REU Site: Preparing a Diverse Workforce through Interdisciplinary Astrophysics Research

Project: Research project

Project Details


REU Site Renewal : Yes AST-1757792 Title: REU Site: Preparing a Diverse Workforce through Interdisciplinary Astrophysics Research Principal Investigator : Dr. Aaron Geller Submitting Organization: Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) Other Organizations Involved : None Location: Northwestern University, Evanston campus Main field and subfields: Astronomy/Astrophysics projects with interdisciplinary elements and CIERA faculty in the Departments of Physics & Astronomy, Earth & Planetary Science, Engineer- ing Sciences & Applied Mathematics, and Electrical & Computer Engineering. Number of Undergraduate Participants per Year : Ten Summer or Academic Year REU Site: Summer Number of weeks per year that students will participate: Nine Does the project include an international or RET component: No Contact: Dr. Aaron Geller,, 847-467-6233 Website: Intellectual Merit: Northwestern University (NU)’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) proposes to renew its REU site. Our REU site leverages CIERA’s interdisciplinary nature to provide students access to mentors and experience across de- partments, and insight into the cross-departmental connections between astronomy/astrophysics and other STEM disciplines. The CIERA Faculty Mentors come from four Departments: Physics & Astronomy, Earth & Planetary Science, Engineering Sciences & Applied Mathematics, and Elec- trical & Computer Engineering. Available research projects cover the breadth of research methods in astrophysics, from theory to computation and from instrumentation to experimentation. The student projects will use a diverse set of facilities, including instrument labs and the Quest high per- formance computing facility at NU, instruments at Fermilab, and a variety of telescopes. Through this exposure, the REU students learn how astrophysical studies prepare them with a wide range of skills and can lead them to diverse professional paths. NU CIERA’s REU site gives students the experience of doing interdisciplinary astrophysics research in a supportive university environment, exposes them to a wide array of exciting research areas in astrophysics, and builds community among the students themselves and with NU researchers. Broader Impacts: The majority of the NU CIERA REU students will be members of under- represented groups in STEM. Approximately half of our students will be recruited from Chicago area minority serving institutions, with the help of a team of trusted faculty members at these institutions. All REU students will be given the opportunity to present their research results at a national conference, e.g., an American Astronomical Society Meeting, and will be encouraged to publish their results in peer-reviewed journals. This will also motivate mentors and students to continue their projects throughout the academic year. Special effort will be made to provide these REU students with research skills and the level of preparation needed to get into and thrive in graduate programs in astronomy, physics and other STEM fields. In addition to a directed research project with a supportive mentor, students will attend technical skills workshops, science commu- nication workshops, lectures by faculty describing their research and career paths, grad school and career panel discussions, organized field trips, and other cohort building events. Through both the research experience and professional development act
Effective start/end date3/1/222/28/25


  • National Science Foundation (AST-2149425)


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