Coordination of the Chemistry REU Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Mark A. Griep, Marilyne Stains, Jonathan Velasco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


During its first six years, the summer research program in chemical assembly at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln trained 50 students to think like researchers, to communicate science to different audiences, and choose a career path that is aligned with their personal goals. The participants are selected using a two-filter model in which applicants are first chosen for features including being from a non-research university, GPA greater than 3.0, U.S. citizenship, and class standing at the sophomore or junior level. The second filter involves gathering information from each file to find students who would benefit the most from a research experience. Factors that weigh heaviest are student intent to go to graduate school, personal statements about career plans, and no or few prior research experiences. Once at UNL, our model is to develop reciprocal relationships between each summer researcher, faculty advisor, and graduate student mentor. Although these relationship triangles share common features, they are tailored to the specific experiences of each student because over 90% of the student's time is spent doing research. An innovative feature of our program is that each cohort of students competes in a poster contest for funds to travel to a national or regional meeting. As such, students attend workshops devoted to communicating science. They learn how to communicate with scientists by creating a poster and how to communicate with the public by creating a slideshow for science-interested high school students. Students also take field trips to local companies to learn about career paths and opportunities. Weekly activity reports allow the program coordinator to track progress and to identify possible problems reasonably quickly. The evidence indicates that our participants become increasingly independent researchers throughout the summer. Summative evaluations coupled with self-reporting on a LinkedIn account allows the program coordinators to track outcomes. After our participants graduate, they choose to continue as scientists or researchers either by joining a graduate program, securing employment in the science and engineering sector, or by focusing on science communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBest Practices for Chemistry REU Programs
EditorsMark A. Griep, Linette M. Watkins
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780841233539
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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