The MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department held a reception, October 18, to celebrate the official launch of the new SuperUROP undergraduate research program. Members of the inaugural class of the SuperUROP program, sponsors, MIT administrators who contributed to its implementation, and EECS faculty mentors and guests, joined EECS Department Head Anantha Chandrakasan in the Stata Center R&D Dining area to celebrate. Chandrakasan welcomed all at the gathering and acknowledged those who helped make SuperUROP a reality.
The SuperUROP is a collaboration between EECS and the MIT UROP office and evolved out of the 2012 EECS strategic plan, which included strong participation from faculty, students, and staff. Chandrakasan, who initiated the idea as he became department head in July, 2011, acknowledged the valuable inputs from students in the 2011-12 Undergraduate Student Advisory Group, USAGE. He said: "Their inputs were critical in developing a program that generated excitement among the students."
Department Head Chandrakasan noted that the program would not be possible without significant financial support. Fourteen companies, individual donors and several anonymous donors are generously supporting the students through the Research and Innovation Scholars Program (RISP). RISP is a prestigious, named-scholars program that funds the students doing the SuperUROP and provides some discretionary funding for the host research group. The companies and individual donors are providing not only mentoring, but also project suggestions and research directions. A total of 85 Research and Innovation Scholars (EECS juniors and seniors) were awarded this fall.
Since the SuperUROP website became available in spring 2012, EECS faculty and research staff and industry sponsors posted over 100 innovative projects. Students picked from these projects or proposed their own ideas. As a part of the SuperUROP program, students engage in a year-long research experience and participate in a course titled “Preparation for Undergraduate Research” (6.UAR). The course covers a range of topics, from selecting projects and research topics in EECS, to entrepreneurship and ethics in engineering. At the end of the academic year, students receive a certificate in advanced undergraduate research with a designated focus area.
At the reception, Chandrakasan introduced some of the key players in the implementation of SuperUROP. The speakers included Julie Norman, MIT Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, and Director, Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming; Analog Devices Chairman and Co-Founder, Ray Stata ('57, SM '58); Dr. Erika N. Angle, ('04) who with her husband Colin A. Angle '89, SM '91 support SuperUROP; Carine Abi Akar, '12, member of USAGE in 2011-2012; and EECS Professor and Undergraduate Officer Dennis Freeman.
Enjoy the photos in the following slide shows (1) of the SuperUROP students in 6.UAR which met just before the reception for a panel discussion featuring Ray Stata, Dedric Carter, National Science Foundation Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, and Rajeev Ram, EECS Professor and former Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency with the Department of Energy; (2) of the reception; and (3) of the reception speakers.