Students at Texas A&M this summer for nanomaterials research

Nate Miller, a Texas A&M aerospace engineering major, researches using composites to optimize unmanned aerial vehicles.Eleven undergraduate students from Texas A&M University and San Jose State University are spending their summers in the lab conducting nanotechnology and materials systems research.Three departments in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University - the Department of Aerospace Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering - are currently hosting the students who are taking part in Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)/Undergraduate Student Research Grant (USRG).Six Texas A&M students and one San Jose State University aerospace engineering student are participating in the nanomaterials REU, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Four more students are involved with the USRG, which is funded by the Look College.The REU and the USRG aim to increase interest in research and continuing on to graduate studies in portions of the undergraduate population that may not be considering it.Texas A&M aerospace engineering majors Nate Miller and Kyle Benson research improving performance of unmanned aerial vehicles through the use of advanced 3-D modeling, state-of-the-art composite materials and new cost effective means of fabrication. These students are mentored by Texas A&M faculty member Dr. John Whitcomb.The program spans 10 weeks in the summer and involves students Texas A&M as well as students from other colleges and universities. Each student works closely with graduate students and faculty members on current research projects, attends presentation skills workshops, makes a formal poster presentation of their research experience at the end of the program, and submit a final written report describing the results of their research. Students are given a stipend for their time in REU, as well as a housing allowance and tuition for one credit hour of and independent study.One of the goals for the REU program is to reach out to students who may have never been exposed to the academic research process. Underrepresented minorities and women are also strongly encouraged to participate in REU in which students experience the excitement of cutting-edge academic research in state-of-the-art facilities to develop the students' interests in engineering sciences. The students are integrated into the nanomaterials-related research groups to generate enthusiasm for advanced studies in these areas.More than half of the students that have participated in REU in the past four years have gone on to graduate school, and nine journal and conference publications have resulted from the research in which the REU students have been involved.For more information on the students involved in this REU, please visit