Undergraduate Hypersonics Research: Lessons From Two Years of the REU Site HYPER

Volume 5: Education; Electric Power; Fans and Blowers(2022)

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Abstract The University of Central Florida (UCF) trains future engineers and scientists for research-oriented careers through a number of programs and initiatives. One of the most recent is a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site based on next-generation transportation and energy housed within the Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER) and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE). The site unites eleven multi-disciplinary research projects around HYpersonic, Propulsive, Energetic, and Reusable Platforms (HYPER). A key goal of HYPER is to equip and motivate undergraduate students to pursue graduate school and/or a research-oriented career, particularly across a diverse student participant cohort. The site has held two cohorts, engaging 25 students in a ten-week intensive experience, conducting research under the guidance of faculty mentors and graduate students. Students explored career options through industry tours, professional development seminars, and mentor-led research seminars. This paper reports the program impacts on the students and discusses several lessons learned across the cohorts.
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