RAPID CITY, S.D. (March 26, 2014) – The South Dakota School
of Mines & Technology has been awarded nearly a quarter of a million
dollars for the new Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site,
“Bringing Us Together, Improving Communications and Lives.” The site joins two
others at Mines – one of only two universities in the state to have three
active REU sites.
A 10-week summer program in electrical and computer engineering,
the new REU site will expose undergraduates to hands-on research in
communications related to global society and the country’s economy and defense.
Students will investigate topics including unmanned vehicles, such as drones,
used to clear buildings and in search and rescue operations; antennas for use
in ground-penetrating radars and land mind detection; and analysis of
bio-medical imagery, which allows for the detection of tumors. They will also
explore renewable energy resources and their integration into the smart grid
and wireless communications and networking, aimed at optimizing a frequency
spectrum overburdened with wireless devices like cell phones and GPS.
Aimed at expanding the size and diversity of the nation’s
science and engineering pool, the site will focus on underrepresented students,
with the goal of having women and veterans comprise at least half of the
participants, both from Mines and universities around the country.
“In addition to doing research, I believe an integral part
of being successful beyond the undergraduate level is being able to communicate
your results. We plan a heavy emphasis on technical communications. … Regardless
of what career path the students pursue, this will be valuable in their
futures. I hope the students gain a love of learning (research), valuable
communications skills and go on to pursue graduate degrees in science and engineering
fields,” said Thomas Montoya, Ph.D., director of the REU site and associate
professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.
Co-funded by the National Science Foundation and the
Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, the new REU site is the
recipient of $274,400.00. It joins two other sites at the School of Mines:
“Back to the Future” focused on research in metallurgical engineering and
“Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology” (SPACT).
“One of the
hallmarks of a Mines education is our hands-on, engaged learning
approach. We are very pleased to be able to offer a third funded summer
research experience for undergraduates,” Mines President Heather Wilson said.
“This National Science Foundation award underscores the
great work done by faculty and students at the South Dakota School of Mines &
Technology. The REU site is a tremendous tool that will help students as they
pursue their degrees in electrical and computer engineering. I am
especially pleased the REU site has an emphasis on involving women and veterans
in science education,” U.S. Senator Tim Johnson added.
The university also serves as the lead institution for the
newly created SPACT center, where researchers address the nation’s most
pervasive and destructive security and counterfeiting problems ranging from passports
REU Directors Grant Crawford, Ph.D., assistant professor,
and Michael West, Ph.D., head and associate professor, Department of Materials
& Metallurgical Engineering, are also leading an effort to implement a
summer undergraduate symposium in Pierre that will bring together sites from
across the state.
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines &
Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid
City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university
enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a
student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is
$62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on
Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.