Strategic use of summer undergraduate research experiences Conference Paper uri icon


  • Participation in undergraduate research before completion of a bachelor's degree provides many benefits for students and faculty. One such benefit is the increased likelihood of pursuing a graduate education. Coordinators of undergraduate research programs play an important role in facilitating this transition by providing resources (e.g. seminars, workshops, speakers) and maintaining communications during and after the research program. Graduate recruiters and faculty have a similarly important role of recruiting these students to their university/program by communicating with students who have participated in summer research at their university and the undergraduates at their university who have participated in summer research elsewhere. The College of Engineering (COE) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) uses this graduate recruitment model through the Undergraduate Summer Research Grant (USRG) Program. The USRG is modeled after and designed to satisfy the objectives of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU); however, funding is provided by the College of Engineering. Not only are domestic undergraduates considered, but also international undergraduates. The USRG is unique in that it serves as an umbrella to other summer research programs within the COE at varying levels such as recruitment, coordination of professional development seminars, and assessments. Summer research programs include the NSF-REUs, NSF-REU supplements, and students funded through their respective departments (e.g. faculty, department heads). Providing an umbrella service relieves departments and REU PIs from the burden of creating (or recreating) an organized program and creates a broader community among students. We have implemented strategies that have successfully expanded our USRG pool of applicants, diversified institutional representation of applicants, broadened departmental participation, and increased the number of students engaged in research. Thus, the purpose of this paper is threefold. First, we examine the coordination aspect of the USRG and how it successfully serves as an umbrella to other summer research programs such as the REUs. Second, we summarize descriptive and demographic data collected over the past five years on applicants, participants, and alumni. Lastly, we propose a graduate recruitment model for summer research programs to use. 2012 American Society for Engineering Education.

published proceedings

  • ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Pariyothorn, M., & Autenrieth, R. L.

complete list of authors

  • Pariyothorn, M||Autenrieth, RL

publication date

  • January 2012