FACULTY: Want an Extra Pair of Hands in the Lab This Summer? How About a Bright Young Brain, Too?

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)

is looking for more University of Cincinnati (UC) faculty who can provide summer research opportunities to undergraduate women interested in science, technology, engineering, math or medicine (STEMM) disciplines. The host faculty member provides a research topic and work area. The

Research Experiences for Women Undergraduates (REWU)

program provides assistance through weekly coaching sessions with the students.

The REWU program, now in its twelfth year, is directed by Urmila Ghia, professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Undergraduates are paired with faculty

mentors

and receive a stipend for their work in the lab,” says Ghia. “The students also receive coaching and instruction in areas such as preparing reports and making presentations that are beneficial both to their college careers as well as to their professional careers.”

For the participating faculty, this is, in turn, an opportunity to interact one on one with a bright undergraduate, to gain more than 400 hours of work from an additional team member, and to get just a little closer to their research goals — such as cataloguing, publication or a patent application.

The WISE students are paid a stipend to work in the faculty member's lab (or research site) full time for 12 weeks. Half of the stipend comes from central university funds, most recently, from the Office of the Vice President of Research. The remaining half comes from the participating faculty mentor's department, the faculty mentor or some combination thereof. The faculty member may use funding from such sources as National Science Foundation (NSF) awards, National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards, for example, to provide the matching funds for the undergraduate student researcher.

Wells-Walker and Larrabee were the first WISE participants ever from UC's Clermont College.

Wells-Walker and Larrabee were the first WISE participants ever from UC's Clermont College.

Some UC faculty members have used funding from such sources as NSF CAREER awards to enable them to bring in the undergraduate student researcher, as educational outreach is an important part of CAREER awards.

And now the Undergraduate Research Council (URC) has announced an opportunity for students to obtain fellowships to conduct summer research in UC labs. (The URC grant would supplant the source of funding for the faculty member and would not augment the amount of money received by the student.) The

URC Fellowships

would enable more students and faculty to participate in the REWU, if they so choose, in order to take advantage of the additional professional coaching under the WISE program.

Chen Yin is a neuroscience/biology major.

Chen Yin is a neuroscience/biology major.

“One of the points of participating in the WISE program is to share the joy of real research,” says Cliff Larrabee, associate professor of science, math and engineering at Clermont College. Larrabee is the first faculty member from Clermont College to participate in the WISE REWU program. His 2009 student, Michele Wells-Walker, a pre-pharmacy student, assisted him in his clathrate research, taking him closer to his goals of publication and patent application.

“At the time, it was not obvious to me even what a good decision it was,” Larrabee points out. In addition to feeling good about showing a student what research was really like, Larabee noted that he found himself motivated as well. “I got more done last summer than any comparable time period since I’ve been a professor.”

Here are some of the projects already submitted:

  • Aerospace engineering — acoustic liners in fans
  • Anthropology — biomechanics of infant carrying
  • Biology — plants, snakes, agriculture, frogs, butterflies (in the Rocky Mountains)
  • Biomedical engineering — enhancing capillary formation of diabetic endothelial cells
  • Chemical and materials engineering — nanomaterials, optical fibers
  • Chemistry — solar energy, converting biomass-derived carbohydrates to ethylene glycol
  • Communication science — cochlear implants
  • Geology — x-ray fluorescence and other analyses of paleosediments, fieldwork in southwest Ohio
  • Math — modeling and simulation of biological systems using MATLAB
  • Pediatrics — mechanisms of immunosuppression in HIV/AIDS, neonatal brachial plexux injury, pathogenesis of asthma
  • Physics — neurite outgrowth on carbon nanotube threads for neurite regeneration

Don’t see your department on the list? Contact Professor Urmila Ghia at 513-556-4612.

Jones talked to high-school students about her research as part of her summer program.

Jones talked to high-school students about her research as part of her summer program.

Suggestions for matching funds sources can be found on the Office of Research Sponsored Research Services Web page.
 
Here are some potential funding opportunities from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health:

Too late to plan a project for this summer? Start seeking funding now for summer 2011.

To submit a project for consideration, contact Professor Urmila Ghia at 513-556-4612 after preparing a one- or two-paragraph description of the research project for posting on the WISE Web page for prospective applicants to see and include in their selection in their application.

Related News

Urmila Ghia has won many awards, including the George Barbour award for faculty-student relations in 2007 and the Just Community award in 2001.

Urmila Ghia has won many awards, including the George Barbour award for faculty-student relations in 2007 and the Just Community award in 2001.

Make Money for Being a WISE Woman — Apply Now!

Study cannibalistic butterflies in the Rocky Mountains, flamed synthesis of nanomaterials, mathematical modeling using MATLAB or any one of the other dozens of projects available.

Apply Now for Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Two months of summer stipend support is now available to undergraduate students interested in research.

For further information regarding the WISE REWU program, go to the

WISE Web site

or contact

Prof. Urmila Ghia at 513-556-4612

.

The Research Experiences for Women Undergraduates Program is sponsored by the Women in Science and Engineering program, the Office of the Vice President of Research with additional administrative support provided by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost.

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