CS 014Research experiences are a great way to supplement your in-class learning at the College of Engineering. Depending on the discipline, up to 40% of College of Engineering undergraduates participate in research. These experiences allow students to enhance their education while earning academic credit, and sometimes include monetary compensation.

Students work as key members of research teams under the direction of noted faculty members utilizing the latest equipment in our modern laboratories to make discoveries that may improve our world. As an undergraduate researcher, you will learn valuable skills such as teamwork and collaboration while making important contacts and interacting with industry.

Finding the right project

To get the most out of your research experience, you need to find the project that best meets your interests and working style. Ask yourself if a project in your major is what you need or if a multidisciplinary project would work better. Do you want to work as part of an overall research team, or do you prefer independent research? Then, follow these steps:

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  1. Research the researchers. Talk to current students, undergraduate and graduate. Find out what they know about what types of projects are underway or any opportunities on the horizon. Consult with your current professors. They are keenly aware of their colleagues’ projects. Finally, don’t forget to talk to department staff members. Do your best to find out who is working on what before you meet with a faculty or research staff member.
  2. Make contact. Find out whether it’s better to call or e-mail the faculty member you want, and set up a meeting. Ask yourself if working on this project will provide you with the kind of educational experience you’re looking for. If it will, you’re on your way to an exciting new life experience. If not, don’t be discouraged. Make contact with another faculty member and begin the process again. Persistence pays off. You will find the right research experience for you.
  3. Follow through. During the semester, put in the required time. In general, for every credit hour you will earn, expect to put in three hours of lab or other related work. Do what you are asked to do and show up on time prepared to discuss your work. Learn all you can and make as many contacts as possible. Be willing to extend yourself like never before. The payoff will be huge.

Faculty and staff researchers looking for undergraduates

Here’s a list of current faculty and research staff regularly using undergraduate students in their research programs. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have any questions, contact Monica Mehanna at mehanna@engr.uky.edu.

Rob Adams – Electrical and Computer Engineering
David AllenKentucky Transportation Center
Kimberly Ward AndersonChemical and Materials Engineering
D. B. BhattacharyyaChemical and Materials Engineering
Henry Dietz – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Judy GoldsmithComputer Science
Eric GrulkeChemical and Materials Engineering
Issam HarikCivil Engineering
Todd HastingsElectrical and Computer Engineering 
Jane HayesComputer Science
Tommy HopkinsKentucky Transportation Center
Ted HopwoodKentucky Transportation Center
Dan Ionel Electrical and Computer Engineering 
Jurek JaromczykComputer Science
Mike JohnsonElectrical and Computer Engineering
Barbara KnutsonChemical and Materials Engineering
Jack LeiferMechanical Engineering, Paducah
Jim McDonough Mechanical Engineering
Jerry PigmanKentucky Transportation Center
Vijay Singh Electrical and ComputerEngineering
Suzanne Weaver SmithMechanical Engineering
Nick StamatiadisCivil Engineering
John YoungElectrical and Computer Engineering