Since the advent of low-cost 3-D printers, prototyping and manufacturing have never been the same. Now it’s engineering students’ turn. University engineering schools are making such resources, along with other more traditional manufacturing tools, more available to students by creating special facilities and labs for students to make their projects come to life. Such manufacturing centers were once only available to faculty, but student-focused centers are the new hotbeds for projects both in and out of the classroom – and sometimes, students become entrepreneurs and turn their projects into profitable ventures.
According to Gerry Fine, all engineering students need manufacturing as part of their curriculum. Fine is the director of Boston University’s brand new Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), an 18,000-foot, $9 million facility that has all the tools and “toys” a student would need to make prototypes, such as 3-D printers, mills, lathes, woodworking stations, robotics, and a small metals foundry.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offer scholarship programs each year for undergraduates coming from disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in biomedical, behavioral, and social science health-related research. The NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP) pays up to $20,000 per year for tuition and educational expenses, an award that can be renewed for up to four years. Additionally, the program allows undergraduates to spend 10 weeks in the summer researching at an NIH laboratory, and guaranteed employment at NIH after graduation for at least one year.
The main eligibility requirements include exceptional financial need. Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year are due on March 3, and selection will happen in late July. Apply through the NIH Application Center.
Chris Yingchun Yuan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, received a $400,000 National Science Foundation grant to examine the impact of next-generation lithium-ion batteries on the environment. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the study is the first of its kind. While the proposed batteries would allow electric vehicles to travel greater distances between charges, the batteries’ use of certain nanomaterials could have environmental and public health impacts, according to the article.
The NSF grant will help Yuan develop mathematical models over the next five years to model the manufacturing process in order to determine the amount of emissions in each step. Yuan will also model the batteries’ energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and how such batteries can be properly disposed after they’re dead.
The Mentorship for Environmental Scholars Program is available to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are women, minorities, or otherwise underrepresented in STEM and other related disciplines. This internship is a 10-week research experience provided at a Department of Energy or Legacy Management site. Research areas include biotechnology, computer science, environmental science, and engineering. The internship is administered through the United Negro College Fund’s Special Programs Corporation (UNCFSP).
The internship provides an orientation, training, a stipend, and round-trip transportation to the work site. Apply on the UNCFSP website by April 14, 2014 to be considered for the upcoming session.
Last month, the 100,000 Strong Foundation announced the creation of a $300 million program called the Schwarzman Scholars Program. The scholarship will eventually support 200 students each year from the U.S., China, and some other countries who enroll in a master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, according to Inside Higher Ed. The program is part of an effort to strengthen U.S. and China relations by allowing scholars across all academic disciplines to meet with Chinese leaders, travel around the country and have mentors in their field.
The program was announced at a 100,000 Strong Foundation conference at American University. The foundation itself was created out of a U.S. State Department effort to get 100,000 American students to Chinese universities in the future, according to the article. Over 200,000 Chinese students studied in the U.S. during the 2012-2013 year.