REU students and their faculty mentors, from KU and K-State, on a tour of a windmill farm near Concordia, KS.


Building Links Between Research Projects with an REU Program

Project PI: Judy Wu, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Kansas

The Kansas NSF EPSCoR Climate Change and Renewable Energy project involves many scientists working on four interrelated research initiatives.

Work is continually under way to build links between the four groups. Workforce Development and Climate Change in Indigenous Communities at Haskell Indian Nations University and Nanotechnology for Renewable Energy, with scientists based at three other Kansas universities, has already connected, through an ambitious Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

One of the REU students, Michael Dunaway, is a recent Haskell graduate who will pursue a master’s degree in geography at the University of Kansas. Dunaway and the other 21 REU students, who are from KU and also Kansas State University, have been studying alternative energy through lab research, field trips and seminars.

Michael Dunaway, testing a prototype super-capacitor in research on biofuels in the Nanotechnology and Thin Film lab at KU.

As an undergraduate student at Haskell, Dunaway was an intern with the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Institute, funded by Kansas NSF EPSCoR through Workforce Development and Climate Change in Indigenous Communities.

As a HERS intern and also an REU student, Dunaway’s research has focused on projects that could have significant impact to the economy and culture of tribal lands. Many native communities have strong farming traditions and are in high solar density areas.

There is a significant need for scientists in tribal communities, an issue that HERS is addressing. As the first HERS intern to enter graduate school, Dunaway is encouraging other Native American students to strive for graduate school, giving lab tours and otherwise sharing his experiences.


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