Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
The REU program is a seven week summer program where undergraduate students work in teams with high school students,high school teachers, graduate students and post docs on specific research projects of their interest. Many of the REU participants were former high school students who returned for multiple summers. Some students prefer to continue working on the same project, with the goal of eventual publication, while others opt to sample different projects and gain experience in diverse fields.
Assessment: We are currently conducting a survey of approximately 150 former REU participants in order to gauge the role our program has had in their choice of post-graduate activities. The survey, which will be completed in one year, will also assess the direct influence of the program on their choice of college major, post-graduate schooling, and career choice.
The results thus far indicate that the largest fraction, approximately 40% are/were in medical schools, and one is in veterinary school. The second largest fraction, 33% are /were enrolled in STEM graduate programs. We are most proud of the fact that among those in medical programs, more than half are in MD-PhD programs, which is far higher than the national average of approximately 5-10%.
An unusually high number of REUs (approximately 15%) have entered high technology business positions. Many of these are/were enrolled in joint engineering/MBA programs at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and in similar programs at Yale University. Two of these students, Sean Mehra and Jeffrey Reitman, started a successful on-line networking business while still students at Yale, and their company was recently bought out by Google. Sean and Jeff first joined Garcia as participants in our high school student research programs, where they were Siemen's National Finalists (2nd place) and were also inducted into the National Young Inventors Hall of Fame in 2004 (figure 11). They returned as REU's for three consecutive summers, till their company began to occupy them full time, in their junior and senior years.
A small fraction of students (~5%) are enrolled or have completed international relations programs at Georgetown University or Columbia School of Journalism. One of these students, specializing in relations with former Soviet Countries, is in the US diplomatic corps while another has become a financial analyst for a banking consortium, specializing in high technology business ventures and is stationed in Singapore.