The primary author has been the principal investigator of the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation for the past twenty years. Reflecting on the most recent projects, the authors present some keys to success at the undergraduate level, especially with the limitation of only a 10-week duration for the summer research enterprise. With a clear designation of an individual project to be passionately owned by a participant, ensuring success by each participant warrants many ingredients to be in place and the cooperation of various constituents at the right time and pace. In the grand scheme of this research experience, the participant develops and grows, bringing the wholeness to the purpose for which the program exists. Some fascinating observations of the summer undergraduate research program are presented as key ingredients to the success. These include but are not limited to collaboration, synergy, progression and perseverance.
The work includes two streams: brain modeling projects over several years under Dr. Kumpaty’s advisement in collaboration with Dr. Parrish of Northwestern University and cell proliferation projects conducted by Dr. Paliwal with various REU students from year to year. Thee sustainable concepts are interwoven throughout the discussion. The most important feature of MSOE REU is the fact that undergraduate researchers conduct a unique project on an individual basis with the help of a faculty advisor and the cohort works in an interdisciplinary setting throughout the 10-week program in summer.