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REU Participants

2019 Participants

Elizabeth Aikman
Chemical Engineering / University of Kansas

The University of Kentucky REU allowed me to experience full-time research. The weekly seminars were extremely helpful in preparation for oral and written presentations, graduate school applications, and fellowship opportunities. The participants, mentors, and faculty were all supportive and helped provide a glance into what graduate school would be like.


Alex Dantzler
Chemical Engineering / University of Texas at Austin

This REU experience was transformative because it provided me with a completely immersive research experience where I was supported to learn and grow to face the challenges that inevitably arise in a research project. The resources Kentucky made available to me for this REU really enabled me to thoroughly investigate my topic and even allowed me to present my research at the AICHE national conference.


Jack Davis
Chemical Engineering / North Carolina State Uni.

The innovative research at the University of Kentucky REU opened numerous doors for me. I learned so much about presentation skills, communication of technical content, and project management. All of these skills have helped me in the research lab, in obtaining internships, and in-class as well. Aside from that, I made lifelong friendships. I am so grateful and thankful for this experience.


Skyler Hornback
Chemical Engineering / University of Kentucky

Whether it was successfully obtaining that long-sought-after "burgundy" color in one of my reaction mixtures, or getting caught in a thunderstorm while hiking to see waterfalls, the REU not only showed me what graduate-level research encompasses, but also how important it is to couple those long hours in the lab with the appropriate amount of down-time.  The camaraderie between the REU students, and the exciting research project I was able to pursue, made the REU a truly unforgettable experience, and it helped to solidify my post-undergraduate plans.


Claire Jordan
Engineering Science / Smith College


Kaitlyn Kearns
Mechanical Engineering / University of Kentucky

Participating in the REU program helped solidify my decision to pursue academia. Along with a challenging research project, the advice from current graduate students was invaluable and helped convince me that my goals were attainable.


David Keptner
Chemical Engineering / Trine University

This REU experience has given me valuable insight into what real-life research is like, as well as preparing me for grad school. On top of that, this REU has given me life-long connections with my peers and mentors that I will never forget.


Henry Lutz
Chemical Engineering / Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Megan Mouton
Math and Computer Sci. / High Point University

My experience during the summer at the KY REU has opened many doors for me including but not limited to, giving my confidence in overcoming mistakes, embracing challenges that research brings, making me a competitive edge for graduate schools, presenting my research to peers, and broadening my appreciation for research.


Michelle Ramsahoye
Physics / Hartford Community College

My experience during the summer at the KY REU has opened many doors for me including but not limited to, giving my confidence in overcoming mistakes, embracing challenges that research brings, making me a competitive edge for graduate schools, presenting my research to peers, and broadening my appreciation for research.


Paula Restrepo
Chemical Engineering / University of Florida

The REU at UK was an unforgettable experience that opened my eyes to the possibilities of the different areas of research and allowed me to grow as a professional. In addition, it led me to make long lasting friendships with driven, intelligent and humble individuals that were very willing to learn and teach those around them.


Avery Rosh
Chemical Engineering / Bucknell University

The Bioactive Interfaces and Devices REU at the University of Kentucky allowed me the opportunity to work in a R1 university laboratory with many different instruments, professors and peers. It was amazing to not only start a research project from scratch and follow through with my work for the duration of the summer but also present my findings at AIChE.


Lee Lee Sands
Biochemistry and Molec. Biology / University of MD-Baltimore Co.

Not only did the REU help me learn more about research and grad school, but also experiencing what it would be like if I continued to pursue a PhD in the future.


2018 Participants

Emily Chase
University of Tennessee

This program was very fun and I learned a lot. We got to work independently in lab some, and it taught me a lot about what grad school might be like.


William Kelly Fenske
Eastern Kentucky University

The 2018 NSF REU has been a truly rewarding experience which provided many opportunities for my development as a future professional. Over the course of this program, I’ve built a great network with professors and graduate students, faced many challenges, and helped to produce new knowledge through scientific discovery. Although our research didn’t always work out the way we expected or hoped, I’ve been blessed by the growth and the fun that has resulted from this experience. I’m incredibly humbled that I was given this opportunity and I recommend this program to anyone who wants to test themselves and share in an exciting summer research program.


Madeleine Fugate
Montana State University

This program introduced me to some of the novel research occurring here at the University of Kentucky. It really illuminated the importance of research in our society, and the good that scientific discovery can do. I am glad that I had the opportunity to be part of something like this REU program.


Michelle Gee
Tufts University

The University of Kentucky REU program gave me the opportunity to try research full time and be responsible for my own project. I also improved my writing and oral communication skills throughout the presentations and writing report processes that were a part of this program.


Sofia Gonzalez
University of Kentucky

Research is about perseverance. Things aren’t always going to result as expected but the key to success is to keep trying. This program connected me with great people, wonderful and supportive mentors, and allowed me to make up my mind about pursuing a graduate degree.


Dalen Goodson
North Carolina A&T State University

This program is definitely an eye opener. A must for anyone considering a career in research and/or anyone interested in going to grad school. The staff members are great people who genuinely care about not only the University of Kentucky, but research in general. The social programs were very fun and the food provided was delicious. Overall, I really enjoyed spending my time here.


Melisa Montalvo
University of Alabama

Never did I think I’d ever hold a biological heart in my hand. Roll tide!


Daniel Moore
University of Alabama at Birmingham

For this being my first research project-- it was a great experience that allowed me to see firsthand how clinical applications come to light. Along the way I was able to meet some wonderful people and make great friendships.


Matthew Morse
University of Kentucky

This REU program goes beyond the research it produces; it is a valuable look at life as a PhD student and success in graduate school. From the days spent in lab with highly qualified advisors and mentors, to the nights spent with new friends, this was a summer I will never forget! 


Tyler Runge
Washington and Lee University

This REU program gave me the opportunity to engage in hands-on research and learn more about the graduate school process as a whole.


Devan Solanki
Rutgers University New Brunswick

This REU program gave me the opportunity to engage in an independent research project and take a glimpse into the life of a graduate student.


Alina Thokkadam
Rutgers University New Brunswick

The REU program at the University of Kentucky has given me the opportunity to become a more skilled researcher. The 10 weeks went by quickly, but I was able to accomplish a significant amount of research in my time spent here, making me feel more prepared for graduate school. In addition to working, I have also enjoyed exploring activities in and around Lexington.


Hannah Tompkins
Whitworth University

This program was a great preparation for future internships and lab work. I also learned a lot about the graduate research process.


Cole Tower
Allegheny College

The UK REU program immerses you directly into the graduate school research program allowing you to make an informed decision if graduate school is the right choice for you. Research at a top tier university like UK with the best professors and resources allows undergraduate students to do leading scientific research.


RJ Vogler
University of Kentucky

The REU program at the University of Kentucky was an optimal opportunity for me to learn about scientific research.  I received mentorship from graduate students in the lab that I worked in as well as my faculty advisors.  Also, this program included informative seminars about science and research-related topics.  Finally, I got to meet and spend time with a great group of people from all around the country.


2017 Participants

Jessica Anderson
Western Kentucky University

The 2017 NSF REU at UK was a fantastic experience for all who have even slight interested in graduate school. It is a wonderful opportunity to get real, hands-on experience in a science and engineering lab environment as well as become familiar with the documentation aspects of research. This program does a fantastic job in catering to the undergraduate students, equipping us faculty and graduate mentors who are always responsive and helpful for any questions we have or guidance we need. This was an academic environment in which we (the undergraduate students) had clear purpose and a significant degree of authority over our projects. I feel empowered with a greater understanding of research, engineering application to health, and my own career goals!


Rachel Boone
University of Kentucky

I'm incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the REU program at the University of Kentucky. This program allowed me to work in research with some outstanding professors, graduate and undergraduate students as well as helped prepare me for graduate school. Outside of lab research, there were many helpful seminars and fun social activities and events. I highly recommend this REU program to anyone interested in learning about research and graduate school opportunities at the University of Kentucky.


Benjamin Cherian
Virginia Commonwealth University

This program was a unique and enriching experience. It provided a glimpse into graduate school and granted me the opportunity to collaborate and interact with many qualified and supportive advisors. Apart from lab work, I enjoyed passing time with other REU students and exploring Kentucky. Overall, the REU at the University of Kentucky was a formative experience and confirmed my decision to go to grad school.


Hannah Dvorak
University of Kentucky

I am incredibly glad I decided to stay in Lexington for the summer for the UK REU program.  Every day had new problems to solve and every day I experienced new things both on campus and off with a group of undergraduate and graduate students I am glad to call friends.  I felt throughout each element of the program that the faculty and graduate students involved really wanted to make this a special and valuable experience for us. The REU gave me a renewed interest in research and in my undergraduate courses; my only complaint is that it went by too quickly!  


Benjamin Evers
Vanderbilt University

I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate in the REU program. It was a wonderful experience: I met new friends, learned new skills, and participated in innovative research. The professors and administrative faculty at UK are especially knowledgeable and patient, and I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in science/engineering!


Audrey Fetsko
University of Notre Dame

This REU was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about what grad school is like as well as giving me great research experience. I learned so much about how to conduct research, and the program also gave us important practice with both oral and poster presentations. What really made the program so great though was that it balanced this learning with many really fun activities. I made so many friends and memories this summer, and I truly enjoyed every part of the program.


Stephen Goodlett
University of Kentucky

This program is a wonderful way to immerse oneself in the life of a researcher. After getting to know people from around the country, and even outside of it, we were given the chance to connect with top professors at the university. From the long days in lab to Taco Tuesdays every week, this program made my summer.


Phillip I Johnson
University of Kentucky

Participating in the REU program at the University of Kentucky gave me the unique opportunity to experience what it would be like to be a graduate student of chemical engineering. The completion of this program has also drastically improved my research skills such as critical thinking, scientific writing, time management, and precision in the execution of laboratory procedures. I have had a great time getting to know and hanging out with all the other REU participants.  I will always remember the good times we had- group dinners at The Local Taco on Tuesdays, Sunday night Game of Thrones parties at my apartment, and the strong scent of onions from the rooftop of Jewell Hall.  I am incredibly grateful to all the staff at the University of Kentucky that made this fantastic summer research program possible and further confirmed my desire to attend graduate school after receiving my degree.


Maria Victoria Klaus
University of Arkansas in Fayetteville

This summer participating in UK's REU program was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did I get an insight on a research-based path and graduate school, but I also got to spend a lot of time with the other participants, who ultimately I became very close with. The graduate students were also very present and eager to help, along with my advisors and everyone else. This was an amazing opportunity overall. 


Karli Lipinski
University of Arkansas

My time at the University of Kentucky as a part of the NSF REU was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my undergraduate career. I was able to take a leading role in a research project with a potential impact on current clinical therapies. Not only did I enjoy working on my project, I looked forward to hearing about the projects of other students. The research experience gives clear insight into the perseverance graduate school requires when experiments give unexpected results or do not work. Activities planned by the coordinators of the program were exciting and allowed me the chance to explore Kentucky while getting to know my fellow participants. Through participation in this NSF REU program, I have made lasting friendships with people who share a similar drive to succeed and make a difference.


Lydia Millard
Kentucky State University

I am truly honored to not only be selected to participate in this program, but to leave with results. I have learned and gained so much experience that will be useful in my upcoming semester. I have met some people that will definitely keep in contact with after the program has ended. I am thankful for the REU experience, everyone should get the opportunity if possible. 


Dickson D Ortiz Zayas
University of Puerto Rico

Participating in a REU Program this summer at University of Kentucky was a gratifying experience. I had the chance to meet some really cool people while working around an amazing campus. UK summer program gives you a nice balance between lab work and extracurricular activities around Lexington. It also helps you focus on working hard for your goals and shows you what grad school is really like. I enjoyed it and I won't hesitate on doing it again!


Rebecca Palmer
University of Kentucky

The decision to participate in the University of Kentucky REU program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so thankful for the opportunity to conduct new and interesting research and to be the leader of my own project. Not only did I get to work with some amazing graduate and REU students in the lab, I also make lasting relationships with members of the rest of the program. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to get a taste of what graduate school might be like was also having the best summer of their life.

Jamie Silk
Villanova University

I am so grateful that I decided to come to Kentucky for the REU program this summer. Prior to this experience, I had never conducted research before, so I was scared coming in to this position with no experience. The REU program, however, made me feel right at home here at UK. The grad students and other REU students were always willing to help me and answer any questions I had. I have gained so much this summer, from work experience to fun memories of exploring Kentucky with new friends, and I now feel fully confident in my abilities to conduct and present grad level research. Thanks for everything, UK!


Madison Stiefbold
Carnegie Mellon University

The REU program at the University of Kentucky was a wonderful experience. The research project I worked on was very interesting and I learned a lot about different areas of research in engineering. This program was also useful in deciding on pursuing graduate school. The activities were fun, and I enjoyed spending time with students from other universities who are also interested in research. I am really thankful I had the opportunity to participate in the program.


Justin Zhong
University of Texas

The REU at the University of Kentucky introduced me to amazing people and experiences. While providing a fresh perspective on chemical engineering and materials research, I also had the fortune of exploring a new area of the country and all that it has to offer. I am extremely grateful to have been a part of this experience!