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Scientific research extends beyond just the topic being studied. It requires the cultivation of additional skills, including working on interdisciplinary teams, writing a research paper, presentation of scientific material, and even entrepreneurship. The Imaging in the Physical Sciences REU program has a broad array of activities for our students beyond the high quality research projects they will engage in the research laboratories. These activities are designed to draw the undergraduates into a family of researchers, to encourage their retention in STEM, to help them acquire the skills they will need to be successful in a STEM career, and to expose them to a full range of STEM opportunities.
Introduction to Imaging Science
To introduce our summer REU students to the interdisciplinary field of imaging science and help them place their summer research projects in context, each student will receive the book, "The Science of Imaging: An Introduction," by Graham Saxby, and each week, in a journal club format over a pizza lunch, we will conduct a high level discussion of a chapter of the book. Guest lectures will include topics on vision, optical illusions, and remote sensing.
Developing Research Skills
All of the REU summer students will participate in a 30 minute presentation on their specific research project three times during the course of the summer. Mentors will be present to help answer questions and participate in the discussions.
All of the summer REU students present the results of their research in RIT’s yearly undergraduate research seminar in August. Roughly one hundred students present at this seminar each year, where faculty from across RIT as well as industry representatives serve as evaluators and judges. Awards are given for the best presentations, and all students who present receive written feedback on their presentations, covering both content and style.
Grant Writing and Exposure at National Conferences
Each REU student gets experience in and feedback on a 1-2 page research travel grant request they write that can be used by the student, subsequently, to propose to present their results at a national conference. Funds are provided in support of the students so they they may present at a national conference during the course of the school year. Faculty mentors help their student select an appropriate conference.
As the culminating product of their Summer REU project experience, each student writes a 5 page research paper summarizing the results of their research, in publication format. This paper is reviewed by external advisors, and feedback is provided directly to the student and his/her faculty advisor. The paper serves as the initial version of a paper that will subsequently be submitted for publication in a journal.
The papers produced each summer are bound together in a single volume, and distributed to each of the students and their home institution department chairs.
Real World Science: Entrepreneurship
Nearly everyone thinks about starting his or her own company. Throughout the 10 weeks of the REU program, students will learn about the phases of startups, negotiation tactics, patenting, funding, and other aspects of this process. They will be encouraged to explore this important career path, and will have an opportunity to discuss topics with experienced entrepreneurs.