This three year REU site program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)will engage ten undergraduate students each year in research focused in the area of neural engineering. The objectives of the REU program are: 1) to facilitate broad interaction, the program will have scheduled meetings with student researchers, faculty mentors, and graduate student coaches twice a week and 2) to ensure consistent interaction, the PIs will work with graduate student coaches to initiate impromptu meetings with student researchers in their laboratory environment. These interactions should ultimately facilitate more self-directed learning on the part of the student, as a level of independence is certainly critical to professional development. In addition, a schedule of seminars, workshops, and activities are planned to promote professional development in the areas of career plans and industrial research, graduate student research, ethics, preparing poster and manuscripts, and information literacy. Participants will be encouraged to attend regional conferences such as the IEEE Northeast Bioengineering Conference, a premier local venue for student research presentation and larger conferences such as the Biomedical Engineering Society annual meeting that features dedicated undergraduate summer research presentations. Finally, at the faculty mentors discretion, publications will be targeted to scientific journals when projects excel to that level.

Broader Impacts Recruitment efforts will target undergraduate students from colleges that are focused primarily in undergraduate education. Special emphasis will be placed on recruiting at least two students each year who are disabled. Students from institutions without Biomedical Engineering (BME) programs will be encouraged to apply as long as they have completed fundamental engineering coursework and express research interests relevant to the proposed projects. Relationships have been fostered with Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) to facilitate recruitment of students with few research opportunities. In particular, the Principal Investigators have arranged to recruit from Rose-Hulman, Bucknell University, and the College of New Jersey.

Project Report

ran for three years from 2012-2014. Our objectives were to: 1) Introduce and encourage undergraduate engineering majors to pursue advanced degrees in the area of neural engineering. To offer exciting and challenging research opportunities for students at all levels to explore new territory in bioengineering and neuroscience. 2) Prepare students for productive careers in research—either in academia or industry. In particular introduce students to the research process, mentor students to become independent, intellectual thinkers and teach the art of dissemination. Our REU students learned and practiced effective presentation skills through weekly meetings, participated in the NJIT Summer Research Showcase, and attended the Biomedical Engineering Society Scientific Conference. 3) Provide opportunities and mentoring for students with disabilities. The program was very successful in achieving its goal. The highlights are: The extreme interest in our REU site. We had 831 applicants and 468 applicants had over a 3.5 GPA! Our selection process was very selective. We had 30 outstanding students from across the country participate in teams for 13 projects. We paired REU students into research teams. This was a very successful approach and we believe had a large impact on the quality and success of the research projects. 12 projects and 27 students presented their projects at the 2012 BMES Society Meeting in Atlanta, GA, the 2013 BMES Society Meeting in Seattle WA, and the 2014 BMES Society Meeting in San Antonio, TX. We had 2 students with a disclosed disability participate in the program. We created an ethics workshop that can be utilized in future REU and undergraduate research programs. We created dissemination workshops that lead to successful dissemination of REU results and valuable training to the REU students. Provided training and mentoring opportunities for 12 graduate student mentors.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
Application #
Program Officer
Mary Poats
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Rutgers University
United States
Zip Code