Carnegie Mellon University

Program Prepares New Generation of Researchers

July 08, 2019

Program Prepares New Generation of Researchers

By Stefanie Johndrow

A unique opportunity at Carnegie Mellon University is connecting undergraduate students from underrepresented groups with graduate school training.

The Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research's Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (PIER-REU) makes CMU's resources available to students around the country seeking research opportunities.

"Students from underrepresented groups are often at a disadvantage when applying to graduate schools," said Anna Fisher, a PIER steering committee member and associate professor of psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "This disadvantage is often due to limited access to research opportunities at their home institutions. PIER-REU aims to provide access to research opportunities and mentoring to students interested in pursuing graduate training in psychology, education or learning sciences." 

Since 2016, PIER-REU has brought undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to spend eight weeks in a CMU research lab during summer. Each student receives a stipend, housing and opportunity to contribute to a variety of research projects under the mentorship of a PIER faculty member, post-doctoral researcher or advanced graduate student. While PIER provides funding for student stipends, the Department of Psychology and Human-Computer Interaction Institute provide funds for student housing.

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From left to right: Taqwa Ramadan (University of Texas at Dallas), Cameron Tate (Washington University in St. Louis), Megan Maxwell (Washington University in St. Louis), Vanessa Ntungwanayo (Wellesley College), Rachel Hopkins (University of Pittsburgh), Madad Ibrahim (University of Texas at Dallas), Sheba Naderzad (Foothill Community College) and Aria Tsegai-Moore (Stony Brook University).