The future of our society will be shaped by the young and talented minds going through our colleges and universities today. The goal of this REU site is to encourage more of these students to pursue graduate studies, and to help them realize their full potential in this regard. We believe that the best way to achieve this goal is to involve the students as a part of a successful, active research group. This exposes them to the intellectual excitement that is involved in research activity, encourages them to think creatively and independently, and helps them to develop the skills necessary to work on research projects. In addition, students are exposed to professional meetings, learn to assimilate the latest research from reading and discussing recent papers, and learn how to write up and present the results of their own research.
It is obvious that an undergraduate research experience that lasts only a few months does not allow sufficient time to complete a serious project. Hence, such a short project would not allow participants the chance to achieve the feeling that they have made a significant original contribution. Since this feeling of accomplishment is the primary motivation of most researchers, we believe that the REU experience must be structured so that each student has the maximum opportunity to successfully complete their chosen project. Hence, as in previous years, we plan a total REU experience spread out over (at least) one calendar year, typically as a summer/fall/spring sequence.
From our previous experience, we have found that interaction among students from different institutions greatly increases the diversity of ideas and the quality of the experience. During the academic year, however, guidance and supervision is difficult if the student and the faculty member are at different institutions. Consequently, we feel that it is important to have a faculty member at each institution directly involved with, and responsible for, each student. The faculty member can then easily supervise the student's academic year course load and be available for advice and guidance. We feel that our management strategy for the program has been demonstrated over the past seven years to be quite successful. The site will be hosted administratively at the University of Central Florida (UCF). It will involve Professors Mubarak Shah and Niels da Vitoria Lobo from UCF, Professor Kevin Bowyer from the University of South Florida (USF), and Professor Louise Stark from the University of the Pacific, as well as student participants from these institutions.