Ongoing NSF-funded Projects

Award Abstract #1359051

Research Opportunities in Interdisciplinary Water Sciences and Engineering

Awarded Amount: $382,296.00

The goal of this 3-year NSF/REU Site is to train 10 REU Fellows each summer using 10-week long interdisciplinary research projects in water sciences. These research projects are directed by experts representing a diverse group of academic disciplines including engineering, geosciences, biology, crop and soil environmental sciences, and industrial design at Virginia Tech. The REU Fellows will have opportunities for professional development and interdisciplinary cohort experiences through weekly seminars, field trips, multiple oral presentations, weekly reflection papers, and an end-of-program research paper. Examples of seminar topics include professional ethics, why research and how to do research, panel discussion with graduate students, and use of emerging technologies like nanotechnology in water research. In addition, they will have opportunities for social interactions that will enhance personal and professional bonding among themselves and with the faculty and graduate student mentors. The Site organizers have already graduated 56 REU Fellows in prior two cycles during 2007-09 and 2011-13 and all components of the program have been thoroughly assessed by experts in academic assessment. 


Award Abstract #1140467

Integration of a Remote Water Sustainability Lab to Enhance Undergraduate Engineering Education

Awarded Amount: $249,999.00

This project is investigating how remote access to real-time environmental data impacts students' motivation and cognition about environmental awareness. This project, which is a partnership between Virginia Tech (VT) and Virginia Western Community College (VWCC), investigates student motivation using the expectancy-value theory of motivation. It primarily investigates the impact of the lab on students' problem solving skills using the phenomenology approach. The research results guide the development and implementation of sustainability learning modules into undergraduate curricula. The project uses a remote lab, called LabVIEW Enabled Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS), that has the capability to sense, store, and transmit real-time weather data, as well as water quality and quantity data from the Stroubles Creek that flows through the Virginia Tech campus. The project is developing and implementing LEWAS-based learning modules for a freshman engineering course at both VT and VWCC and a senior level hydrology course. Project activities include unique curriculum development, implementation, and assessment activities at three academic levels. 

This collaborative project between a 4-year and a 2-year institution introduces students at various academic levels to critical issues involved in finding solutions to one of the top two Grand Challenges (i.e., provide access to clean water) of the National Academy of Engineering. The hands-on water sustainability experiences have the potential to attract students into the engineering profession from a broad section of society.


Award Abstract #1062860

Research Opportunities in Interdisciplinary Water Sciences and Engineering

Awarded Amount: $379,519.00

This three year REU Site program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will train future professionals on critical elements of watershed-based approach to sustainable management of water resources in an interdisciplinary and diverse environment consistent with "The Engineer of 2020" vision. The specific program objectives are to : 1) ensure diversity of participants - at least 60% of REU participants will be from the underrepresented groups (females and ethnic minorities); 2) design and implement a 10-week research program that clearly articulates REU participants? research activities and facilitates their interactions with interdisciplinary research groups; 3) facilitate opportunities for professional development and interdisciplinary cohort experience through weekly seminars, field trips and discussion forums; 4) collaborate with external experts on assessment and engineering education research to evaluate effectiveness of the program; 5) disseminate research and program assessment results through an end of program research proceedings and at various conferences and journal publications; and 6) facilitate opportunities for social interactions that will enhance personal and professional bonding among REU participants. A group of experienced faculty will direct REU participants' research and two external experts will assist in assessment and recruitment activities. 

The site will expand the pool of future researchers in water sciences who will help in addressing one of Grand Challenges of the National Academy of Engineering. A well-conceived plan to disseminate research and assessment results widely is proposed. This REU program will provide significant opportunities for underrepresented groups to be engaged in water sciences research. This site is co-funded by the Department of Defense in partnership with the NSF REU program.

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Rain Event: April 10, 2015 

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