Research Experience for Undergraduates in Underground Infrastructure

The Research Experience for Undergraduates in Underground Infrastructure offers undergraduate students the unique opportunity to explore underground infrastructure and perform research in a multidisciplinary environment. Colorado School of Mines, Lehigh University, and CSULA work collaboratively to offer this REU program. This REU NSF site provides a dynamic research environment to a select cohort of students over a 10-week long summer program.

PROGRAM INFORMATION

What is Underground Infrastructure?

Underground infrastructure refers to any physical infrastructure that is placed beneath the surface and includes underground transportation (e.g., roads and highways, subways, freight and passenger rail), underground utilities (e.g., water, power, gas, communications, water and waste management), building foundations, and any other structures built underground. Underground infrastructure can make a significant contribution to sustainability by preserving natural surface resources, reducing air pollution related to transportation, creating opportunities for less energy use and waste generation, and creating structures more resilient to catastrophic events. The faculty members participating in this REU site proposal are affiliated with four different academic departments and collaboratively perform interdisciplinary research focused on underground infrastructure.  

Program Details

This NSF-funded collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is offered by the Colorado School of Mines, Lehigh University, and California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). The objective of the REU program are to (1) attract, engage, and educate undergraduate students from institutions in underground construction and engineering research; (2) offer hands-on high-quality research experience in state-of-the-art laboratory and computing facilities in combination with a series of professional development activities; and (3) motivate undergraduate students to pursue and prepare themselves to succeed in advanced degrees in STEM, with an emphasis on women and minorities.  

Twelve undergraduate students will participate in this ten-week REU program each summer. By engaging a diverse group of students in cutting-edge research, we aim to provide a stimulating opportunity and an impactful program to educate and train future globally competitive researchers in the underground infrastructure area. The REU students will work collaboratively with their mentors to advance fundamental research and field applications, which in addition will help students find a permanent set of mentors to aid in the pursuit of their STEM careers. 

Nature of our REU site on Underground Infrastructure

This REU NSF site will provide a dynamic research environment to a cohort of students over a 10-week long summer program. Colorado School of Mines, Lehigh University, and CSULA will collaboratively offer this REU program. We will provide a diverse cohort of undergraduate students, especially those from underrepresented groups with limited research opportunities, with a unique opportunity to explore underground infrastructure and perform research in a multidisciplinary environment. The objectives of this REU program are as follows:  

  • Attract, engage, and educate undergraduate students from institutions that have limited research activities in underground construction and engineering research. 
  • Offer hands-on high-quality research experience in state-of-the-art laboratory and computing facilities in combination with a series of professional development activities. 
  • Motivate undergraduate students to pursue and prepare themselves to succeed in advanced degrees in STEM, with an emphasis on women and minorities. 

We have defined five primary student learning outcomes (SLOs) for this collaborative REU site. These outcomes are the foundation of our program’s design and assessment plan.  

SLO1: Match appropriate research methodologies to research questions and apply these methodologies to advance fundamental knowledge. 

SLO2: Meet standards for the responsible conduct of research. 

SLO3: Develop effective communication and problem-solving skills by working collaboratively with other researchers, writing scientific papers, and making presentations in research meetings. 

SLO4: Discuss confidently the construction, inspection, maintenance, sustainability, and resilience aspects of underground infrastructure with experts in the field. 

SLO5: Clarify their educational and career interests and obtain increased awareness and interest in graduate school and other research opportunities within STEM. 

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Application Timeline

Applications open: December 1, 2020

Applications close: March 1, 2021

Application review begins: February 15, 2021

REU dates: June 1, 2021 through August 6, 2021

Please note, the application end date has been extended from an initial deadline of February 1, 2021 to the currently listed date, March 1, 2021. Late applications will not be eligible for review. All applications must be submitted according the the timeline listed above. Please prepare all necessary application materials ahead of time.

Needed Materials for Applying

Before applying, please make sure you have thoroughly read this page and gathered all necessary documentation and information. Students must provide the following:

    • Background information including the college(s) you attended, your GPA, and credits earned.
    • Two letters of recommendation (see “Recommendation Letter Guidance” below), preferably from professors or supervisors who know your academic abilities and work ethic.
    • A ranking of the projects of interest posted under “Project Descriptions” in order of preference.
    • A ranking of the three project sites (i.e., Colorado School of Mines, Lehigh University, and California State University Los Angeles) in order of preference.
    • Answers to several brief essay questions about your goals and experiences as an undergraduate student.
    • (Optional) Unofficial transcripts, resume, and other scholarly undergraduate work.

Applications for the 2021 REU Summer Program will close March 1, 2021Letters of recommendation are also due at that time.

STUDENT APPLICATION

 

Recommendation Letter Guidance

Each student applying needs two letters of recommendation submitted via the Recommendation Letter Form by the application deadline of February 1, 2021. Each student who applies is responsible for informing their letter writers of the Recommendation Letter Form and asking them to complete it by the deadline. 

RECOMMENDATION FORM

For More Information

If you have any questions about the application process or listed projects, please send an email to undergroundreu@mines.edu.  We will be happy to answer your questions. 

Eligiblity

The application is open to U.S. Citizen and Permanent Resident students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.  

Women, veterans, and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering (including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders) are encouraged to apply to the REU program.

Benefits

Selected REU participants will receive: 

  • Travel funds to and from the research facility.
  • A housing subsidy to help with living expenses.
  • A research stipend of $600/week for their summer work.
  • Invaluable research and career experience alongside a faculty mentor and graduate student researcher.
Contact

If you have any questions about the application process or listed projects, please send an email to undergroundreu@mines.edu.  We will be happy to answer your questions.