Research Experiences for Undergraduates:
Synthesis, Assembly and Characterization of Soft Matter
Program Dates: May 29 – August 4, 2017
The objective of the NSF supported REU site at Cleveland State University is to involve sophomore and junior physics and engineering majors in meaningful interdisciplinary research projects within soft matter science/engineering in order to encourage them to continue in STEM as either graduate students or workforce members. Soft matter is a group of materials that includes liquids, colloids, polymers, gels, and biological materials. Soft matter researchers combine physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering to study the unique properties and applications of these materials. Each participating student will work for 10 weeks directly with a faculty advisor in the nurturing and collaborative atmosphere of CSU’s Department of Physics and Department of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering.
REU participants will conduct original research via specially designed student projects within three main foci: 1) Microgel and Hydrogel Nanoparticles: Designing environmentally sensitive nanoparticles for a variety of applications and fundamental studies of volume phase transitions; 2) Anisotropic Soft Matter Thin Films: Driving self-assembly of soft matter to develop thin films with unique properties tied to the shape anisotropy of the materials; and 3) Soft Matter Fluid Flow: Striving to better understand and to improve mixing in liquid soft matter systems and use liquid flow to test and understand biological phenomena.
CSU’s focus on Engaged Learning has cultivated a strong culture of support for undergraduate research. REU participants will benefit from one-on-one mentoring from experienced faculty and a variety of professional development opportunities. Students will be supported through: a) a weekly “science seminar” introducing students to the multifaceted nature of soft matter research and careers in research; b) a weekly “student seminar” with informal student updates and formal student presentations; c) a final poster presentation at the Northeast Ohio NSF-REU Undergraduate Research Conference; d) travel support for presentation at a regional/national conference after REU; e) development of a long-term relationship with a scientific mentor; and f) a multitude of REU social activities to help develop networks among REU students as well as with student researchers from CSU and other REUs in Northeast Ohio.
Support: $5000 stipend (for 10 weeks; housing provided at no charge); up to $500 travel funds to CSU; $500 conference travel funds after completion of REU.
Eligibility: current undergraduate students who are US citizens and permanent residents. Underrepresented minorities and women are encouraged to apply.