National Science Foundation grant establishes REU site in advanced manufacturing
The National Science Foundation has awarded Texas State University a three-year, $392,000 grant to establish a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site that will be among the first in Texas to focus on advanced manufacturing.
The REU Site, a collaboration between the Department of Engineering Technology and the Ingram School of Engineering, will expose undergraduate students to interdisciplinary research related to advanced manufacturing systems, materials and processes. Advanced manufacturing is a strategic area of research expected to play a crucial role in positioning the U.S. manufacturing sector as a world leader.
The project will bring in 10 undergraduates each summer from across the nation with an emphasis on recruiting women and underrepresented groups.
"We've already started the program and have our first 10 students on campus this summer," said Farhad Ameri, a professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, who serves as principal investigator (PI). Meysam Khaleghian, an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, will serve as co-PI. "The grant was awarded in May, so we had only two weeks to advertise, interview and select the students. In a matter of five days we received 40 applications from all over the country. A lot of the applications came from research universities, like Clemson or Virginia Tech or the University of Texas in Austin. That shows it's a very attractive program for students."Students accepted to the program will receive mentorship and participate in research to develop novel techniques based on machine learning, simulation and sensor technologies to improve the robustness, efficiency and accuracy of robotic systems. They will work to develop innovative data-driven methods for control and monitoring of manufacturing assets and processes supported by industrial Internet of Things standards and technologies. Other areas of research in the REU includes characterization of mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of 3D printed nanocomposites and the development of advanced techniques based on micro and nanotechnology for prototyping microdevices.
The REU site will establish an innovative model for training the next generation of researchers in advanced manufacturing. A combination of data-driven, physics-based and experimental research techniques will provide students with a solid basis for undertaking research challenges in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Industrial sponsors, Tokyo Electron and Commercial Metal Company, will provide guest speakers and provide site visits to the undergraduates, and evaluate student presentations at the conclusion of the program.
"One of our goals is to give the students a chance to expand their career opportunities via networking," Ameri said. "We want to keep them in STEM areas. One of the objectives is to help them follow a career in advanced manufacturing. The other is to help them pursue graduate school or graduate programs in manufacturing."
For more information, visit https://nsfreu.wp.txstate.edu.