Tag Archive: REUs

DREUDREU

Expanding the Pipeline: Recruiting and Retaining Computing Students through Research Experiences for Undergraduates


As efforts to broaden computing have become more diverse, inclusive, and just, despite increasing enrollments in computer science, the percentages of historically excluded students have not changed much and many institutions are struggling to retain them. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) are designed to introduce undergraduate students to research and present active training opportunities that may lead to students pursuing advanced academic degrees.  Students are exposed early in their academic careers to research as problem solving, and therefore can develop critical thinking skills independently of coding skills. REUs provide an alternative source of funding while engaging with faculty and mentors who can nurture their interests and provide encouragement to persist in their degree program, often prior to declaring a major. In addition to providing early research engagement opportunities for first year and second year students with insufficient experience to compete for cooperative and summer internships, applying to and participating in REUs provide experience navigating application requirements (including writing a personal statement and gaining strong letters of recommendation, which helps them get to know faculty and vice-versa), collaborating on a project, and building a set of skills that would make them an attractive graduate school applicants. REUs are especially beneficial for first-generation, community college, and non-traditional students who may have limited exposure and access to graduate school, the application process, and hands-on opportunities to explore the field more deeply.

We share some key insights that have been gleaned from evaluation reports of mentors and participants in the CRA Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP)’s Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CREU) and Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates (DREU) programs and our own firsthand experiences working with and mentoring undergraduate students.

Thumbnail for CERP infographic showing a horizontal bar graphThumbnail for CERP infographic showing a horizontal bar graph

Compared to Peers, Students from Low-Income Backgrounds Report Less Awareness of – but Greater Interest in – Formal Research Experiences


Low- and higher-income undergraduates differ in the extent to which they endorse various reasons for not participating in formal research experiences. This infographic compares reasons for research non-participation among these two groups and suggests avenues for increasing engagement among low-income students.

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One Year Later, CERP Data Still Indicate REU Participation Relates to Graduate School Enrollment


Analyzing data collected graduating computing students during the spring of 2018, CERP replicated findings indicating that students with formal research experience are more likely to apply to graduate school and enroll in doctoral programs compared to students without any formal research experiences during their undergraduate program.

NSF LogoNSF Logo

Quality Research Experiences Anchor the Future of CISE Undergraduate Education


The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) makes substantial investments in promoting undergraduate research opportunities. These investments reflect the value that CISE attaches to a well-designed undergraduate research experience; it can be an essential, unifying element of a quality CISE-centric undergraduate program. In this article, CISE describes its approach to undergraduate research experiences, and calls on faculty to further promote a culture of undergraduate research within academic departments to strengthen the impact of current and future CISE investments.

With undergraduate enrollment in computing majors growing, up 24.1% from last year as reported in this year’s Taulbee Survey, we as a community have a responsibility to ensure quality research experiences for our students. Quality undergraduate research experiences are essential for students in all STEM disciplines, particularly students pursuing degrees in computer, information, and computational science and engineering. The interdisciplinary nature of computing (and closely related) disciplines has produced a new generation of students seeking blended degree programs that weave together computing and other disciplines through courses and deeper experiential learning. The rapidly evolving nature of computing disciplines coupled with the pervasive nature of computing and the explosion of computational and data-enabled approaches to problem-solving demand unifying research experiences to prepare students for the fullest career opportunities and to address workforce needs that will sustain our field’s leadership well into the future.