Evaluation of the REU Site: Summer Academy in Sustainable Manufacturing Virtual and In-Person Undergraduate Research Experiences

Abstract: The Summer Academy in Sustainable Manufacturing is an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site that offers unique summer undergraduate research experiences in the challenging field of sustainable manufacturing to national undergraduate students. The objective of the REU Site is to introduce undergraduate students to the forefront of sustainable manufacturing research and to provide participants with the skills and pathways to pursue advanced degrees or careers in sustainable manufacturing. Traditionally, this REU Site hosts in-person undergraduate researchers to undertake their research projects in a faculty mentor laboratory during the program. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated that the REU Site program be held virtually during the summer of 2021, but the program was once again held in-person in summer of 2022. This presentation will detail the steps taken to transition REU Site program activities to a virtual environment and compare evaluation results of participant experiences from the virtual 2021 program and in-person 2022 program. Evaluation results of the 2021 and 2022 program are also compared to evaluation results of prior in-person Summer Academy in Sustainable Manufacturing programs.

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