Advanced Materials Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

The University of California San Diego MRSEC Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program provides full-time summer undergraduate research opportunities at the forefront of materials science and engineering.  Participants in our highly collaborative and interdisciplinary program, which focuses on predictive assemblies and engineered living materials, will be fully immersed in the research laboratories of any one of our 20 MRSEC faculty from 5 departments across campus (Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Molecular Biology, NanoEngineering, Physics), as they engage in projects with a focus in either or both experiment and theory.

NSF-REU MRSEC students can expect to be:

• exposed to the grand challenges in the field of materials science;
• trained in computational, nanotechnological, and biological methods aimed at making new materials;
• provided mentoring and academic/professional development opportunities, including the potential to produce publishable research and participate in professional conferences.

The application portal is now closed, applications were due March 1, 2021. Information about applying for the 2022 REU will be available in Fall 2021.

Program Details

Duration: June 28 - August 13 (Note: This is the duration of the formal training. The entire program duration is 10 weeks, specific dates will be confirmed based on participants' availability)

Programming: Extensive training and mentoring (by faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students) in cutting-edge materials science research is accompanied by weekly research seminars, industrial field trips, biweekly professional development workshops (safety and research ethics, science communication, information literacy, graduate school preparation), and social networking/recreation.

Expectations: Full-time commitment to extensive lab work and engagement in program activities, including a presentation at UC San Diego’s Summer Undergraduate Research Conference in mid-August.

Support: $500/week stipend, on-campus housing, and allowances for meals and travel.

Covid-19 Modifications: Based on the current University's COVID-19 guidelines, the REU program will be an in-person experience this summer. The UC San Diego Return to Learn Program Leadership is finalizing guidelines on how we can bring summer research participants to campus safely. If we are not able to hold in-person activities, we will still have a virtual experience this summer with projects, though the exact mentor assignment might need to change if the program is virtual. 

Who is eligible to participate?

This research program is open to undergraduate students in science and engineering at any 2- or 4-year institution who are:

• interested in gaining rigorous research experience in materials science and engineering;
• majoring in engineering (chemical, bio-, nano-, electrical and other), materials science, chemistry, biology, or physics; and
• citizens or permanent residents of the US or US territories, as stipulated by the NSF.

UC San Diego and our MRSEC are committed to the achievement of excellence and diversity among faculty, staff, and students. Women and minority applicants, veterans and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply to our NSF REU program.

Note:  There is NO (1) prior research experience necessary; (2) minimum GPA requirement; and (3) class standing requirement.

UC San Diego MRSEC REU 2021 Program Participants

UC San Diego MRSEC is proud to announce its first cohort of MRSEC REU participants:

Barcik-Weissman, Sara

Sara Barcik-Weissman

Bio: Sara is an undergraduate student pursuing a biology degree at UCLA and is interested in pursuing an MD-PhD after. She holds a Certificate of Proficiency in Research and Development, an Associates Degree for Transfer in Biology, and an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts: Math and Science. She works as a supplemental instruction leader for a biology class at MiraCosta College. She will be participating in Professor Mayfield's lab where her research will focus on metabolic engineering of green algae.
ORCID: 0000-0002-2319-4421

Figueroa Jr., Jose

Jose Figueroa Jr.

Bio: Jose Is a Senior from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas participating in the UC San Diego MRSEC REU for the summer of 2021. He has previously done research in silicon nanofabrication, characterization and simulation of piezoelectric materials, analysis of the Higgs Boson. His interest in the MRSEC REU are in fabricating, characterization and DFT calculations of Li-CFx battery systems. Outside of the laboratory, Jose is an avid record collector and DJ’s
ORCID: 0000-0002-1786-0512

Happi, Bailly

Bailly Happi

Bio: Bailly Happi is a junior undergraduate student at the University of Houston who will be participating in the SSSiN via the UC San Diego MRSEC REU program. He is currently majoring in Chemical Engineering (class of 2022) and plans to pursue an M.S in material science after graduation. He is interested in the environmental science of nanotechnology.
ORCID: 0000-0002-3160-7038

Hild, Erica

Erica Hild

Bio: Erica Hild is an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware, working this summer under the supervision of Dr. Jon Pokorski. She is currently majoring in biomedical engineering and plans to pursue graduate school in materials science. Her previous research experience focused on thermoresponsive polymers. Through UC San Diego's MRSEC REU, she will be working on utilizing additive manufacturing for synthesizing cyanobacterial gels.
ORCID: 0000-0002-7529-2824

Irafasha, Aline

Aline Irafasha

Bio: Aline Irafasha, class of 2023, is an undergraduate at Wellesley College. She is a McNair Scholar, Posse Scholar, and a Clare Booth Luce Scholar, majoring in Chemistry. While at Wellesley, Aline has been involved in research for 2 years, working on projects specializing in DNA damage and gold nanoparticles. She plans to obtain her PhD in Chemistry and further pursue a career that involves chemistry research and healthcare. As a part of MRSEC-REU, Aline will be working on projects focusing on Predictive Assembly.
ORCID: 0000-0003-4053-7921

Kelber, Jacob

Jacob Kelber

Bio: Jacob is majoring in chemistry at Harvey Mudd College. His research experience includes computational research for Professor Van Heuvelen through Harvey Mudd College during the summer of 2020 that focused on chemically degrading industrial carcinogens present in wastewater. His research in the 2021 MRSEC REU program will focus on the synthesis of aminophosphines and their applications in creating phosphide nanoparticles. In the future, he intends to earn a PhD and become a professor that conducts organometallic chemical research focusing on the environment. 
ORCID: 0000-0003-2515-5124

MacAuslan, Daria

Daria MacAuslan

Bio: Daria MacAuslan is an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Russian Language. She will be participating in the SSSiN via the UC San Diego MRSEC REU program. She plans to pursue a medical degree after college, and is interested in drug-delivery research.
ORCID: 0000-0002-9023-7292

Marroquin, Sebastian

Sebastian Marroquin

Bio: Sebastian Marroquin is an undergraduate student (Class of 2022)  majoring in Chemistry Material science at California State University, Long Beach. He will be participating in the SSPA with Dr. Pascal. His prior research has focused on electrical properties of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) and plans to continue this research with different MOFs.
ORCID: 0000-0001-9403-6220

Myers, Rachel

Rachel Myers

Bio: Rachel Myers is an undergraduate Biochemical Engineering major, Meyerhoff Scholar (M’31), HHMI Research Scholar, and NIGMS/NIH U RISE Scholar at the University of Maryland Baltimore (class of 2023). She previously worked in Dr. Kaf Dzirasa’s Psychiatric Neuroengineering Lab at Duke University studying anhedonia in mice by using sucrose preference testing. Her research will focus on nano-enabled drug delivery therapeutics for breast cancer. In the future, Rachel intends to pursue her PhD in biomedical engineering.
ORCID: 0000-0002-5600-3871

Masga, Keanu Ray

Keanu Ray Rojas Masga

Bio: Keanu is an undergraduate student at the University of Guam with majors in Chemistry and Biology. They will be participating in SSPA under Dr. Bae and Dr. Pascal.
ORCID: 0000-0002-4815-6165

How can you apply?

The 2021 application process has closed. Information regarding the 2022 application process will be posted in Fall 2021. If you have questions about the MRSEC REU program, please contact Janka Bond.

A complete application consists of an online application form with the following materials:

1. Statement of purpose:
A 1-page (maximum; 12pt font, 1-in. margins) document describing (1) your interest in materials research, (2) prior experiences in this area of study, (3) academic and professional goals, and (4) how your participation in UC San Diego’s MRSEC REU program will help you to achieve these goals.

2. Letters of recommendation (2 required):
These references should be provided by faculty members (in a scientific field) who as an instructor or advisor can address your abilities and potential as a student researcher.  The online application form will allow you to enter contact information (name and e-mail) for each reference.  Your references will then receive an email that requests an electronic letter on your behalf, with instructions on how to submit their file.

3. Resume/CV:
Among other relevant experiences and skills, please be sure to note if you have computer skills (for example, knowledge of programming languages).

4. Current (unofficial) transcript