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CUR Physics and Astronomy REU program

CUR Physics and Astronomy Division

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) 

In Physics and Astronomy

Funded by the National Science Foundation

(Award Number: 1358879)


Welcome to the 2015 Summer REU Page!

Contingent upon government funding, we will be operating our REU program during Summer 2015.


The REU application deadline has passed.  Reference information needs to be submitted by February 27, 2015

More information about this program can be found below. 


Why should you want to participate in research?

Student looking at the tip of a far-infrared detector.Students working in the biophysics laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

To start (or advance) your career as a researcher. 

Direct faculty mentorship by seasoned researchers in the areas of physics and astronomy.
Student working on a telescope for their summer REU research project. Clarissa measuing a far-infrared laser frequency.
Jose locking the carbon dioxide laser to its center frequency.
Working with high quality research instrumentation.
Students working in the far-infrared laser laboratory at Central Washington University.Student presenting his research at the College of Charleston.
Participation on projects in a small group student-mentor environment.Opportunity to present your research at the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

ERAU trip in the Everglades.

A quick afternoon hike in central Washington.
Enjoyable recreational activities.


Program dates: June 1 - August 7, 2015

The application deadline for the 2015 summer program has passed. Applications received by February 20, 2015 will be given full consideration.  References will be able to enter their evaluation of the student applicant online using the Reference Letter link through February 27, 2015.   

This program is managed by councilors and members of the Physics and Astronomy division at the Council on Undergraduate Research.  For more information about this program, please contact Dr. Michael Jackson ( 



This is a new type of REU program providing students with their first formal faculty mentored research experience.  We are interested in applications submitted by undergraduates from any university, with a goal of serving students enrolled at institutions where research opportunities for undergraduates are minimal or non-existent.  Experimental and computational projects in diverse areas of physics and astronomy are available.  Additionally, multiple institutions across the US host the cohort of participating undergraduate students.  During this 10-week program, students live on a respective host campus while working alongside faculty mentors and undergraduates from the host institution.  Interactions among the students in the six-campus REU cohort take place on-line with an end of the summer in-person meeting tentatively scheduled at Central Washington University.


Research Projects

The list of available research projects for the Summer 2015 REU program are listed below.  Select the appropriate link to learn more about each respective project, including where they are performed.

Research projects for the Summer 2015 REU program

Exploring the limits of planetary habitability using orbital dynamics with Dr. John Armstrong, Weber State University 

Gyrochronology of Main Sequence Stars in the Kepler Field with Dr. Terry Oswalt and Dr. Saurav Dhital, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Time Resolved Tandem Faraday Cup for High Energy Target Normal Sheath Particles with Dr. Stephen Padalino, SUNY GeneseoMeasurement of far-infrared laser frequencies generated by optically pumped formic acid with Dr. Michael Jackson, Central Washington University
Developing Oxide Materials for Optoelectronic Applications with Dr. Seth King and Dr. G. R. Sudhakaran, University of Wisconsin-La CrosseThe Persistence Length of Microtubules with Multi-rigidity Segments with Dr. Tav Hawkins and Dr. G. R. Sudhakaran, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse


Program Summary

  • Housing: REU students typically live in housing provided by the program on the respective host campus.  Students staying on campus housing will receive an additional allowance for food.
  • Stipend: REU students receive a $500/week stipend and some support towards travel to and from the program.
  • Student/Faculty Interaction: Throughout the summer program, weekly virtual gatherings will be held among the REU cohort, with the faculty mentors present, in which students will discuss their work.  Additional webinars, such as information on Careers in Physics, will be available to REU students.  REU participants will also be able to regularly interact with students performing summer research on the host campus. 
  • Social Programs: The program will include activities with students at the host institution and virtual activities with other REU students.  Additionally, all REU students will meet at Central Washington University during the week of August 2nd through 7th to participate in end of summer activities that will include several field trips and shared meals.
  • Deliverables: Students will be responsible for aspects of the project including its dissemination.  Each student will create a brief video detailing their progress near the middle of the program.  Projects will conclude with a 12-minute presentation to the rest of the REU group.  Contingent on funding, participants will also have the opportunity to present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), held at University of North Carolina, Asheville in April 2016.


  • Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • We are interested in applications submitted by undergraduates from any university, with a focus on those students who have not yet had their first formal faculty mentored research experience.  As such, we strongly encourage students enrolled at institutions where research opportunities for undergraduates are minimal or non-existent to apply.  This includes, but is not limited to, community colleges and four-year colleges/universities. All participants must be continuing their undergraduate college education in Fall 2015.
  • Students must have finished at least one year of college by summer 2015 but may not have completed a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, or equivalent degree.
  • Preference is given to students who have completed an introductory physics and/or astronomy sequence.
  • Women and students from traditionally underrepresented groups and institutions are encouraged to apply.
  • Although there is some flexibility in dates, we require students be able to participate during the end of summer event tentatively scheduled at Central Washington University during the week of August 2nd - 7th. 


  • All applications completed on or before February 20 will be reviewed before any offers are made.  Initial offers for most projects will be made by mid-March. We continue to review applications as they arrive and until all positions are filled. However, we strongly advise students to submit all materials by February 20, when positions are still open.
  • Once the program is full, we will send rejection letters via e-mail to students with complete applications. If you need to know the status of your application before then, feel free to ask us about it at any time.
  • Most offers are made in mid-March. Each offer is for a specific project, and the faculty mentor will discuss the details with the applicant. Usually we give students a one-week deadline to accept or decline our offers, but no student will be asked to make a decision before March 5.


Questions? Start with our FAQ.

Please note:  References will submit their information online.


For more information about this program, please contact:

Contact: Dr. Michael Jackson

This website was developed using information from other NSF-REU and summer research programs including those at the University of California at Davis, Purdue University, Hope College, and Lehigh University.