The Illinois MRSEC is excited to offer an NSF-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Our ten week summer research program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work closely with MRSEC faculty mentors on solving a challenging, meaningful scientific question through taking part in the interdisciplinary Illinois MRSEC research. The program also provides training to help students in their professional development as scientists and engineers, with particular emphasis on those skills related to communicating their scientific discoveries to help broaden its reach and make science more accessible.

2018 REU students group photo outside Materials Research Laboratory



  • Program dates: May 26, 2020 – July 31, 2020 (10 weeks)
  • Location: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
  • Compensation: Students receive a $5000 stipend for the summer. Additionally, students receive free housing, travel to the REU site, and some meals.
  • Application will open in late 2019, check back to apply

The application is now closed for the summer 2019 program. If you would like to be notified when the application for summer 2020 is open, please send an e-mail to the REU Coordinator, Dr. Pamela Pena Martin, at .


To apply to the Illinois MRSEC REU, you will need to prepare the following materials:

  • Personal statement: A one page document that addresses the following: What sparked your interest in materials research, and what have you done to pursue that passion? What are your research interests? What are your academic and professional goals, and how would participating in the Illinois MRSEC REU program help you achieve those goals?
  • Resume
  • Two reference letters: At least one should be a faculty member in a scientific field. There is a page of the application in which you input names and e-mail addresses for your references. After each is entered, an e-mail should be generated that asks them for the letter on your behalf, with a link to where they should submit the letter.
  • Unofficial transcript

The application is now closed for the summer 2019 program. If you would like to be notified when the application for summer 2020 is open, please send an e-mail to the REU Coordinator, Dr. Pamela Pena Martin, at .

The website has resources with helpful information on preparing applications to summer research programs, which you can find here.

Offers will be made on a rolling basis until the application deadline or until all positions are filled. Awardees will be notified by e-mail of their acceptance into the program and will be given a specific time window to accept or decline the offer.


  • Applicants must be currently enrolled in a 2- or 4-year undergraduate program studying engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science, or a related field
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Applicants must have completed their sophomore year by June 2019
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
  • Applicants cannot be currently enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students who are interested in attending an REU program are encouraged to explore REU options at the national site or




The following is a list of faculty members who will be acting as REU research mentors this summer. Students taking part in the REU will be matched with a research mentor based on their research interests.

Narayana Aluru (Mechanical Science and Engineering): computational methods; multiscale modeling; MEMS, NEMS, nanofluidics

Rashid Bashir (Bioengineering): bioMEMS and biomedical nanotechnology; biosensors for DNA and protein detection; graphene and 2D materials; 3D bio-printing; surface chemistry

David Cahill (Materials Science and Engineering): thermal energy conversion and control; nanoscale thermal transport; ultrafast transport of heat and spin

Elif Ertekin (Mechanical Science and Engineering): computational modeling and simulation; deformable interfaces; structure-property relationships; electronic and optical properties of 2D materials

Pinshane Huang (Materials Science and Engineering): transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy; atomic-scale chemical analysis; 2D materials and interfaces

Virginia Lorenz (Physics): ultrafast spectroscopy; quantum optics; atomic and molecular physics; optical magnetometry; spintronics

Nadya Mason (Physics): experimental quantum transport; mesoscopic behavior; 1D and 2D materials; superconductivity; correlated electrons; hybrid devices

Catherine Murphy (Chemistry): synthesis, surface chemistry, optical properties, biological applications and environmental implications of colloidal metal nanoparticles; reconfigurable 2D surfaces

SungWoo Nam (Mechanical Science and Engineering): crumpled 2D materials and flexible/stretchable sensors; mechanics of 2D materials

Daniel Shoemaker (Materials Science and Engineering): materials discovery and synthesis; crystal growth; magnetic and semiconducting properties; low-temperature transport; in-situ diffraction

Andre Schleife (Materials Science and Engineering): computational materials science; first-principles simulations; excited electronic states; optical properties; interaction of light with magnetic moments

Arend van der Zande (Mechanical Science and Engineering): 2D materials; electronic, photonic, and mechanical devices

Vidya Madhavan (Physics): experimental physics; topological materials; superconductors; scanning tunneling microscopy; thin films.

John Abelson (Materials Science and Engineering): Thin films; chemical vapor deposition; thin film growth.

The REU summer site program of the Illinois MRSEC at the University of Illinois is supported by the National Science Foundation, grant DMR-1720633. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.