Help REU Finder Change the Face of STEM this fall

When I started REUFinder in December of 2018 I did so with the intent of creating an easy directory for students to find summer research experiences. I wanted students to know that their GPA or citizenship status should not be a deterrent to obtaining internship experiences. As I began compiling lists I also saw the need to expand to include links to scholarships and conferences. I then started writing articles on professional development resources and advice for students. Never in a million years did I think that I would be writing a post on how to start college during a pandemic. With few exceptions most students will be starting their first semester in college 100% online. Whether it be starting as a first year student, a transfer student or a graduate school the challenges that first generation college students and students of color encounter in STEM is even more prominent during a pandemic. Now as I continue to use this medium to support students as they head back to campus this fall I’d like to ask your help.

Changing the Face of STEM

Last week I started an REUFinder Instagram page. The plan is to use this page to let students know about REUFinder as a resource and to feature student experiences. I’d like to highlight student’s words of wisdom, accomplishments and to build community for students. I am looking for students who are willing to share their your wisdom, experiences, favorite mantras, or tips that they have for other students also pursuing STEM Field. Maybe you participated in an experience that you heard about through REUFinder. We’d love to hear from you!

If you would like to be featured in a post please fill out the short form below.

Changing the Face of STEM campaign

Questions? Contact me at

Thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to seeing your posts. : )

Tiffany Reardon

Quick & Easy Guide To Creating A Student Bio

Good News. You just learned that you have received a scholarship or an award.
Maybe months ago you applied for this scholarship and since you haven’t hear back assumed that you were no longer in the running. But today you received the notification that you won the scholarship! With all that’s been going on in the last few months this glimmer of good news is a bright light on the horizon. The scholarship organization tells you that they’re delighted to give you this award and in order to receive it you need to formally accept it. They ask you for a headshot photo. Check! You’ve got your senior portrait or that brilliant headshot from your cousin’s wedding. They then ask you for a quote. Not a problem you’ve got a favorite quote that you’ve always used. They then as you for a bio! You panic. A Bio!! Not only do they want you to send them a Bio they want you to send it ASAP.

Don’t panic about writing a bio. A short paragraph written in third person is what they are generally asking for.

Use these Elements of a Bio to Easily Create Yours

WHO are You? Essentially your full name. It’s up to you whether or not you want to include your middle name. Also if you have a nickname you might want to include in parenthesis.

WHERE are you from? How you frame this is totally up to you. You might choose to say your from New York or The Bronx it’s completely up to you. However, remember that people like specifics, it makes your bio more memorable. It’s a bio and the point is for people to get to know you. If you’re from a small town you might say “Madera which is a small town in California’s Central Valley.”

WHAT have you done in high school or in college that you believe makes you stand out. Talk about something dynamic that you have done. Chances are this will be what you highlighted in the scholarship essays so feel free to include that in this section. This is not a time to be modest. Remember you’re writing this in third person so don’t worry you’re not going to sound conceited.

As you begin writing your bio you’ll likely begin to feel more confidence talking about your achievements.

WHEN you graduate what do you plan to do after?  For example,  “After receiving (his/her) Bachelor’s degree in (name of major), (Your name) plans to work in (Dream job or industry).”  You can be general or you can be specific. Maybe you want to go to graduate school but don’t know specifically what you want to pursue. You can keep it general and say that you plan to attend graduate school OR if you know what you want to do you can be specific. “After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in (Major) (Your Name) plans to pursue a PhD in (Discipline) focusing on (Sub-discipline).

Some Examples
Discipline: Mechanical Engineering Subdiscipline: Robotics
Discipline: Electrical Engineering Subdiscipline: Integrated Circuits
Discipline: Materials Science Subdiscipline: Biomaterials

The WHY should be embedded into your bio.  Everyone has something that motivates them so talk about that. Not sure what that means well ask yourself WHY? Why are you pursuing this field? Why is this your dream job? What has motivated you to be in school and to pursue these interests.

Once you have answered the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY you have all of the elements of your bio.

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Come On & Zoom!

Happy National Intern Day!   

Summer 2020 is a year like no other. According to a GitHub search more than 200 companies are hosting college interns remotely this summer. Board meetings are now replaced with virtual meetings likely using Zoom.

Check out our tips to maintain a professional image and maximize your Zoom presence in your virtual internships.

1) Use Your Name. Sometimes students will be joining Zoom using their laptops, phones or tablets. Make sure that your Zoom presence says your actual name and the not name of your device. Ideally use your first name and your last name. This makes it helpful specifically if there are others on your team with your same first name.

2) Turn on your camera. Always be sure that your video is on. Out of sight can mean out of mind and you WANT to be noticed during your internship.

3) Have a Zoom Profile Pic. There may be times that you need to turn your camera off so if you do be sure to have a profile picture. A headshot would be a good option.

How to set your profile pic: “Profile Settings. To access your Zoom profile, sign in to the Zoom web portal and click Profile. You can view and edit the following settings: Profile Picture: To add or change your profile picture, click Change, then adjust the crop area on your current picture or upload a new one.”

4) Include your Preferred Gender Pronoun after your name. You may notice that some colleagues will include their preferred gender pronoun in parenthesis after their name. Typically, you might see (he/her), (she/her) or (them/they). This makes it easy for others to know how you would like to be addressed it also promotes an inclusive workspace.

Does your Zoom presence look like this??

5) Use Zoom Backgrounds. If your workspace is a messy room or you’re surrounded by others in the background you might want to consider using a Zoom Background to maintain a professional image. Choose a background that looks professional and isn’t too pixelated. A quick Google search will show you a variety of options. Your Zoom Background should reflect your individual style but not overshadow you! Remember it’s a backdrop, you are the star so be sure you’re not distracting others by having animated backgrounds or even worse backgrounds that could be considered offensive in a professional setting.

6) Don’t forget the importance of good lighting. If you’re in a room that is dark be sure to either use a lamp or try and consider switching to a room with better lighting. Having a dark room is almost the same as not having your camera on since no one can see you.

7) Be sure you have a reliable computer during your internship. If you are interning remotely and are having trouble with sound or your connection let your supervisor know immediately. If you were in person your company would be providing a computer and internet so if you need these things remotely it’s not an unreasonable ask.

8) Dress for success. Even though you might roll out of bed and turn on your computer you don’t want to look that way. Unkept is unbecoming in the workplace even if it is a virtual workplace. Get up an extra half an hour and shower before you hop on Zoom. You’ll look better and feel better.

9) Good Ergonomics are important. Don’t hunch and ideally raise your computer so that the top of your laptop screen is in line with your eyebrows. Using a bunch of textbooks under your laptop is a perfect hack if you don’t have a moveable desk. Long hours in an uncomforable chair will take its toll after a while. If you can invest in an office chair but if that’s not an option put pillows on your chair to support your lower back.

Good ergonomics are important when working from home!

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How to make a statement with your new school email signature

So you’re starting college in the fall whether it be as a first year student, a community college transfer student, or a graduate student you’re likely checking your new school email frequently or should we say you should be checking your email frequently.  With that in mind, this is a great opportunity to start out your communications in a professional way. This will also give your email recipients some context particularly when you are emailing someone for the first time.   Here are some examples that you might consider based on your preferences.  Also, if you have not yet picked your school email address be sure to choose wisely as that’s something you’ll be stuck with for years, literally.  

If your legal name is different than your preferred nick name you might also include in your email signature.

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YouTube Channels for Students created by Students

Now that summer has officially begin for most students this is a great time to check out some new YouTube Channels created for students by students.   

The Tech Twins

Andrew and Mark created their Channel, The Tech Twins to help first generation college students succeed in the tech industry

Twin brothers Andrew and Mark Ansell have put together a YouTube Channel appropriately titled “The Tech Twins.”  Both Andrew and Mark double majored in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration at the University of California at Berkeley.  During their time at Berkeley they interned at top tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla.  Their channel has a wealth of interviews and resources for students everything from creating resumes and obtaining internships to giving a glimpse into what it’s like to Study Abroad.  Whether you’re studying Business or Engineering you’ll definitely want to subscribe and learn from their experiences in the tech world.  Check it out!

Imari Walker Karega

Fun fact: Imari’s latest post is perfect for high school seniors starting college this fall.

Analytical Chemist, Environmental Engineer and Duke PhD student Imari Walker Karega has created a brand new YouTube channel that combines “Education, Weekly Inspiration, and Science.”  Subscribe to Imari’s channel if you’re a high school student looking for advice on applying to colleges, an undergraduate interested in obtaining a PhD or just plain interested in science. If you’re the latter you’ll love her episode on Microplastics. Tune in to hearing about Imari’s journey to the Doctorate and her words of wisdom.  
Check it out!


Fun Fact: Kanoa transferred to UC Berkeley from San Diego Mesa College in San Diego, CA

Recent Chemical Engineering graduate Kanoa Cook has created a YouTube Channel that combines everything from his experience transferring from a community to a university to learning more about vaccines. As an undergraduate student Kanoa interned at top pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen and participated in REU at Louisiana State University and the University of California at San Diego. Subscribers will enjoy Kanoa’s upcoming videos. 
Check it Out!

Alexis Loveraz

When he’s not creating math tutorials Alex is a student a high school student at Harlem Prep High School
in New York City.

Worried that your little brothers and sisters are spending too much time on TikTok?  Don’t worry Alexis Loveraz aka the “Tik Tok tutor” is using his math skills to tutor kids in mathematics and chemistry.  This sixteen year old’s channel is not only entertaining but can save families a ton of money on test prep courses for standardized tests such as the SAT. Check him out on TikTok and YouTube!

Alex on Tik Tok
Alex on YouTube

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Online Summer Experiences

Applying to Graduate School? Looking for an opportunity to learn more about bioinformatics, medical devices, biotech industry, or pharmacy school? Check out these amazing opportunities! Candidates should have a personal computer with reliable internet access. Don’t have Wifi?

Careers Beyond the Bench: Biotech Industry Online Summer Program

“The pharmaceutical and other biomedical industries require an understanding of both business and science to bring lifesaving technologies to market. Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, CA, offers the Careers Beyond the Bench program to provide skills and professional development opportunities for undergraduates interested in careers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or other biomedical product industries. The course is entirely online.”

During this challenging and fun three-week summer program, participants will learn about business skills and career opportunities in the biomedical sector, providing an edge for careers beyond the bench in these science-based industries.

Session Dates: 
Session #1: June 15 – July 3
Session #2: July 6 – July 24

Levels: Undergraduates Interested in learning more about the bioscience industry.
Deadline: June 1st for session #1 and June 15th for Session #2

Medical Device Development Bootcamp

Are you interested in learning about the process for designing and manufacturing medical devices. This two week program might be just for you.

Session Dates: 
Session #1: June 15 – June 26
Session #2: July 6 – July 17

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors interested in medical devices that are pursuing STEM degrees.
Deadline: June 1st for session #1 and June 15th for Session #2

Clinical Genetics and Bioinformatics Online Summer Program

Are you interested in learning more about human genomics, bioinformatics, genetic counseling and precision medicine? If so, this program might be a good fit for you!

Levels: Undergraduate students
Deadline to Apply: June 12th

Online Pre-Pharmacy Enrichment Summer Program

This five-day online program is designed for students interested in careers in pharmacy. Students will participate in interactive remote classes and activities related to pharmacy practice.

Levels: Undergraduate students & high school seniors thinking about applying to Pharmacy School
Deadline to Apply: June 1st

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“My internship and graduation have been cancelled, now what?”

2020 is a year like no other. It has been tough for all of us but for those of you graduating, whether it be high school graduation or college graduation it’s an even tougher time.  Although many campuses are postponing commencements for a later date, right now it’s just not the same. That feeling of taking your last final of the semester on campus or walking across the stage is a milestone that has been taken away suddenly and with no advance warning.  

The hardest part of all of this is that we simply do not know when things will come back to normal and for now this is our “new normal.”  Because things are so up in the air right now many REU’s and internships are notifying candidates that they might have to cancel programs and rescind offers. If this is your situation you are justifiably disappointed but I urge you the importance of keeping up your momentum. The resilience and forward thinking that got you where you are today will get you through this.  

Keeping up the momentum doesn’t mean you have to ignore what’s going on.  On the contrary, keeping up the momentum means not giving up your academic and career goals.

Many students are worried that Pass/No Pass grades on your spring 2020 transcripts will reflect poorly on graduate school applications or just in general.  Please understand that we are all going through this together.  No one is going to judge you if you struggled this semester.  No one is going to deprive you of an opportunity because you were affected by the pandemic, you are not alone, we are all being affected by this. 

Once this crisis passes, and it will, Class of 2020 graduates will have a bond that will forever tie them together. Postponed commencements, postponed graduation parties, cancelled proms and other cancelled and postponed social milestones will forever be a connection that you have as the Class of 2020.  Millenials and Gen Z’ers have gotten a bad rap since day one but now more than ever we see you and we salute you.

Here are some options and ideas for you to explore to Keep the Momentum during this challenging time! 

  1. If your internship has been cancelled ask if you can work remotely.  Some companies might be able to accommodate this as an option. 

  2. If your REU has been canceled ask if you can contribute to the project in a remote capacity.  Although research in a wet lab might be more of a challenge its worth asking  Graduate students are still doing research so it’s worth asking if you can somehow be involved on a smaller scale. For instance, you can possibly help with modeling simulations or literature reviews.

  3. If you need to find a job and are on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are using #hiringnow to inform others about job opportunities.

  4. Develop an independent research project. Is there a project you have always wanted to work on? Now is the time.  Ask a faculty member or graduate student if they will be willing to mentor you through this project. 

  5. Take an online class for free. Check out our recommendations for the best free courses to take now

  6. Become an online tutor. Even if classes continue to be online throughout the summer the need for tutors may actually increase. Ask your campus or local community college if they need tutors or teaching assistants for the upcoming summer. 

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The Best Free Online Classes

Almost overnight you likely transitioned to online courses. Now three weeks in you’ve likely gotten the hang of it. Did you know that there are hundreds of free online courses that you can take from top university’s. Here is a short list of free online classes you should take now. 

Stanford University’s Intro to Machine Learning offered by Coursera
Learn the theoretical and practical application of ML in this free course. 

Yale’s The Science of Well Being. Want to increase your happiness and productive habits.  Regardless of your major this is a class anyone can benefit from Offered by Coursera

John Hopkin’s Ruby on Rails
. Chances are you have heard of C++ and Java but in this course you’ll learn “web applications with the Ruby on Rails web application framework, which is geared towards rapid prototyping.” Offered by Coursera

University of Michigan’s Python for Everyone. Learn the basics of Python in this course offered by Coursera

Vanderbilt University’s Introduction to Programming with MATLAB offered by Coursera

Imperial College of London’s Incorporating Renewable Energy in Electricity Grids

Offered by edX

MIT’s Principles of Synthetic Biology” Learn how to engineer biological systems and program organisms to perform novel tasks. Offered by edX

Cornell University’s A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations-
Learn how to analyze real-world engineering problems using ANSYS simulation software and gain important professional skills sought by employers. Offered by edX

Aside from EX and Coursera there are a number of other just for fun classes that might be of interest.  For example, have you always wanted to study photography? Now’s your chance. During the month of April Nikon is offering free online photography classes during the entire month of April.

This just a small sample of the free online courses that await you. 

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Conferences for Women in Engineering

March is International Women’s History Month commemorating the vital role that women have played in American history. We can’t let March go by without mentioning a few upcoming conferences that celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and inspire the next generation of women in engineering. Check out these Travel Scholarships and Free online Conferences to to meet other women in engineering.

Women in Engineering Silicon Valley   
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Stream online for Free!

Are you an aspiring engineer? Do you want to learn about current trends and innovations in the field? Do you want to learn from top female engineers in Silicon Valley? Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 14th. San Jose State’s Women in Engineering Silicon Valley Conference is 100% free and online for students. Register to hear from top leaders from Intel, Google, and many more. It’s free!!

IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference
May 19-20, 2020  San Diego, CA

Launched 7 years ago, the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (IEEE WIE ILC) provides professional women in technology, whether in industry, academia, or government, the opportunity to create communities that fuel innovation, facilitate knowledge sharing and provide support through highly interactive sessions designed to foster discussion and collaboration.

ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing
September 16- 19, 2020
Dallas,  Texas

The goal of the Tapia Conferences is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate, connect and inspire.   Students (community college/undergraduate/graduate), and post-docs at colleges/universities in the U.S and U.S. Territories are encouraged to apply for a travel scholarship to attend this year’s conference.

Scholarships include conference registration, meals during the conference, hotel accommodations, and a reimbursable travel stipend.
Deadline to Apply: March 27th

IEEE Energy Conversion Congress & Expo Detroit Michigan
October 11 – 15, 2020
Detroit,  Michigan, October

Travel Grants for Women in Engineering
Meet practicing engineers, researchers and other professionals for interactive and multidisciplinary discussions on the latest advances in various areas related to energy conversion The IEEE Industrial Applications Society (IAS) and the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) have generously provided 30 student travel grants to support their student members to attend ECCE 20.
To apply for a travel grant fill out the application form by May 15, 2020

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
National Conference
November 5 – 7, 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
November 5 – 7, 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana

Through the generosity of donors SWE will be giving a limited number of registration grants to collegiate and professional members.
Deadline to Apply: July 31, 2020

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REU’s with March Deadlines

Georgia Tech

The Research Experience for Student Veterans in Advanced Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship (REVAMP) program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer site. The Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) hosts the program to train undergraduate students in the fundamental principles of:

  • Advanced manufacturing science and technology
  • The transition of basic discoveries in manufacturing science into innovative commercial products and processes

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: March 15, 2020



The focus of this REU is training in evolutionary science, with students working on research projects across several disciplines. Three academic departments at the University of Iowa – Biology, Anthropology, and Earth and Environmental Sciences) will collaborate with the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History to offer research projects that span a range of topics, including evolution of behavior, origin of species, cancer evolution, evolution of sex, and paleontology. Study organisms span a large range of taxa, and include: crocodiles, insects, snails, fungi, human cancer cells, frogs, and conodonts. Students will work on one project and through interactions with their cohort will ultimately receive a broad exposure to evolutionary science

Levels: Rising Juniors & Rising Seniors
Minimum GPA 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: March 15, 2020


Site Name: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University

Program Description: This NSF-REU program offers interdisciplinary research opportunities in Biochemistry, Organic, Physical, Computational, and Analytical Chemistry laboratories with an overarching focus on the theme of Catalysis. Students will do research in a nurturing and vibrant academic setting and spend a summer enjoying all what the city of Boston has to offer.

Students will be paired with a Northeastern Chemistry faculty mentor and a graduate student mentor based on their stated research interests. These mentors will guide the student as they immerse themselves in full-time laboratory research over 10 weeks. Participants will attend research seminars presented by program faculty and invited speakers; academic and professional skills development workshops and panel discussions on topics such as research ethics, literature searching, graduate school; social activities and events with other members of the chemistry department or with students from other summer research programs at Northeastern; and field trips to pharmaceutical & biotech companies, or other research institutes in the Boston area. The REU program will conclude with a research symposium where students will orally present their research findings to the wider chemistry community.

Applications are encouraged from students who are first generation college students, women, and students underrepresented in STEM. Students should be majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, or other related disciplines

Levels: Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating seniors
Minimum GPA: Not specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline:  March 16, 2020


The Pre-PhD Scholars Program at the University of Pittsburg is a 9 week summer research internship that creates a pipeline for students who wish to pursue PhD degrees in engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. The Engineering Office of Diversity (EOD) identifies prospective students with a 3.5 or higher GPA as Pre-PhD Scholars. These STEM students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields are recruited from institutions across the nation, and are assigned to Swanson School of Engineering faculty mentors who lead multidisciplinary teams in advanced research. At the end of the program, all students present their research findings to faculty members, staff and current students.

Scholars are placed in the admissions pipeline as candidates to the MS or PhD program at the Swanson School of Engineering. Students are paid $3500 stipend, $500 feeding subsidy and transportation to and from Pittsburgh is covered by the program.

Levels: Juniors, Seniors, & Recent Graduates
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Minimum GPA 3.5
Deadline to Apply: March 18, 2020


Undergraduate Fellowship in Complex Systems & Data Science
Through a partnership with MassMutual students will spend ten weeks in the summer understanding human wellness through data analytics at the University of Vermont’s Complex Systems Center in Burlington, Vermont. Students will work on projects in areas such as:

Longevity & Wellness
Algorithmic Fairness
Measurement methodologies for large scale social systems
Computational Finance 

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: No citizenship requirements
Minimum GPA: Not specified
Deadline to Apply: March 23, 2020


The Internship Program offers 10-week, full-time, summer internship opportunities at JPL to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. 

Levels: Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors, & Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.0 GPA
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: March 30, 2020


Are you a current community college student interested in applying to UCLA Samueli Engineering?  Are you interested in learning more about engineering research? Want to get a paid position over the summer that will help your engineering preparation?  Consider applying to one of our UCLA Samueli Engineering summer research programs. These paid 8 week summer academic research programs are recruiting current community college students who are interested in applying to UCLA Samueli Engineering.  

UCLA is recruiting for 3 programs for community college students:

1) Functional NanoMaterials REU Site

2) Wireless Health Institute Summer Scholars Program,

3) Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TAMNS)

Deadline to Apply: March 31, 2020
See flyer for more information

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