Cornell alumni, software developer and entrepreneur, Sanjeev Shukla has worked with higher education for years when he noticed science departments scrambling to process and prepare for summer interns to attend their science research programs known as Research Experiences for Undergraduates or REUs. He asked a lot of questions trying to understand why the application and recruitment process was so cumbersome, if not primitive with forms, excel spreadsheets, and repetitive ways to communicate with students.
Then one afternoon during high season for REU applications, a colleague phoned Sanjeev to ask about the easiest way to locate a good physics summer research program for his daughter. He wanted to find a program close to home and especially one that would interest her. As anyone who works around higher ed science departments know, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is the key funding source and reference for these summer internship opportunities. So Sanjeev passed along the NSF information with hearty well wishes but later learned that his friend had given up, complaining that there were no search capabilities and the search was a time-consuming cumbersome process. In fact, there is no centralized space in which to locate all summer undergraduate research programs, no way to conduct the right program using filters and search criteria. He ran out of time and so trying to locate the right program for his daughter would have to wait. There needed to be a better way for professors and students to find each other, in a way that is data-driven and systematic just like, well, science.
If you are an undergrad who loves science, this is for you:
Working in a lab with the best and brightest AND getting paid for the experience is a dream opportunity. That is why we developed a process that is efficient, quick and easy for every student to locate programs of interest and quickly apply to as many programs as possible in a hyper-organized way. The whole point of these programs is to opens doors so that every qualified science student has a chance. This REUSites portal ensures greater access for all with the ease of automated features.
Introducing the REUSites Portal
The REUSites portal opens up the world of the undergraduate summer research programs by listing all opportunities across the country. Whether the science program is through a grant or with an independent university program, every summer undergrad research opportunity is within the portal and located with just a few clicks.
Even better, the search filters provide information-seeking students results that are highly personalized, allowing them to quickly locate programs related to their criteria; science areas of interests, location, run dates, deadlines, stipends/perks/housing info, and more. By having these search filters in place, this provides the candidate relevant program information that ticks every box for what they are seeking. Since the student and a particular program are better aligned, their odds of acceptance could be heightened.
Once the student sets up an account in the REUSites portal, they can:
- Begin their search and “favorite” their selections.
- This triggers the portal’s notification system which will now help the student keep track of important dates and deadlines relevant to their saved “favorited” programs. If they opt in, they will continue to receive notifications so that they can easily apply.
- Students will find application links to any programs of interest within the portal, keeping all opportunities and saved searches in one place.
College students can set up an account in the REUSites portal and start searching. Click here to get started.
The competition is fierce. Acceptance into an REU program is a rare and privileged gift but to increase the odds of acceptance, a future scientist should apply to as many programs as possible. The REUSites portal is designed with this key point in mind by providing quick links to every application there is out there.
The number of well-qualified applicants is roughly 10 times the number that can be accepted to any summer research program for undergrads.
So whether the student is interested in chemistry, engineering, materials, nanotechnology, energy, biology, mathematics, physics, or some other scientific area, one thing is certain– if accepted to a program, it is a summer they will never forget. It is also a giant step closer to a promising career, presenting opportunities to start building a professional network with world-renowned researchers and to do so among the best and brightest peers. How grand an opportunity! How easy we wanted to make it for our next generation scientists whose dreams should remain within reach and a few clicks closer.
If you are an REU or other undergrad summer research administrator and would like to find out more information about your listing information, go here.
If you are a summer research program administrator looking to improve and automate your application process, click here to learn about the REUApp, the software that simplifies processes for applicants, reviewers, and recommenders saving 50% of the time it usually takes.
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