Research Experience for Undergraduates
The Astrophysical Research Consortium has been awarded funds for a pilot Research Experiences for Undergraduates program sponsored by the Sloan Foundation. The objective of the program is to introduce promising undergraduate students to research careers through early research engagement enabled by data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, one of the most successful large-scale astronomical surveys and collaborations. This will be a distributed REU program, where 5-7 undergraduate students will be placed in 2-3 geographically distributed sites to work with and be mentored by scientists involved in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The research projects available to the students will include stellar astrophysics, galactic studies, and extragalactic research. The distributed nature of this REU parallels that of the SDSS collaboration itself, thereby providing students with first-hand experience in the culture of conducting research within the framework of a large scientific collaboration. A structure of mentoring and digital connectivity will be used to foster group cohesion and cohort development among this geographically distributed group of students. The program will be managed by New Mexico State University.
In 2016 the program will run from June 6 through August 12. Accommodations may be possible for students on the quarter system who cannot start that early. The anticipated stipend will be $6,000, and each student will receive an additional housing/subsistence allowance as well as travel expenses to and from the REU sites.
The program will begin with a Sloan Boot Camp short-course, held in Sunspot, NM, which will introduce all student participants to the SDSS data and analysis tools. Once at the REU host institutions, the majority of the students’ time will be spent on research. There will also be twice-weekly required online meetings, one serving as a check-in and status report with the Program Coordinator and the other serving as a professional development seminar series, where students will learn about topics such as scientific ethics, conference etiquette, professional manuscript preparation, and graduate school opportunities. Funds may also be available for participants to attend the SDSS-IV Collaboration Meeting in Madison, WI in late June, and/or to present their results at a scientific conference later in the year.