The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power hosted nearly 20 young engineers from across the country, all of whom survived the CCEFP REU Fluid Power Bootcamp at Purdue University from May 26 – 28, 2015. Over the course of two days, students were provided an introduction to CCEFP — its vision, organization and research portfolio. They also learned the principles of fluid power technology through lectures and hands-on exercises, participated in a tour of Purdue fluid power research and teaching laboratories and got to know each other through social networking activities.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Programs are the most common avenue for bachelor’s level students to get a hands-on research experience within an academic setting. These programs are, essentially, paid summer research internships. REU programs across the country serve several purposes – to expose students to research, serve as a recruiting tool for graduate school and to provide opportunities for underrepresented students in science and engineering, those students being women as well as racial and ethnic minorities. Thousands of academic interns, also known as REUs, participate in REU programs any given summer. Chances are a percentage of those employed in industry have participated in such a program during their undergraduate years.
The CCEFP REU Program begins with all participants attending a two-day fluid power bootcamp at Purdue University, led by faculty and graduate student instructors. The camp consists of an introduction to the principles of fluid power through lecture and hands-on laboratory exercises using equipment in the PU instructional fluid power laboratory. Students are trained through three laboratory sessions including: 1) Pump/System Characterization on Water Hydraulic Test Rig, 2) Circuit Construction and 3) Debugging and Displacement Control System.
CCEFP has hosted this REU Program since 2007. Since inception, the CCEFP has recruited nearly 200 students — one third women and one third racial or ethnic minority — from dozens of colleges and universities outside the current CCEFP partner institutions. Over 50 percent of these former participants enter graduate school and of those, 25 percent pursue PhDs. While not all REU students enter the world of fluid power, those who do are trained and ready to contribute in whichever career trajectory they choose following graduation.
Follow this summer’s CCEFP REU participants through their online blog at ccefpreu2015.blogspot.com.
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