Student and professor talking

The School of EECS has world-class professors who are at the forefront of advances in many areas including transparent electronics, renewable energy, end user software, faster wireless and computing technologies, and big data. It is a great opportunity for students to work on the cutting edge of science and technology with faculty, graduate students and fellow undergraduates.

“Hands-on research experiences for undergraduates help students to see the bigger picture and aspire to greater things,” says computer science professor Margaret Burnett.

Before she entered Oregon State University in computer science, Susmita Padala had just one web development course and a few quick lessons from her dad about computer programming. As she worked with classmates, she realized that they had a lot more experience and knowledge than she did. In her second year, she was connected with Anita Sarma, associate professor of computer science, to do a research project in human computer interaction. In the years since, Padala has excelled beyond what she imagined from her uncertain beginning in computer science. She has published research papers and was awarded the Adobe Research Women-in-Technology scholarship, which recognizes outstanding female students throughout the world.

“I was really inspired by the research, and it gave me a purpose to be in computer science and push through the challenges,” Padala said.

How to Get Involved in Research

If you are interested in becoming involved in research in the School of EECS, start by finding someone who is doing research that is interesting to you. You can browse the faculty descriptions or look through the research areas. You can contact a faculty member through email, or if you’d like some help getting started, contact your advisor.

There are also opportunities for research at other universities. Most undergraduate research programs are conducted in the summer and deadlines are usually during winter term, so you should think ahead if you’re considering participating in a summer research program. Some universities have opportunities year-round. Many programs offer stipends, travel support, on-campus housing and meals.

Oregon State Resources

Oregon State Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and the Arts (URSA)
This site is a resource for undergraduates and faculty looking to participate or implement undergraduate research.

Undergraduate Research, Innovation, Scholarship & Creativity (URISC)
The URISC program is intended to enable OSU undergraduate students to initiate a scholarly relationship with faculty early in their academic careers. Faculty mentors are expected to assume financial responsibility for student research activities if they continue beyond the initial URISC sponsorship.

OSU University Honors College
Research experience leading to a thesis is a hallmark of the University Honors College.

National Resources

National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites
NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location.

Institute for Broadening Participation Pathways to Science
The mission of the Institute for Broadening Participation is to increase diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. Search summer research programs by institution and disciplinary categories, or by geography.

U.S. Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)
Encourages undergraduate students and recent graduates to pursue STEM careers by providing research experiences at the Department of Energy laboratories. Selected students participate as interns appointed at one of 17 participating DOE laboratories/facilities. They perform research, under the guidance of laboratory staff scientists or engineers, on projects supporting the DOE mission.