Undergraduate Funded Research Opportunities


The 2019 NSF REU Program in Data Science at WPI is now open for applications.

NSF REU SITE in DATA SCIENCE at WPI 2016 - 2022. 



Program Overview

The Data Science Program at WPI, Worcester, MA, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, offers a 10-week, all expenses paid Research Experience in Data Science for undergraduate students. The WPI Data Science program has successfully operated the site since 2016. This site offers students from geographically diverse institutions around the country access to vibrant scientific research projects and undergraduate mentorship. The students, working with WPI faculty and peer students, learn state-of-the-art data science techniques and technologies including machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data technologies, and apply them to research focused on solving societal challenges high societal impact in our communities. Research topics include digital health, sustainability, and mobility, all interlinked concerns of critical national importance. Students present the results of their research at an Open Poster Session during the final week of the program, and, where appropriate, at scholarly venues and conferences.

Data Science Students
Data Science REU 2016 Cohort Students
Data Science Faculty
Data Science Faculty Prof. Carolina Ruiz, Mohamed Eltabakh, and Elke Rundensteiner with Data Science REU 2016 Cohort Students








Student Stipends, Travel, Housing, and Meals

  • $5000.00 stipend over the 10-week program ($500/week)

  • LEED Gold–certificated on-campus residence housing, paid for directly by the program
  • Weekly meal allowance
  • Up to $600.00 in travel expenses


The REU Program includes weekly group meetings, information exchange, training sessions for communication, technical presentations about data science research, research mentoring, information sessions for professional development, and progress reports by participants. Social activities are organized and planned by the students to take in the history, culture and great places to visit in the greater New England area. Professional networking events at partnering companies and organizations are also planned.

Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival 2016
From left: Moustapha Tiam, Puja Trivedi, Vimig Socrates, Rebekah Eversole, Lauren Sedita, and Eric Salina
at the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival 2016
Amber Wallace with students
Amber Wallace with fellow 2016 DS REU Cohort Students








Program Requirements

REU students are expected to work a full 40-hour work week for ten weeks, toward completion of a research project. On the final day of the program, all research is placed on display during a Poster Presentation Symposium, which is attended by WPI faculty, guests and fellow students.

The REU research is broken up by relevant symposia which are offered in job searching, applying to graduate school, writing a resume, and interview skills. Students also have the opportunity to network with data science professional alumni and industrial partners. Students also enjoy field trips to our industry partners engaged in data science, including but not limited to: Google, MathWorks, Microsoft, MITRE Corporation, and National Grid.

Research Project Areas

REU students have the opportunity to work on a research project related to some of the areas listed below. In the application, students describe their research interests in detail, including any prior research experience. Application areas relate to smart and healthy communities including Public Health, Personalized Mobile Wellness, Sustainability, Mobility, Economic Prosperity, and Social Good. Technical areas include data analytics, machine and deep learning, statistical learning, data visualization, artificial intelligence, big data infrastructures, web technologies, natural language processing, and cloud and mobile computing.


The NSF requires that all REU student participants are United States Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents; there are NO EXCEPTIONS. While we prefer sophomores and juniors who have a distinct interest in research, all U.S. students as described above are eligible for the REU program. Those students who have succeeded in courses in programming, computer science, linear algebra, and statistics are of particular interest to our program. Women and underrepresented groups in STEM fields, as well as students from a community college who have transferred to a 4-year institution are encouraged.

Application Process

Students must fully complete the Online Application (below), and attach an unofficial transcript. We request two letters of recommendation, also submitted online via the Submit Faculty Recommendation button (below). The recommenders are preferably faculty members who know the student well and at the student's home institution or another university.
All application materials, including letters, should be submitted by the application deadline to receive full consideration.

Data science researchers




REU students work hard and play hard, as can be seen by the pyramid scheme they configured in the Data Science lab with Ph.D. mentor Ermal Toto. In jumbled order on the bottom row are a Ph.D. mentor, Luke Pelegrin, Cole Polychronis and Sean Tucci. Next up is Christian Huacon with Tran Khang and Kate Finnerty. Next to the top...we have Noori Apoorva and Jennifer Ha supporting our little Courtney Burns as the crown on the castle! Sarah Brownell is our left spotter with Ph.D. mentor Ermal Toto spotting on the right. 

Industry Visits

Each year the WPI Data Science REU students visit Industry partners to experience the world beyond academic walls. We sincerely appreciate MathWorks in Natick, MA and Google in Cambridge, MA, National Grid in Waltham, MA and many others, who open their doors to these bright young students.

REU 2018

Students visit MathWorks, Google and Microsoft, whose amazing corporate offices inspire the undergrads to work toward further education so they too can experience working in such vibrant communities.

reu at Google
REU at MathWorks
REU COHORT 2018 at MathWorks, MA


 and who doesn't love GOOGLE!


Important Dates

and continue until all REU projects are filled.



Move In Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Program Start Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Program End Date: Friday, August 2, 2019

Move Out Date: Saturday, August 3, 2019 

Email: datascience@wpi.edu

Data Science Program, REU
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Fuller Labs 242, 
100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609

Data Science REU 2017

Sean Tocci and Jennifer Ha collaborating on research

Sean Tocci and Jennifer Ha collaborating on research in the Data Science Innovation Lab at WPI

Learn how ten undergraduates from colleges and universities across the country are spending the summer at WPI working alongside data scientists, conducting groundbreaking research that could someday impact critical facets of society from healthcare to mobility.

REU KIDS 2016Media1

Data Science REU 2017 Student Team Presents Their Research at the Council of Undergraduate Research REU Conference


Cole Polychronis and Apoorva Nori
Cole and Nori

During the final days of the Data Science REU Program, the student research teams prepare posters of their work and compete in a poster competition symposium at WPI. The winning Team/Poster is nominated for admission to the CUR Symposium where they show their poster and are student representatives of WPI Data Science REU.

This year, we are proud to sponsor the winning REU 2017 Team of Apoorva Nori and Cole Polychronis, who presented their winning poster at the CUR Symposium on October 22 and 23.  Apoorva Nori, NYU and Cole Polychronis, Westminster College, UT,  titled their work, "Turning Design Artifacts into Assets: Capturing and Analyzing User Interaction in  Web-based Data." 

This was CUR's 7th Research Experience for Undergraduates Symposium. It features student posters, a graduate school recruitment fair, and for faculty and students, a professional development workshop.  This year's CUR was held at the Westin Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia, near the site of the new National Science Foundation.


Kate Finnerty Presents at WISH-2017

Kate Finnerty at the podium
Kate Finnerty at WISH-2017

Kate Finnerty, an undergrad from Amherst College in Massachusetts, was nominated to present her research poster at this year's workshop on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH), in conjunction with the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) 2017 Annual Symposium, November 4 - 8 in Washington, D.C. Katherine worked with fellow REU student Khang Tran who was unable to make the trip to Washington.

Collaborating on the research were DS faculty Professor Carolina Ruiz, as well as Bengisu Tulu, Qiaoyu Liao, Jessica Oleski, and Sherry Pagoto.

Abstract: As obesity becomes more widespread, weight loss has become a major focus of mobile health. Katherine Finnerty’s project investigates how to best address limited data with analysis techniques such as text mining. Future work will include developing a single captology framework that works in the context of mobile health.

Kate gave an excellent presentation, one that is considered far above the ability of an undergraduate student.

Congratulations Kate!