The Wireless Institute, in its second year of running the Advanced Wireless Research Experience (AWaRE) for Undergraduates Program, saw an increase of 77% in total applications as compared with last year. This year represented a highly competitive applicant pool vying for the 10 coveted spots. The lucky participants will experience hands-on innovative research alongside faculty, graduate students, and staff associated with the Wireless Institute.
The AWaRE REU program offers 10 projects in wireless sensors, networking, robotics, UVA’s, and mobile computing. The program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF is particularly interested in increasing the numbers of women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities in research.
REU projects offer an opportunity to tap the nation’s diverse student talent pool and broaden participation in science and engineering. This year the AWaRE REU program received 11 applications from first-generation college students, two of whom are here this summer.
One of the benefits of an REU program is to provide a glimpse into a graduate program. Universities are always looking for qualified graduate students and an REU program provides that edge. Participants have the opportunity to be a part of the research process. Experiencing success and setbacks along the way, they see how their scope of works fits into the overall project.
One of the metrics used by the NSF for judging the success of the program includes evaluating the participants’ desire to attend graduate school in response to their REU experience. As an indication of success, one of the REU students who participated in the 2018 AWaRE REU program will be joining Notre Dame’s Electrical Engineering Graduate program in the fall of 2019. He is also a first-generation college student.
“We are very happy with the success of last years’ program, and what a great, diverse, pool of applicants we had this year, representing the four corners of the United States,” said Bert Hochwald, Principal Investigator of the REU Program. The program is scheduled to run through the summer of 2020, with a possible renewal to follow.