McKelvey Engineering to host summer research for undergrads

The program is supported by a three-year, $367,000 National Science Foundation grant.

Undergraduate students interested in learning more about thermal management research will have the opportunity to participate in a new summer research program at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis beginning in the summer of 2019.

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, Thermal Management on Multiple Scales, is supported by a three-year, $367,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. It is designed for rising juniors and seniors from academic institutions where research opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are limited and will include 50% women and 30% of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields, including those with disabilities.

Summer research program
Summer research at the McKelvey School of Engineering. (Photo: Whitney Curtis/Washington University)

Emily Boyd, principal investigator and teaching professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, said this program is unique because it appeals to the interdisciplinary nature of heat transfer and will provide a diverse group of mentors who are in the departments of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering.

“Our REU site will immerse students in cutting-edge, hands-on research in the thermal sciences, which addresses some of the world’s greatest challenges, ranging from the very small — nanofluids, nanoscale surface enhancement, and micro-heat exchangers — to the very large —carbon capture and storage,” said Boyd, who also is director of the Washington University Summer Engineering Fellowship program designed for underrepresented minority students. “The projects will be categorized by scale: microscale, component scale and systems scale.”

During the 10-week program, students will begin with a four-day heat transfer boot camp taught by Boyd and J. Mark Meacham, co-principal investigator and assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science. Participants will then complete research projects with one or more of nine McKelvey Engineering faculty mentors, including Boyd and Meacham.

Students also will meet with McKelvey Engineering faculty members weekly for lunch, participate in research skills workshops, information sessions on engineering graduate school and weekly social activities. The program also will be enhanced by tours of local research facilities, and students will attend presentations by engineers from industry.

In addition, students will serve as teaching assistants for an engineering course for students in the university’s College Prep program for local high school students from underserved backgrounds. The experience will end with a research symposium, where students will present their research.

After the program ends, two participants will be selected to present their summer research at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ International Mechanical Engineering Conference and Exposition this fall, or at the student conference of The Global Home of Chemical Engineers (AIChe), also in the fall.


The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, entrepreneurship and security. With 96.5 tenured/tenure-track and 33 additional full-time faculty, 1,300 undergraduate students, 1,200 graduate students and 20,000 alumni, we are working to leverage our partnerships with academic and industry partners — across disciplines and across the world — to contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments. We also cannot address individual medical concerns or provide medical advice in this forum.