Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Senior Alan Rogers aligning a laser in the photonics laboratory

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State University is ranked among the top academic units engaged in scientific research in the United States on a wide variety of subjects from novel transistors for the next generation integrated circuits to concepts that will revolutionize how computers work.

Undergraduate students can be a part of this excitement, gain invaluable experience and have fun at the same time! The ECE faculty welcomes and encourages undergraduate student participation in many research projects funded by industry and/or government agencies.

Undergraduate research is typically performed as volunteer work and it can start as early as the second semester of the sophomore year. Some of the research positions offer stipends for summer or for the whole year.

Why is this experience important?

Undergraduate research is intended to provide an opportunity for the student to get involved in scientific research. This experience is especially helpful if a student is interested in graduate study towards an MS or PhD degree immediately after completing the undergraduate degree. Here is how the undergraduate research becomes helpful:

  • By closely working with graduate students on cutting edge projects funded by industry or government agencies, undergraduate students can have a pretty good idea if they would enjoy a career path in scientific research.
  • By working in laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for research, an undergraduate research assistant can gain valuable skills unattainable in undergraduate laboratories.
  • Practical research experience is a skill premium for undergraduate students who apply to graduate school for further study, or to government agencies or corporations for employment.
  • All graduate schools (and better companies) ask for letters of recommendation. A letter from a research supervisor can help the application a great deal.
ECE Undergraduate Research Logo

When is a good time to start Undergraduate Research?

Typically, students apply for undergraduate research positions after they complete the first semester of the sophomore year. It is unlikely that a student will secure a position without completing any of the ECE courses. Furthermore, taking the introductory courses such as ECE200 and ECE209 help the students understand what electrical and computer engineers do in different specialization areas. This is key in identifying the right project for the student.

How can a student get involved in undergraduate research?

The undergraduate research positions are competitive; therefore, a good academic standing will be helpful. Most faculty will be very interested in discussing their research projects with you.

Make an appointment with the Coordinator for Undergraduate Research to talk about your technical interests and future career goals. The coordinator will identify a few members of the ECE faculty involved in the type of work you are interested in, and contact them on your behalf to find out if a position can be created for you. Before meeting with the coordinator, you are advised to review the faculty research page to identify faculty members who are interested in the same sort of work you want to do.

REU Summer Programs

NC State University offers a variety of summer undergraduate research opportunities. The ECE Department's REU:Engineering the Grid Program host a 10-week summer research program for undergraduates in Electrical and Computer Engineering and related fields. Under this program, rising juniors and seniors work with faculty mentors and graduate students representing a variety of exciting research areas. The program encourages research projects that expose the students to different research paths in electrical and computer engineering.

Additionally, the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center, a partner of the ECE Department, has their own FREEDM Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. FREEDM REU participants will be paired with a faculty advisor and will join the faculty member's research team. Each participant will have a predetermined individual research project, chosen during the selection process, and will be responsible for completing the project within the allotted time.

For more information about the REU Summer Programs available please contact:

REU@Engineering the Grid Program
Dr. Leda Lunardi
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Phone: 919.513.7362
Email: reu-grid@ncsu.edu


http://www.ece.ncsu.edu/reu-grid/

Undergraduate Research Program
Dr. Leda Lunardi
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Phone: 919.513.7362
Email: leda_lunardi@ncsu.edu


http://www.ece.ncsu.edu/undergraduate/research/application

FREEDM REU Program
Dr. Penny S. Jeffrey
Education Director, FREEDM Systems Center
Phone: 919.513.3435
Email: penny_jeffrey@ncsu.edu


http://www.freedm.ncsu.edu/index.php?s=5&p=139

ASSIST REU Program
Dr. Mehmet Ozturk
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Education and Diversity Director, ASSIST NERC
Phone: 919.515.5245
Email: mco@ncsu.edu

http://assist.ncsu.edu/education/undergraduate/summer-reu/