Aerospace engineering hosted 23 for undergraduate research program in Summer 2011

This summer the Department of Aerospace Engineering hosted 23 students for the Undergraduate Student Research Grant (USRG) program and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

In addition to the 15 students from Texas A&M University’s aerospace engineering department, eight students from other universities participated. This year, participating universities included Baylor University, Texas Southern University, Texas Tech University, University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Purdue University, University of Houston, Northwestern College and the University of Puerto Rico. Aerospace REU Participants

Spanning 10 weeks, students completed cutting-edge academic research in state-of-the-art facilities to develop the students’ interests in materials-related research in order to generate enthusiasm for advanced studies in these areas. Students studied many aspects and applications of materials, including shape memory alloys, aeroelasticity in turbomachinery, nanoscale fire-retardant coatings, and fabrication techniques for composite materials intended for micro air vehicles.

Students also attended presentation skills workshops, made a formal poster presentation of their research experience at the end of the program and submitted a final written report describing the results of their research. Students earned one credit hour of an independent study.

Field trips to materials labs at Texas A&M and to NASA Johnson Space Center provided students with a better understanding of how theory, methods and research are connected with real-world problems. The field trips also allowed for extended one-on-one contact with faculty, during which students had the opportunity to discuss graduate education and a career in detail outside of a formally structured advising situation.

REU is funded by the National Science Foundation and USRG is funded by the Dwight Look College of Engineering. This REU site centers on the topic of Multifunctional Material Systems at Texas A&M University and included faculty members from the chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering departments. Both USRG and REU programs have a primary goal to increase interest in research and encourage students to continue on to graduate studies for those undergraduates who may not otherwise be considering graduate school.