Project Details


This three-year REU Site program at Pennsylvania State University, University Park will focus on research in Chemical Energy Storage and Conversion. Ten undergraduate students each year will engage in hands-on research that will help them develop the skills needed for the critical evaluation of these technologies and a deeper understanding of the research process. The REU participants will also have the opportunity to interact and learn from the large number of undergraduates who will be conducting summer research at the university.

In addition to the research experience, REU students will be engaged in a series of educational meetings focused on the following topics: 1) Laboratory Safety and Right-to-Know laws; 2) Maintaining a high-quality laboratory notebook; 3) Library services, electronic databases, and citation indices; and 4) Statistical analysis of experimental data. Social activities will be an integral part of the students' experience with the goal of building friendships and collegiality between the students and faculty mentors. Students will be guided through a series of written and oral presentation steps that will provide them with the background they need to create a 'virtual poster'- a multimedia presentation of their research that can be shared via the web. This virtual poster will also be transportable, allowing REU students to share their work with students and faculty at their home universities, project collaborators, and future REU participants. Finally, the Principal Investigator (PI) will use the virtual posters as a recruiting tool for future REU applicants.

What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

The goal of this REU Site program is to attract an outstanding and highly diverse group of students nationwide. Recruitment efforts will be done at a number of targeted natural and physical science programs at smaller (primarily Liberal Arts) institutions, including Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, Lincoln University, and Juniata. In addition, efforts will be made to attract students from smaller schools like Bucknell, Villanova, and Lafayette that have undergraduate engineering programs but limited graduate research activities. Participants in the program will be motivated and encouraged to pursue graduate study.

The increasing realization of diminishing fossil and fuel resources, coupled with the challenge of energy security and environmental impact of energy consumption, are motivating extensive research efforts in improving and developing new energy storage and conversion technologies. Pennsylvania State University is at the forefront in research in alternative energy technology, with a university wide initiative to take a leadership role in energy-related research.

Effective start/end date5/15/104/30/13


  • National Science Foundation: $270,113.00


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