NSF Funds Summer Program to Empower Students from Disadvantaged Groups to Become Renewable Energy Researchers




Lyubov Titova, associate professor of physics, has received a three-year, $347,826 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund a program that will empower students from traditionally disadvantaged groups to become future leaders in renewable energy technology. While introducing the students to clean energy research, the program also is aimed at creating an interest in STEM careers.

The award is part of the NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. WPI hosts several NSF-funded programs on topics like advanced materials and processes for a resilient society, data science research for healthy communities in the digital age, and industrial mathematics and statistics. Led by Titova, the new program will focus on introducing students from disadvantaged groups (such as minority students, first-generation college students, and women in fields where they are underrepresented) to studying and preparing for careers in renewable energy technology.

This year the renewable energy REU project, which is hosting 12 students, will run from June 3 to Aug. 9. Each student in the program will have a graduate or senior undergraduate mentor.

Students in the program will work on projects that include research into solar energy materials, metabolic engineering of a biodiesel cell factory in saltwater, and balancing clean energy with environmental impacts.