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Engineering Impact Report

Students Become SURE About Graduate School

Kayla Pariser, SURE Participant and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Recipient

“Working with Dr. Allison Kinney over the past three years gave me the confidence to pursue a career in research. Her encouragement and mentorship plus my experience with the SURE program made all the pieces come together to go down the research route.”

SURE Program
Oscar Ntakontagize, SURE Participant

Ntakontagize said the opportunity to do research with University of Dayton faculty was key to his future.

Kayla Pariser leveraged her summer undergraduate research experience into a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Oscar Ntakontagize took advantage of his summer research experience to help transition from Sinclair Community College to the University of Dayton and realize his dream of becoming a chemical engineer.

While paid internships and cooperative education experiences are common in engineering, paid research opportunities at the undergraduate level are much rarer.

The School of Engineering’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Program provides funding for 15 undergraduate engineering students from the University of Dayton, Sinclair Academy and other universities to engage in a ten-week research fellowship with an engineering faculty member. This program has proven to be mutually beneficial for both faculty and student participants.

Faculty members participate in professional development around mentoring, have an extra pair of hands in their laboratories for the summer — and potentially through graduate school — and interact with other SURE mentors.

Students have an opportunity to engage in a self-defined research project that aligns with the research focus of the faculty mentor, and participate in professional development and service opportunities that will help make them more competitive for graduate fellowships — all while receiving a $5,000 fellowship.

Paid research fellowships at the undergraduate level are rare and allow students to determine their long-term interest in research careers before committing to graduate school. As such, the SURE Program serves as a recruiting tool for students from UD and from other universities to consider UD for graduate school.

Pariser credits the mentorship of Allison Kinney, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, with giving her the confidence to pursue a career in academic research. It was Kinney who encouraged her to apply for the NSF fellowship, which she is using to complete her doctoral degree in computational biomechanics at the University of Delaware.

“Working with Dr. Kinney over the past three years gave me the confidence to pursue a career in research,” Pariser said. “Her encouragement and mentorship plus my experience with the SURE program made all the pieces come together to go down the research route.”

Ntakontagize said the opportunity to do research with UD faculty was key to his future. He spent the summer of 2018 in the lab of Donald Klosterman, associate professor of chemical and materials engineering. He worked on the fabrication and testing of advanced composite materials similar to those used in boats, aircraft, bridges, wind turbine blades and sporting goods.

“These research experiences are invaluable for students like Oscar because they go way beyond a normal college lab class and expose the students to how research and work gets done in the ‘real world,’” Klosterman said.

Ntakontagize said he plans to apply to graduate school after earning his chemical engineering degree from the University of Dayton.

CONTACT

School of Engineering

Kettering Laboratories
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Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0254
937-229-2736
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