This article is published in the October 2020 issue.

CRA-WP 2020 Virtual Summer REU

The Computing Research Association and organizers of the Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates (DREU) Program made the decision to modify the 2020 DREU program from an onsite format to a virtual one.  Given the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus we felt offering a virtual Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates (vDREU) would better ensure the safety of all participants while continuing to provide research-intensive opportunities to students considering advanced degrees in computing.

Twenty-eight students worked with thirteen faculty mentors on virtual research projects in a number of areas. In addition to offering students and mentors the opportunity to participate in a virtual research experience we will be providing students with a travel budget to be used for a follow-up onsite REU activity that is coordinated with their mentor at a later date.

The program has some tips for those also starting virtual REU programs.

  • Make an Onboarding Plan (proposed schedule, tasks, reading list, discuss meeting solutions)
  • Make Yourself and Your Team Available (set up regular meetings and check ins, be responsive to emails/chats, arrange virtual social time)
  • Share Information and Resources (help your mentee understand the bigger picture of their research project, help them think through educational and career goals)

For more on running successful virtual REUs, see the Expanding the Pipeline article,CAHSI introduces National Virtual Research Experience for Undergraduates that also appears in this issue.

Other resources for remote collaboration:

CRA’s Committee on Widening Participation (CRA-WP) and the DREU program partner with other organizations committed to broadening participation in computing to administer their summer REU programs including, the NSF funded Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS), and the NSF funded Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing).

The DREU Program is currently led by Nancy Amato, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Monica Anderson, University of Alabama, Chad Jenkins, University of Michigan, Ming Lin, University of Maryland at College Park, Raja Kushalnagar, Gallaudet University, Richard Ladner, University of Washington, and Amanda Stent, Bloomberg. They are assisted by Brianna Blaser, University of Washington, Daniela Cárdenas, Computing Research Association, and Erik Russell, Computing Research Association.

DREU Application Opening
In mid-October CRA-WP will begin accepting student and mentor applications for the Summer 2021 session.

Mentors – Are you a faculty member interested in mentoring undergraduates and having them contribute to a research project? Consider applying to the DREU program.

Students – Are you an undergraduate student interested in a summer research experience? Are you considering pursuing an advanced degree? Consider applying to the DREU program.

Learn more about first hand experiences with the DREU program in this video. DREU photo

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number (1840724). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.