This three year renewal REU Site program at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) will engage undergraduate students over ten weeks in research in a wide range of micro-manufacturing and additive manufacturing applications at MSOE's Centers for Excellence. Typical projects will mesh the fields of biology, chemistry, and medicine with mechanical, manufacturing, biomedical, electrical, computer and architectural engineering disciplines.

The overall objectives of the REU Site program are to: 1) provide integrated research opportunities for technically diverse groups of undergraduate students to experience the growing technological trends and opportunities in additive manufacturing (AM) leading to newly created, complex and miniature structures and models; 2) develop interdisciplinary approaches through research and development in AM with applications to biomedical, cellular, biomolecular, mechanical and other related science and engineering fields; 3) continue to foster diversity by recruiting of minorities, women, and students with disabilities; enabling them to become professional graduates with exceptional capabilities; 4) provide participants with service learning opportunities with high school students and teachers that will be on the MSOE campus in summer leading to sustained K-12 outreach; and 5) contribute real-world results and publications from their research projects in conjunction with faculty and industry collaborators.

In addition to their research projects, the students will participate in interdisciplinary group sessions and seminars,facility tours including a visit to a graduate school, powerpoint presentations, posters, and writing of research papers. At the end of the summer, students will present their research through final oral presentations and poster presentations before a wide MSOE audience and family and friends.

Recruitment efforts will be targeted to first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students nationwide, especially from second tier non Ph.D. granting institutions. Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority institutions will specifically be targeted to ensure 25% minority participation. Undergraduate students who participate in this REU program will be motivated to pursue graduate education.

With many high school teachers and students interacting on MSOE campus through K-12 outreach by the Project Lead the Way and the Center for Biomolecular Modeling activities, REU participants will have the unique opportunity to extend their research to include service to the K-12 schools while in the program. The participants will be able to make a case for their research serving the community at-large. They will also explore how their research can be shared with school children to make an impact on childrens pursuit of science and technology.

The REU final research papers and the DVD of final oral presentations will be made available to the MSOE library and the MSOE Rapid Prototyping library for all MSOE students and faculty to use in their courses. Research papers will be available on the REU website. All the participants will present their research work at a national conference such as the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and publish their papers in its proceedings.

Project Report

The REU program at MSOE has proven to be an ideal model for a good research experience. Please visit our frequently updated REU website for details. Projects under this grant (EEC-1062621) involved 21 students, 5 faculty advisors, 2 program support personnel, and multiple research and industrial partners from outside MSOE. In addition to the use of an interdisciplinary research environment and direct involvement with the advisors, the communication skills of REU participants have been enhanced through development of project abstracts, final research papers, participation in poster sessions, and PowerPoint presentations at the end of REU program, and direct participation in regional or national conferences. Twenty-one student papers have resulted during this grant period (09/2011-08/2014). The current program has attracted a technically diverse group of participants from all over the nation and we have purposefully extended outreach to outside MSOE, to the tune of67%. The current program has fulfilled its goal of diversity? 38% minorities and others and 52% women. REU participants visited UW-Milwaukee each year for a graduate school information day. These are great learning experiences for the REU participants as they learned how to complete graduate school application and how to finance the graduate program. The participants toured the facilities and were able to speak with professors in their fields of interest. Esther Bieszk (REU 2013) and Brandon Tomlin (IRES 2012) joined a REU status report luncheon meeting on July 9, 2014 and shared with the participants how they successfully entered graduate school. REU 2014 Poster presentation was attended by Carter Academy high school students and PLTW teachers besides MSOE faculty/staff. The synergistic intersection of these various groups is contagious. Courtney Kodweis (REU 2012) won the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, offered by New York state, which is bestowed on only a small number of outstanding students. The REU program continues to have a significant impact on participants’ interest in graduate school, (59% of those who graduated with a baccalaureate degree have pursued graduate school). For example, Esther Bieszk (REU 2013) has received a research assistantship to pursue a Ph.D. degree in biomedical at Marquette University, beginning in the Fall 2014. All students are involved in research. They have credited the REU program as a primary motivator for their interest in research and further education. The PI’s collaboration with Dr. Parrish of Northwestern University yielded successive REU projects with Sung Kwon (REU 2008) creating an additively manufactured 1:1 replica of Dr. Parrish’s brain distinguishing grey and white matter from MRI medical image files. Tyler Capek (REU 2012) included diffusion tensor imaging in the processing for a brain model with greater detail and complexity. Each of the brain’s major structures was displayed in the left hemisphere of the brain model and the right hemisphere displayed the white matter connections between each of these structures. Neurosurgeons use the full model (shown here) to describe the anatomy of the brain, the specifics of a particular treatment or procedure, and how an ailment affects their patients. Esther Bieszk (REU 2013) attempted to create a model that could be used for simulation and MRI testing and outlined the process and produced a few parts such as flexible membranes and sacs that mimic brain functions. The project is quite complicated and currently a simpler model has been designed and manufactured by Jen Bateman (REU 2014). Jen’s prototype shows the brain and CSF in the ventricles and subarachnoid space. Testing of this model by incorporating a peristaltic pump and by conducting functionality tests under MRI will be the goal of the renewal REU site project. This research area is an example of systematic program to advance discovery. While Jen will be a senior this academic year, the others are already pursuing Ph.D. degrees, two in biomedical engineering and Tyler in Physics. After presenting at the Argonne National Laboratory Undergraduate Research Symposium on November 7, 2014, the REU participants visited the Neuroscience Imaging Laboratory of Northwestern University on November 8, 2014 and received a half-day seminar on the MRI fundamentals and instrumentation. REU 2012 participants presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at La Corsse, WI (April 2013) and REU 2013 participants did the same at the NCUR, Lexington, KY (April 2014). MSOE REU is alive and well with emphasis on creativity, innovation and discovery impacting the participants’ long-term professional advancement. In External Evaluator, Dr. Watson's words: "I have been frankly amazed at the rich learning experience provided to the students participating in it. I have observed that the faculty and staff involved employing best practice pedagogy and assessment strategies, which have resulted in impressive achievement of the program’s student learning goals. The work I have observed accomplished by the participating undergraduates in the current 10-week immersion program has been nothing short of phenomenal, exceeding what students in some graduate programs might achieve."

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
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Esther Bolding
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Milwaukee School of Engineering
United States
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