This three year REU Site award will engage 10 undergraduate students in research focuses in computational and experimental multi-scale physics in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. The objectives of this REU are to: (1) Involve a total of ten students, for ten-weeks in each of three summers, in three key research areas of multi-scale physics (solid mechanics, fluid and plasma dynamics, system dynamics and control); (2) Encourage participation of students from underrepresented minorities, which includes females; (3) Provide information on graduate school and encourage students to apply; (4) Provide opportunities for REU students to present and publish with faculty and collaborate beyond the summers if possible; and (5) Provide networking and community-building opportunities among REU, TAMU students, and faculty.
The project will enable access to limited research opportunities in multi-scale physics. Specific research areas include plasma flow physics and electromagnetic space propulsion systems, novel turbulence physics models, and hypersonic flow physics. Many of these areas are critical to national goals, USA leadership in space exploration, future aerospace transportation needs, and homeland security, in addition to connecting to current research and challenges faced by engineering on a global level.
The program also seeks to enhance and diversify the pool of talented students considering research careers in multi-scale physics by enabling access for women and underrepresented groups to aerospace engineering research. Participating students will be involved in research that can contribute to increased understanding of meso-scale and multi-scale physics and new approaches to modeling such phenomena. Faculty and student mentors will work closely with the College of Engineering's Institute of Engineering Education and Innovation on ensuring the experience includes aspects of multi-disciplinary design, experiential learning, systems thinking/engineering, and professional development for the students. In addition, the students will be a part of a larger group of undergraduate researchers through our collaboration with the College of Engineering's Undergraduate Summer Research Grant program, which works with in excess of 60 students each summer. Students who complete the program will be tracked through professional and social networking sites (Linked-In, Facebook, etc.). After participating, REU students will receive information they can use in recruiting for the REU or for outreach visits that they can initiate on their own and continue keeping this access to the careers open. Participating students will be required to display their posters and recruit future REU students at their home institutions, i.e., practice each one, reach one and teach one.