach activities with the local Bronx middle and high schools to promote scientific awareness in the community and address the national need for development and understanding of advanced materials to further technology, energy and health applications.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Lynnette Madsen
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Research Foundation of the City University of New York (Lehman)
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