Summer Reads For Engineering Students (And Their Parents)

Starting College this year? I’ve compiled a short summer reading list that you’ll find useful whether you are beginning college this fall as a freshmen or planning to transfer from a community college.

#1 Studying Engineering by Raymond Landis

Literally the “go to” text book for engineering orientation courses. I love this book for many reasons. Not only does this book introduce you to the various branches of engineering, this book also gives a practical glimpse into the study skills needed to be a successful engineering major covering everything from time management techniques to having a growth mindset. Aside from being a guidebook on the engineering profession the book also gives students a mechanism to explore their individual learning styles. One of my favorite lines that I often use with my own students is “No Deposit, No Return.”

#2 Learn to Program by Chris Pine

I especially like this book for students who have not yet taken a coding class. Why? Because it teaches you the art of programming while emphasizing the process not just the end result. Even if you have zero programming experience Chris Pine does an outstanding job that even a newbie can follow. I’ve seen many students read this book over the summer and have a great understanding of the art of programming and the tips and tricks to save time, work more efficiently and be bug free.

#3 Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

So you know how to code but do you know how to survive the technical interview? If the only thing standing between you and your dream job/internship is a whiteboard then this is a must read! It’s the “true Hollywood story” version of behind the scenes interviews from companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and several other tech titans. Aside from helping you ace the technical interview the book also gives tips on salary negotiations and declining offers.

#4 CLiftonstrengths for Students by Gallup

This book is not specific to engineers but it is an amazing resource to help students understand their individual strengths. Developed by the Gallup organization this book includes the Strengthsfinder access code that allows students to recognize their top signature themes. By understanding one’s signature themes and learning to recognize the strengths that others bring, students can maximize their college experiences and optimize team projects. A growing number of engineering programs have adopted the strengths based curriculum so why not get a head start on recognizing your own individual strengths this summer.

#5 The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

I can almost guarantee that next fall when you go into your professors’ offices you’ll find copies of Covey’s iconic book proudly displayed on their bookshelves. Engineers will love the usage of Venn diagrams. I’d recommend a hard copy not an e-book because you’ll want to highlight things in this book.

For Parents

The Naked Roomate: For Parents Only by Harlen Cohen
There are many books available that give college freshman tips on surviving their first semester. However, few are written specifically for the new college parent.  Packaged as a lighthearted “how to” guide for parents The Naked Roommate does a good job in preparing parents for their first year as a college parent. Whether the student is going across the country or attending the local community college, parents will find the first hand testimonies from college freshman throughout the book useful.

One of the book’s highlights is its chapter on the role that technology plays in family communication.  Weekly long distance phone calls to mom and dad have been replaced by Skype sessions. Letters home are now sent via text message or emailed through Facebook.  If parents choose to “friend” their kids on Facebook they are encouraged to use the site as a means of catching up with their kids, not catching them in wrongdoings. Having one’s kid add them as a friend on Facebook is a privilege not a right. Therefore, parents who chose to add their freshman kids on the social media site should do so sans judgments even if they are curious about what’s inside those red plastic cups in all those photos…  This is where college advisors and career counselors can intervene by reminding college students about the importance of managing their online personas.

The book emphasizes the important role that parents play in ensuring that students fully engage themselves in the college experience.  First generation parents are encouraged to investigate resources available to their first generation college students as research has shown that these students are less likely to participate in enrichment activities such as internships or study abroad.  However, once the semester begins, parents should detach with love and resist the temptation to try and instantly fix everything. For instance, each time the freshman is checking in with their parents to vent about their roommate, express homesickness, or ask for help, the less time they’re communicating with campus resources such as counselors or academic advisors.   Helicopter parents are gently reminded that it’s never ever ok to contact their kid’s professors and how FERPA laws change once your child turns eighteen.   I would recommend this book to advisors because of the range of topics that the book addresses.  This book leaves no stone unturned when it comes to addressing serious topics, including topics such as what to do if your child is arrested and coming out in college.  Advisors will appreciate the author’s willingness to bring up real life situations and not simply rely on surface talking points such as how to do laundry or how to use a credit card.  The Naked Roomate is a good resource for those designing parent orientations.

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Programs for Community College Students

Community College students are encouraged to look at the freshman and sophomore listings. The programs included here are ones that either only accept community college students or have specifically emphasized a keen interest in reaching community college students.

auburn university

Warm-Water Aquatic Ecology REU

“This REU Site is a novel, collaborative effort involving Auburn University faculty mentors specializing in diverse but complementary disciplines, including community ecology, fisheries management, aquaculture, evolution, limnology, molecular biology,  microbiology, invasive species, fish behavior, outreach, physiology, parasitology, and conservation.  Together these disciplines provide the education basis for undergraduate students to learn about techniques and tools to study aquatic communities, specifically warm-water systems such as reservoirs, farm ponds, streams, and brackish estuaries.  The primary objectives of this project include exposing participants to different scientific hypotheses, research techniques, and ecological habitats and conditions in an engaging, interdisciplinary atmosphere that fosters a strong interest in aquatic sciences by the next generation of water experts. ”   Levels:  freshman, sophomores, junior, and senior graduating no earlier than September 2020.   Minimum GPA: Not Specified
citzenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents Although not financially supported by this REU Site, the program is open to including a few strongly motivated and self-funded international students in their REU Site research and professional development activities.   This program strongly encourages applications for those  traditionally under-represented groups in biology (i.e., African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, students with disabilities, first generation college students, and U.S. veterans) as well as students from institutions with limited research opportunities (e.g., community colleges) or students in financial need to apply.  

February 1, 2020 
Apply

Boston University, Florida International University, University of Michigan

NSF Engineering Research Center in Cellular Metamaterials

CELL-MET offers research opportunities for students outside of our three main institutions (FIU, BU, and UM) through summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) opportunities. Participants work at all three institutions during the summer for up to 10 weeks of independent research related to the ERC.

Levels: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and community college students 
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: U.S. citizens and permanent residents
Deadline to Apply: Rolling Admissions
Apply

Brandeis University

The Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) announces its “Bioinspired Soft Materials” Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program for summer 2019. The REU is a summer research program that will fund undergraduate students assigned to MRSEC laboratories.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-Graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: February 1, 2020
 Apply

The Broad Summer Research Program (BSRP) is an intensive nine-week summer research opportunity designed for undergraduates with a commitment to biomedical research and an interest in genomics. BSRP has a strong record of success in helping students to nurture their passion for research and succeed in graduate school and scientific careers. Students spend the summer performing original computational or experimental-based research in labs across the Broad’s research areas, from cancer to infectious disease to computational biology. At the program’s conclusion, students deliver oral and poster presentations on their research projects.

Applicants do not need to have prior research experience but should be interested in an MD or Phd and have a strong interest in biomedical research

Levels: Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-Graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.2
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: January 13, 2020
Apply

cal state monterey bay

Spend 10 weeks in beautiful Monterey working on independent research under the supervision of a research mentor in projects related to Oceanography, Marine Biology and Ecology, Ocean Engineering, or Marine Geology.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Non-graduating Seniors
MInimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US CItizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: February 1, 2020
Apply

Clemson University REU

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in biophysics is funded by the National Science Foundation to support ten highly qualified students to undertake interdisciplinary, supervised research projects at Clemson University, for a period of 10 weeks each summer.  Student must be majoring in natural science (biological or physical science) or engineering.

Levels: Rising Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.2 
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: February 15, 2020
Apply

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

The Biostatistics Epidemiology Summer Training Diversity Program (BEST) was established to expand and diversify the behavioral and biomedical sciences’ workforce by introducing undergraduates from underrepresented populations to biostatistics and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease research. Students representing racial and ethnic minority groups, disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with disabilities join the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health’s for eight weeks of research, training, academic and career planning, and social activities around New York City. All applicants must have completed one semester of college level calculus.
Levels:Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-Graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: March 1, 2020 
Apply

Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Software Engineering (REUSE)

Program Description: Carnegie Mellon’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Software Engineering (REUSE) program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to spend a summer working with some of the world’s leading Software Engineering faculty researchers. A number of projects are available in diverse areas which may include automated bug repair, mining software repositories, green computing, requirements engineering, program analysis, programming languages, and usable programming tools. Accepted students will work closely with CMU faculty and researchers on research problems with the potential for publication and significant impact on the future practice of software engineering.

Levels: Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents

Please note their  major funding source, the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, will not support international students. However, international students may apply to work with one of their mentors and be funded from other sources. These students will not necessarily receive the same stipend, meal allowance, and housing as NSF funded students

Deadline: February 1, 2020
Apply

Georgia Institute of Technology

Founded in 1992 by Dr. Gary May, a former Dean of the Georgia Tech College of Engineering, the Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering/Sciences (S.U.R.E.) program is committed to increasing the number of qualified students who are traditionally under-represented in STEM fields. These include but are not limited to students from racial/ethnic minority groups, women, or first generation college students. 

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
Minimum GPA: 2.75
Citizenship Requirements:  U.S. Citizen or permanent residents only
Deadline to Apply: February 28, 2020
Apply

harvard university

Harvard has 7 REU programs that are coordinated through the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Students spend their summers working with faculty. The program provides professional development activities designed to foster interest in graduate school and careers in research.  

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and SeniorsMinimum GPA: Not specifiedCitizenship Requirements: 5 of Harvard’s programs require that candidates be US Citizens or Permanent Resident’s.  However the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Rowland Institute at Harvard will accept international students. 

International students are encouraged to visit this link to verify their eligibility.
http://www.hio.harvard.edu/visa-types

Deadline to Apply: February 15, 2020
Apply

north carolina state

The FREEDM Systems Center Summer REU program offers a research opportunity to undergraduate students who are majoring in electrical and computer engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science engineering, computer science and related fields. The undergraduate student will spend 10 weeks during the summer conducting research at NC State, learning different aspects of university research, and presenting their work at symposia.

Levels: Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: January 24, 2020
Apply

Stanford University

Stanford’s Canary Cancer Research Education Summer Training is a world-class research center dedicated to early cancer detection. To train the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists, we offer a unique summer research training opportunity for undergraduate students, namely, the Canary Cancer Research Education Summer Training (CREST) Program. Funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the program offers a 10-week research experience in one of our state-of-the art labs.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
Citizenship Requirements:
Minimum GPA: Not Specified:

Deadline to Apply: February 1, 2020
Apply

University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras

The PR-CLIMB REU Site  at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras seeks to provide undergraduate students a research experience that capitalizes on the academic and professional strengths of the university and Puerto Rico at large. As a minority-serving institution the site will offer a unique experience to a diverse set of students recruited from 2-year and 4-year institutions. In this nine-week program students will engage in fundamental studies of materials and biomolecules for potential applications in water purification, energy storage, sensing, drug design, and drug delivery. Students will also be exposed to a variety of techniques in seminars and seven hands-on workshops that will develop their skill sets in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals fields.

The PR-CLIMB REU Site is designed to provide undergraduate students with high caliber interdisciplinary research experiences that will inspire interest in Chemistry graduate programs and also in the Puerto Rican biotechnology and pharmaceutical job markets as a viable career opportunity.

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US citizenship or permanent residency
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Deadline to Apply: February 28, 2020
Apply

Sandia National Labs

Each year, Sandia National Labs welcomes students from around the country—from those in their final years of high school to researchers obtaining PhDs—to work in a variety of technical and business positions. Interns work on real-world, challenging projects to contribute to critical national goals. Many of our research internships can be experienced through technical institutes that encompass a range of disciplines, including cyber security, energy surety, engineering design, and software development. Each institute provides a team to guide and mentor interns in projects aligned with their major or area of particular technical interest. Professional development and social activities supplement project work to create an even more rewarding experience.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: Rolling Deadlines so apply early
Apply

Summer Health Professions Education Program with sites including Howard, UCLA, and the University of Washington

The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions. SHPEP’s goal is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools.

Levels: Freshman and sophomores
Minimum GPA: 2.5
Citizenship Requirements: an individual granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services OR a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident
Deadline: February 5, 2020 (Application opens November 1st).
Apply

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university of california at berkeley

UC BERKELEY’s TRANSFER TO EXCELLENCE Transfer-to-Excellence Research Experiences for Undergraduates (TTE REU), a competitive merit-based program, seeks to inspire California community college students through research at UC Berkeley so that they will ultimately transfer and complete their Bachelor’s degree in science and engineering. The TTE REU program is a residential program providing nine-weeks of hands-on research experiences in the laboratories of UC Berkeley professors. This program is jointly funded by an NSF Site award and the Center for E3S.

Eligibility: U.S citizen, national, or permanent resident; 
GPA: 3.25+ GPA in science, engineering, & math courses
Enrolled at a California community college; Completed 2 Calculus courses by June 2020; Completed 3 Science or Engineering courses, one of which has a laboratory component by June 2020; Plan to return to a California community college in Fall 2020

Plan to apply for transfer admission to a baccalaureate program in science or engineering.

Application Deadline: February 20, 2020. 
Apply

university of california at irvine

UC Irvine’s IoT-SITY REU Site will annually host 9-10 students from across the nation to conduct research during the summer with faculty mentors on topics related to IoT for Smart Communities. Participants will investigate exciting applications and explore ways in which we can reliably and safely apply and deploy IoT systems to develop the Smart and Connected Communities of the future.

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Deadline to Apply: January 25, 2020
Apply

university of california at los angeles

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 recruitng for 3 programs for cc students:

1) Functional NanoMaterials REU Site
2) Wireless Health Institute Summer Scholars Program,
3) Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TAMNS)

See flyer for more information

University of California at Santa Cruz

The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at UC Santa Cruz exposes early-career college students to the field of environmental conservation through field research, leadership and professional training. This is a two summer program that begins with and eight-week, paid, intensive summer course integrating conservation design, leadership and research

The program is looking for 20 passionate, creative undergraduate students from any major, currently in their freshman or sophomore years or with at least two more years of college left.

Levels: Freshmen & Sophomores
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents, and Dreamers
Deadline:  February 5, 2020
Apply

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Interdisciplinary REU Program (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) in the Structure and Function of Proteins is designed to provide undergraduate students with a 10 week research experience in the areas of biochemistry, biophysics, cheminformatics, computational chemistry, enzymology, marine biology, molecular biology and plant biology.  The research projects featured in this program all involve studies of the structure and function of proteins.

REU Faculty Mentors represent the departments of Biochemistry; Chemistry; Medicinal Chemistry; Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; Pathology, Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Students from groups that are historically underrepresented in graduate education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, including first-generation college students and US military veterans.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-Graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: February 1, 2020
Apply

University of Texas at Austin

The Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Research for Social Change Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Texas Advanced Computing Center is actively engaging 10 undergraduate students each summer for nine-weeks in solving real-world problems of national relevance, teaching them to not only be critical thinkers, but to be creative and reflective as well.

Students gain skills in advanced programming and problem solving and use the CI to conduct cutting-edge research in engineering, science, and computational medicine. Research projects emphasize advanced computing as a tool to power discoveries that will impact social change for future generations.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-Graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents

Deadline to Apply: March 1, 2020
Apply