Every Tuesday, sophomore Chemical Engineering majors have a two hour course located in Iacocca Hall up on Mountaintop called Professional Development. This course was designed to inform Chemical Engineering students about the different opportunities that are available to us and prepare us for our professional futures. This course consists of a plant trip, upperclassmen guest speakers, faculty guest lecturers, information about applying to jobs and overall advice and information that would be useful for Chemical Engineering students.
In our lecture this Tuesday, we learned about REUs, which are Research Experiences for Undergraduates. REUs are founded by the National Science Foundation and are research programs that are hosted by various different universities. Students would live at or near the university in the summer and work on a specific research topic while working alongside faculty and researchers. This is a great opportunity for students to learn more about research and experience what it would be like to be a grad student. Many of the host institutions provide stipends and provide housing, transportation and food. Some also take the students involved on different trips on the weekends. Some trips include hiking, white water rafting and to research conferences.
Our professor suggested REUs for the summer after your sophomore year so that you can obtain an internship in the summer following your junior year. This way, you have the opportunity to experience both research and industry. He had 8 Chemical Engineering upperclassmen come to the class to tell us about their experiences and where they did their REUs. Below is the link that he gave us which explains more in depth what an REU is and has links to different REU programs you can apply to.